BABY CAKE #4: PRESSED EDIBLE FLOWER CAKE
Way back in the day, I used edible flowers all the time. I worked for a local farm that grew and sold mixed bunches throughout the year featuring salvias, calendulas, borage, snapdragons and sweet little flowering herbs to name a few. Given the easy access I had, I logged many hours in the kitchen baking petals into my cakes, mixing them into cookie doughs, and dolling up all my tasting cakes.
In fact, here's a little vintage Cake Bloom from 2012ish just for fun:
Since I'm still as smitten as ever with edible flowers, I'm revisiting them this month in my Project Baby Cake series to celebrate my little girl's four month milestone. This new baby cake project features pressed pansies on a simple white buttercream cake, and it's definitely my favorite one yet.
Pressing flowers is super simple (for you mama's looking to pretty up your smash cakes) and there's endless room for creativity with the spectrum of edible petals out there. I'm already thinking about how I would scale one of these for a wedding (hello, brides!).
For this cake, I used pansies from local grower, Jerome Cunnie (aka The Gardenkeeper) who offers a rotating selection of nutrient-rich microgreens and edible flowers to local restaurants, markets and lucky bakers like me:), which he grows inside the greenhouses at Sonoma Broadway Farms.
If you're not in Sonoma, check your local farmers market or online.
To make your own pressed edible flower cake, start with a fully frosted buttercream cake and follow these easy steps below. You can find one of my favorite cake recipes for spring here and a Swiss Meringue buttercream recipe here. (Just omit the salted caramel for a nice, white canvas).
HOW TO MAKE A PRESSED EDIBLE FLOWER CAKE
About a week before you make your cake, prep your flowers:
- Quantity really depends on size of your cake and your design, but I used enough flowers to cover one full 8/5" x 11" sheet of paper for my 4" round cake.
- Whether you've foraged them or purchased them, it's always a good idea to inspect your flowers for little critters, missing petals or dirt.
- Choose only the perkiest, freshest looking flowers you can find. I used pansies for this project, but there are lots more out there.
- If you're harvesting your own, pick the flowers in the morning right after the dew has evaporated, just before you're pressing.
- Get two sheets of flat, white paper. I used printer paper, but tracing paper or anything without print or texture, like paper towels, will work.
- Lay fresh, fully opened blooms flat out on one sheet, allowing a few centimeters of space between flowers.
- Top flowers with second sheet of paper and press down gently.
- Top pressed flowers with several heavy books. (I used four of the heaviest I could find.)
- Leave in a dry spot for one to two weeks, until completely dry.
- Start with a fully frosted buttercream cake, iced as smoothly as possible.
- Check out my highlighted Baby Cake Series on Instagram for a video.
- When your flowers are fully dried, bring your frosted cake out of the fridge and let sit at room for about five minutes to soften buttercream slightly.
- Then, one by one, remove flowers with tweezers and apply to cake sing your clean fingertips, pressing gently against the cake so they stick. Petals will only stick to buttercream surfaces, but once they do, rest assured, they're there to stay.
- Return cake to fridge and chill until ready to serve.