Let them eat cake with flowers on top

Ruby1

Posted on: 6th February, 2017

Category: Home, Garden & Environment

Contributor: Ruby Harte

Ruby Harte (a.k.a Mags Riordan) has been a professional florist for over 12 years. Ruby runs a family owned nursery, Bumble Bee Farm in Castledonovan, Drimoleague and is deeply concerned about the protection and cultivation of nature and its habitats.

With the provenance of our food becoming a real issue I’m being asked more and more about using flowers on cakes especially wedding cakes. So with that in mind, I’m going to share a few tips with you this month with regard to choosing suitable flowers, including a few precautions, substitutions for popular flowers and a list of toxic ones to definitely avoid.

‘What is safe and what isn’t’ – the Internet is a wonderful resource but it also contains a myriad of misinformation and images of toxic flowers adorning cakes.

Peonies, for instance, I think we would all agree are one of the most beautiful flowers, but not for cakes. The only peony that is edible is the tree peony and even at that it has a very low edible rating, but there are many stunning ‘peony style edible roses’ which have a much longer flowering season and are a safe option provided they are grown using organic principles.

The style of cake could reflect your choice of flowers. For instance, if you are having a rustic naked cake, which are a type becoming increasingly popular, then earthy flowers like calendula, cornflower, viola, dianthus and some dahlia varieties work. Decorate either using the whole flowers and/or as petal confetti scattered over the cake. A very elegant cake cries out for romantic roses, sophisticated dahlias and freesias and a vintage style cake lends itself to roses, the frothiness of alchemilla, stock and phlox.

Unfortunately no commercially-grown flower from a high-street florist is suitable, these all contain chemicals and preservatives prohibited in food production. It is a different industry producing a product for visual use only. If you are using these flowers, then you can take some precautions by insuring there is no direct contact with the cake, which will help prevent any of the toxins leaching into the cake.

My advice is to source your flowers from a certified, registered food producer. Then you can be assured they are compliant with all the necessary regulations and that your flowers are indeed a safe food product.

Here is a list of some beautiful flowers that we grow here at Bumblebee Flower Farm which are suitable for wedding cakes: Roses, Phlox Paniculate, Alchemilla Mollis, Malva, Dianthus, Feverfew, Gypsophlia, Camelia Japonica, Dahlia, Mattiola, Amaranthus, Gladioli, Tulip and Antirrhinum.

Those suitable for crystallising are Viola, Primrose, some Dianthus, rose petals, and individual flowers of Phlox.

Rustic flowers include Calendula, Cornflowers, Nasturtiums, Marigold, and Zinnias

Herbs are also beautiful used fresh dried or crystallised.

Some flowers that should be avoided and not put anywhere near food, no matter how they have been grown, include Aconite (monkshood) Delphinium Larkspur and Ranunculus – these are all in the same family ranunculaceae – all Euphorbia’s including Poinsettia, Azalea’s and Rhododendron, Anthurium, Foxglove, Lily of the Valley and Calla Lily.

You are spending a lot of money on your wedding cake so make sure you finish it off with high quality produce that is certified safe.

Whatever you choose we hope you have a wonderful day filled with treasured memories.

Above: Cake by Aly’s Adventures in Bakerland, Bray, Co. Wicklow

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West Cork Flag Day Collections
in aid of Cork ARC Cancer Support House

Cork ARC Cancer Support House’s annual West Cork Flag Day collections are set to take place in Bandon on Friday 21st April and in Castletownbere, Bantry, Ballylickey, Skibbereen, Clonakilty, Kinsale and Macroom on Thursday 27th April, 2017.

Hilary Sullivan, Head of Fundraising / Corporate Affairs at Cork ARC Cancer Support House says: “Please remember on our annual Flag Day collection that all our collectors are volunteers, giving their time freely to raise funds and increase awareness about our cancer support services at our West Cork centre.” Acknowledging the ethos of volunteering being the driving force behind the charity’s work in the community, Hilary also says, “As all of the services at Cork ARC Cancer Support House in West Cork are supported by a large volunteer base, we hope that our volunteer collectors’ generosity of spirit will be rewarded by a warm reception from the public despite the difficult financial conditions experienced by so many people.”
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19th April, 2017  ·  

ECCLES Hotel Glengarriff to host April 30th Wedding Showcase – Newly refurbished ballroom and bedrooms on show – Tasters of Chef Nick Davey’s delicious menus

ECCLES Hotel in Glengarriff has been helping guests to experience West Cork in all its serene beauty for over 250 years. And with the Eccles Team now being led by General Manager Aileen Hanley, that tradition is set to continue.

Aileen joins the historic West Cork Property from Sheen Falls Lodge, Kenmare where she held the position of Sales & Operations Manager. Firmly re-establishing the award-winning property, during her tenure, along with her husband Patrick (now Park Hotel Kenmare General Manager) Aileen plans to continue her success and work her magic at ECCLES Hotel, along with a dedicated team to bring it back to its former glory and re-establish its place in the local community.

Aileen and the team at ECCLES Hotel will host a wedding showcase on Sunday April 30th from 12 to 5pm. The showcase will present the refurbished Ilnacullin ballroom to couples. The ballroom which can comfortably host up to 320 guests, will be set up in all its splendour to help couples visualise their wedding reception at ECCLES Hotel. Some of the hotel’s newly refurbished bedrooms with stunning bay views will also be available to view on the day.

Rose O’Sullivan, wedding coordinator at ECCLES Hotel said, “As well as larger weddings ECCLES Hotel is a wonderful venue for more intimate wedding celebrations too as well as civil ceremonies and blessings. Couples can come and see all we have to offer and enjoy a prosecco and canape reception at the showcase, to give them a flavour of our delicious new wedding fare by Head Chef Nick Davey.”

For more information visit www.eccleshotel.com, call 027 63003 or email weddings@eccleshotel.com
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19th April, 2017  ·  

Clonakilty Cruinniú na Cásca event

As part of the “Cruinniú na Cásca” initiative, Dúchas Clonakilty Heritage has organised a complimentary guided historical walk of Clonakilty town starting at 12.00 noon at the Michael Collins statue on Easter Monday.

The event is totally free and the walk will be led by Dúchas Clonakilty Heritage committee member, Fachtna McCarthy.
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13th April, 2017  ·  

The Peninsula Players' stage their new play "The Cripple of Inishmaan" on April 28th & 29th in the Beara Bay Castletownbere. Tickets at the door. Unsuitable for younger audiences. Not for the faint-hearted! ... See MoreSee Less

10th April, 2017  ·  

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