Emerging of the Bombshell Within

An eclectic view of a girl's life

Crystallizing flowers August 3, 2010

Filed under: Final product,Recipes — bombshellwithin @ 6:50 AM

The biggest sensation about my cake were the flowers on top.  There were long secret discussion on whether they were real or fake.  But I am here to tell you that they were very much real!

REAL I tell you!

But before anyone considers using flowers for any sort of edible arrangement, you should know the following:

  • Verify if any flower to be used is approved as something edible.  Not all flowers are.
  • NEVER use a flower that has had any pesticide or insecticide used on it.
  • If purchasing from any vendor, be sure to verify the previous.
  • And never use any flowers that have been growing near a highly transited road or highway.

Now, if all these things are all good and clear, you’re good to go.  I also recommend using smaller flowers and none that have either too thin petals or too thick.

I did the following process twice, with hibiscuses and orchids, but it’s the same thing.

All you need is superfine granulated white sugar and one egg white.

Then you do the following:

Place flowers in cold water for 15mins.

The flowers should be upside down and the water several inches deep.

Pat the flowers dry with paper towel and then paint each petal carefully with egg white. I think it's easier to do the underside of the flower first.

Spoon sugar on flower petals over a bowl.

I found it helped to put a pin into them to hold without touching the flower. I did all undersides and let them dry a bit before repeating the process with the other side.

With the large flowers, I let them dry on a large egg carton tray.

The orchids I used a wire rack covered in wax paper with pins shoved in the underside to pin the flowers on.

In the end, I liked the look of the orchids better for the proportion of the cake.  The amapolas just seemed to be huge things and would have taken up most of the top of the cake.  I wanted to use several so that the cake would really look like a basket of flowers.

I think I got the intended affect, don't you think?


63 Responses to “Crystallizing flowers”

  1. Wow… That’s a different way to make ‘icing’-like flowers. 😉

    I didn’t know you could do this with flowers. I very much appreciate this post – I’ll have to remember this the next time I want to preserve flowers when they appear to be on the brink of ‘dying.’

    With Love and Gratitude,

    The Intentional Sage

    • Yes, I wanted to go with something different. The sugar makes them look like glittery fakes but the affect is just great. Crystallizing preserves them up to months according to all my sources on the process. Just have to layer them with parchment paper or tulle, if you have it, and keep in an air tight container.

  2. CrystalSpins Says:

    AMAZING! I’m so bookmarking this post!


  3. Thanks for the tutorial. I think I’m gonna try it 🙂

  4. Love this post! The picture with the large crystalized flowers made me swoon! Absolutely beautiful!


    • Thanks! The look of the flowers crystallized is so gorgeous. I think it will become my latest thing to use for decorations. Since I didn’t use the large flowers for the competition, I will need to plot another cake so I can use them. They deserve to be used, don’t you think?

  5. faerylandmom Says:

    That is amazing! My daughters would love that for their birthdays…

    • Thank you so much. I think any girl would love to have sparkly flowers on their cakes. You could even get some edible glitter and mix it into the sugar to help it look extra fun.

  6. thecodger Says:

    If I recall correctly, you can do something similar by putting flowers into “dry” ice. It hardens them right up. It also makes a lot of mist, which can be quite appealing.

    The Codger

    • I have never heard of putting flowers into dry ice before! It sounds pretty neat and I bet it would preserve the flower in a funky new way. Although… I haven’t the faintest idea on how to get my hands on some dry ice. If you try it, let me know.

      • delectabledoodles Says:

        The only problem with dry ice is that it makes them EXTREMELY fragile – like shatter on the counter if you set it down too hard fragile. It’d be neat to see though.

      • Yeah, but maybe with a flower that had a thicker petal? Like a day lily… But who doesn’t like to see what dry ice can do? I remember messing with it during chem week demonstrations.

      • thecodger Says:

        I certainly will let you know. If I find some dry ice, I might see how it does with the Bermuda onions I’m growing in my victory garden.

