There’s something about the elegantly undone look of a cake decorated with fresh florals that instantly feels like a cause for celebration; a unique moment of beauty with every slice. The tips below from the ladies of Sweet Laurel will show you how to decorate a cake with flowers for a Pinterest-worthy work of art, every time.

We’ve loved learning how to decorate the Sweet Laurel way over many years and many grain, gluten, dairy and sugar-free cakes (peek a few of our favorites here). This excerpt from the debut cookbook by co-founders, Laurel Gallucci and Claire Thomas is a mandatory read for any home baker looking to level-up…

Our aversion to overly ambitious frosting art ended up being a blessing in disguise. We turned toward a more minimalist, loose aesthetic, letting the ingredients speak for themselves. We’d add fresh fruit, nuts or organic flowers if we wanted a more striking effect. Soon, how our cakes looked became as popular as how our cakes tasted. At workshops, guests would clamor for lessons on how to create the “Sweet Laurel” look. What’s so funny is how simple it actually is.

Our most popular look is the flower-topped cake, especially for weddings. We love that these cakes double as a dessert and an epic centerpiece. Here are a few tips for decorating with botanicals:

Pick Your Plants. Some botanicals are toxic, meaning, poisonous. Be sure to check first whether the specific plant you want to decorate with is edible. For instance, if you love the look of ranunculus, but know that they’re toxic in concentrated doses, you could either wrap their stems in floral tape and aluminum foil, or use floral water tubes you can find at a DIY store. This way, the cut stems aren’t secreting into the cake. But this is definitely a “use at your discretion” situation. As with consuming raw egg, make the choice that makes you the most comfortable.

Buy organic BLooms. If you can find organic flowers, use those. You don’t want to decorate an edible item with something coated in pesticides. If you can’t find organic, gently rinse off the blooms and gently pat dry right before using them. Our best source for organic flowers is the farmer’s market, as a lot of the farmers grow flowers on their property. You can also order organic flowers online. Rose Story Farm is our favorite resource for organic roses.

Create a CrownOur classic cake boasts a crescent of flowers cascading toward the edge of the cake. To get this effect, trim all of your stems down to about one inch so they will sit in the cake without stabbing through. Next, place three “anchor flowers” in a little group along the edge of the cake. Anchor flowers are the larger, more eye-catching flowers, like roses. We usually do a combo of a large open bloom, a slightly smaller one and a bud. Once you’ve placed this group, take your greens (usually mint or rosemary for us) and put one stem emanating from each side of the anchor group, curving toward the edge of the cake. Then just lightly fill in the area along the greens with smaller, textural flowers or fruit.

Ready to decorate? Check out this classic vanilla cake recipe from Sweet Laurel.

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