Cake flowers. They look amazing adorning a naked cake, or cascading down a beautiful 3-tier construction. But are they safe? No, not if they're not done correctly.
Of course, as a florist, I recommend against DIY'ing any kind of floral arrangement but if there is anything that I STRONGLY discourage, its doing your own cake flowers.
Commercially grown flowers are sprayed with all sorts of chemicals to ward off nasty bugs & diseases that destroy the crops. Unlike pesticides sprayed on commercially grown fruit & veg, these chemicals don't break down and remain on the flowers long after they have been cut. And if the flowers being used have been imported, they have been subjected to more chemical sprays to pass quarantine.
Not only that, but a lot of flowers have poisonous sap in their stems that will seep in to your cake if they haven't been conditioned properly. Too often I am seeing cakes pop up on my social media that have been 'DIY-ed' or have have had 'stylists' decorate them - people who have no formal training in floristry and who do not know how to properly handle the blooms. It's upsetting because SHOULD render the cake inedible and makes our job look like child's play.
Now, that's not to say that cake flowers should be banned. During floristry training we are taught ways to make arrangements for cakes that makes them safe to place on food. Flowers should NEVER be stuck in to the cake - regardless of what anyone might say. They need to be conditioned properly, sealed (this may involved wiring as well) and made into a food-safe base where they're not actually sitting directly on the cake. I LOVE making these little works of art, and have teamed up with other local businesses Raw Harvest & Rustic Fare Home Catering to create floral toppers for their wonderful creations.
So next time you're thinking of decorating a cake with fresh flowers, consider paying that bit extra to have a professional make one for you - after all, it will look better and you're not risking a hospital trip!