        The Codger

  7. Joey Says:

    Impressive, most impressive.

  8. Christy Says:

    Very interesting, thanks for showing us how this is done.

  9. trehops Says:

    How neat! I can’t wait to try this on the next birthday cake I make!

  10. You are most welcome. It’s been delightful to see how much interest this recipe has generated. Making crystallized sugar flowers is a rather old-school technique… but nice to see it made fresh again.

  11. Olivia Says:

    So very different and unique..
    More so that I have always loved the hibiscus.
    Just one question- don’t the egg- white stink??
    Want to make sure; since I am an avid egg lover and cook them soft. But for others, I need to be a little sure..
    This is going to sit on my B’de Cake- 🙂

    • I didn’t find that they had any smell to them once they were dry. Some recipes I’ve seen dilute the egg whites.. I just beat it a little once it came to room temperature. If you are uncomfortable using egg whites, you could always use meringue powder as a substitute. About… 2Tbsp powder for every tablespoon of warm water. You simply let it rest in the water for 2-3min before mixing to ensure there are no lumps.

      Otherwise, no problem really. Unless you have an ant infestation.. which I had to take extra care to ensure my flowers were safe from.

  12. gloriadelia Says:

    Oh, that’s fun. So pretty, too.

  13. sayitinasong Says:

    They look like quite a bit of work but very dramatic outcome… is there any specific flower that you suggest using/is the best one to use?

    • It’s not really much work at all. You just need a bit of patience to ensure the entire leaf is covered but that is pretty obvious to notice when you sprinkle the sugar on top. But then you can always dab a bit more until you are satisfied.

      I would suggest flowers that are smaller and seem to be sturdied when their stems are removed. But the options are endless if you set them to dry the right way. Orchids were my successes and I would recommend using them. Turns out they are high in vitamin C too. Another very common flower to sugar/crystalize are violets and they make dainty little blossoms to place on cookies, cakes and even ice cream.

      If you aren’t feeling confident, you can even use just the petals and not the whole flowers. Rose petals are beautiful for this but please remember not to use any purchased from a commercial vendor. Flowers are NOT edible if they have had pesticides used when growing.

  14. kat Says:

    I always wondered how to make those. Do you know of any books or lists offhand that list edible flowers? :3 My mom tends to put everything in a flower press, but this looks like a much crunchier version 😀

    • Well, my cake bible had a quick listing of flowers that are most often used for decorations. Since I wasn’t sure about the hibiscuses, I verified it on this site. It’s handy because not only does it list edible blooms… but also tells you how to cook them and more or less what their flavors are.

      I did not get a chance to try an orchid. People gobbled those right up. But I can report that hibiscuses have a rather peppery flavor to them.

  15. Wen Says:

    wow, this is so pretty! i bet it tastes better than those icing flowers…

  16. CarolTracy Says:

    Beautiful cake and great idea. Thanks for sharing the tips!

  17. what the fact that you are using raw egg? or did i miss something? its really beautiful and i have a huge hibiscus shrub!

    • I’m not sure what you may have missed. lol

      It’s great that you have a shrub handy. I actually had to hunt down hibiscuses! We used to have a shrub but then it poured one year and it just sort of… got washed away. I swear, everyone I met I would ask if they had them to see if they would give me flowers. It amuses me that, after all that work to find them, I went and used orchids on my cake.

  18. mannissa Says:

    This is lovely! It looks beautiful! Great!

  19. I really LOVE baking cakes, and you just gave me a new idea! thanks so much, and I really appreciate the easy guide, lots of pictures and no blablabla… thanks!!!

    • I absolutely lucked out that I remembered to take so many pictures to show the progression. It helped that my sister in law had drilled in me that she wanted to see absolutely everything and I kept the camera on the counter.

      I think there has been more blablabla now in comments than in the actual post! lol

  20. Amy Michelle Says:

    Beautiful! I thought all flowers on pastry had to be made out of frosting! Bookmarking!

    • Fresh flowers a big thing to use but they do wilt so it makes it difficult to make in advance. But it does seem to be a movement.. trying new things when it comes to food. Even I was a little skeptical as to how well this would work but it holds beautifully.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment.

  21. Heather Says:

    Mmm… this looks great. Have always thought edible flowers should be left up to the restauranteers to do, but this really interests me. Am going to check out which ones can be considered edible. Thanks 🙂

    • Somewhere along this comment thread I left the link for where I read on which flowers are edible. I, too, thought this was something some uber professional did and us mere mortals would just be lucky to purchase them. But then… I’ve never seen flowers made in this fashion anywhere. They are more delicate than flowers made from icing or gum paste. So when I saw the recipe in my cake bible, I went “I could do that!” and boy am I glad that I gave it a shot.

      At most.. you just need some space to let your flowers dry and take special care in storing them in a nice airtight container.

  22. Evie Garone Says:

    These flowers are really lovely! I’m not a big cook, but I can handle cakes, and to make them truly memorable and so pretty, I believe the FLOWERS would be worth it!! GREAT IDEA, Thanks for sharing!! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!!


    • That’s interesting to hear! Most people always tell me what great cooks they are but that they aren’t the best bakers. And it is totally worth it. If you have the time, it’s good to get a dozen done and have them saved away for the next cake you make. I’m plotting on how to use the hibiscuses.. maybe a celebration cake for being freshly pressed?

      Thank you for the congrats.. It has been the highlight of my month. Totally unexpected but a delight to be reveling in all the attention. I hope I don’t sound too vain saying that. 😉

  23. Awesome! Thanks for the info.

  24. Adam Day Says:

    Very interesting. Nice post!

  25. jterrill Says:

    Great Results!!! A friend sugared lemons and limes and then placed them in a large crystal bowl. She lit and placed a few votive candles around the bowl, its was spectacular. Thanks for sharing!

  26. raogvp Says:

    really this is great experience,and some thing good to learn new

  27. sarahnsh Says:

    Do the flowers taste really good? I keep on thinking about the scent of a dandelion after you cut through it and that bitter, milky substance that comes out of the stem of it. I only knew about this by watching the Food Network and they’re Chef vs. City where they had to make edible flowers as a challenge.

    • Without the sugar, eating a flower made me think of nibbling on plain lettuce. There wasn’t a bitter taste and no milky substances once the stems were cut off right. With the sugar, from those who told me, it was just a crisp taste of sugar… but they ate it with the cake and icing in one big forkful.

      I was surprised by the great variety of edible flowers there are out there. The site I linked amongst the comments lists how some of them taste and it makes me want to use flowers in everything! lol

  28. lilabyrd Says:

    That is so cool! I’m going to have to try this and love the basket cake. Congrats on Fresh Press too! Lila

  29. Ben Says:

    Fascinating! Really awesome result too.

  30. mescribe Says:

    What an amazing cake, it absolutely hit the mark you were aiming for. I’m curious about the rest of it now. 🙂 What else is in there and how did you make the top and bottom? The basket imitation is fabulous! I love finding new and inventive ways of decorating baked goods – I would most definitively enjoy trying yours out for size. Thanks for sharing!

    All my best.

    • Thank you so much. The blog entry from the day before gives my red velvet recipe… and cream cheese frosting is very basic and delicious! I might need to go make up another cake to take pics of the piping process. It was surprisingly easy once you remember to follow the pattern. Glad you found it so fabulous!

  31. This is a very cool post, but do you have to be careful which type of flower you choose? Let me know if they type of flower matters.


    • Well, I did give some guidelines as to which flowers not to use… such as those that aren’t considered edible and those which have had pesticides used on them. If you want to see the list I used to check which flowers are considered edible, I used this site. Aside from that, it’s good to go with what is handy and easy for you to wield and store. Good luck! 🙂

  32. scizor1 Says:

    I am so proud of you, honey! 😀 Told ya that cake was beautiful!

    P.S.: I demand one of these flowers for my birthday carrot cake muffin! :p

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