How To Put Fresh Flowers On A Buttercream Cake

Adding fresh flowers on a cake is a beautiful and elegant way to decorate it. Sugar paste flowers can be a lot of fun, but boy are they a lot of work!!

Sugar paste flowers are truly an art form of their own, and a majority of us don’t have the skills (or time) to make them.

When it comes to fresh vs. sugar flowers, I like to say you simply can’t beat nature. I mean, have you ever truly looked a perfectly bloomed rose?

It’s stunning. I can honestly say that nothing I could make would be more beautiful.

chocolate engagement cake decorated with edible gold and fresh roses photo

Why Add Fresh Flowers To A Cake?

As you can tell by now, I am clearly team fresh flowers. Adding fresh flowers on a cake elevates it’s look to a whole new level.

We all know that flowers are beautiful, but their time is precious. They don’t last forever, and there’s something about having a perfectly bloomed flower on a cake that makes it feel so timely, so in the moment.

Fresh flowers on a cake make it feel like it’s a special occasion. People don’t just put flowers on any cake! Usually they’re used on wedding cakes or engagement cakes.

Photo of wedding cake with edible lace

What Types of Flowers Can You Put On A Cake?

This is a tricky question. When adding flowers to a cake, you want to think about safety first. The general rule of thumb is to avoid any flowers that are toxic. You don’t want any chance of someone getting sick from eating your cake!

There are lists out there that run through what types of flowers are edible. However, most of the flowers listed aren’t in season year round, or are hard to find in most flower shops.

It isn’t like your guests will be eating the flowers on the cake. No one is going to take a cake slice with a rose on it, and try to eat the rose! The main thing you need to consider is the flowers coming into contact with any frosting or cake layers.

With that in mind, I think there’s an easy way to go about finding fresh flowers for a cake.

Rose water floral engagement cake

I’ve found instead of starting with a massive list of flowers that you can use, it’s easier to just go to your flower shop.

You can start by looking at what flowers are available and currently in season. Then you can do a quick google search to check the flowers you want to add to your cake.

It’s also great to use flowers that are organic, or haven’t been treated with pesticides. Sometimes it’s hard to find them, but I’ve found farmer’s markets or Whole Foods are both great places to start.

Do You Need To Wrap The Stems Of Flowers?

Most cake makers do wrap the stems of flowers that are added to cakes. The main concern is that the fluids from the flower stems can leach into the frosting and/or cake layers.

Even if a flower is edible, the fluids from the stem can have a bitter and unpleasant taste.

If you plan to have the stems of your flowers come into contact with the cake, you can wrap the stems with floral tape.

Floral tape is a special type of tape that sticks to itself, and usually comes in different shades of green.

photo of wrapping flower stems with floral tape

When it comes to cakes, people usually wrap each individual flower stem.

By tightly wrapping the stem with floral tape and twisting the end of the tape, it prevents any fluids from leaching into the cake.

How Do I Add Flowers To The Sides Of A Cake?

Wrapping flower stems is a great method to use if you plan to add flowers to the sides of your cake, or want them to be positioned at particular angles.

If this sounds like a cake design you want to recreate, I highly recommend using bubble tea straws as well. While you may not be able to easily shove a wrapped flower stem into a wall of buttercream and cake layers, you can with a straw!

Bubble tea straws are thick, plastic straws that work wonders when it comes to adding flowers to a cake.

All you have to do is trim the straw to be a few inches, and insert it into the cake at the desired angle (pressing it fully in the cake). Then simple slip the flower stem into the straw opening.

There are colorful bubble tea straws out there, but I recommend using clear ones if possible! That way if any of them aren’t completely inserted into the buttercream, they’ll still be pretty much invisible!

The last thing you need is a neon pink ring peaking out around the base of a gorgeous white rose on a wedding cake.

photo of semi naked wedding cake with fresh flowers

Above is a cake I made for a friend’s wedding, and I added the flowers to the cake at the venue. I use bubble tea straws to help keep them in place at the right angles.

I used the same flowers that were in the bride’s bouquet, to give it a cohesive feel with the wedding venue and decorations.

What’s The Easiest Way To Add Fresh Flowers To A Cake?

If there is a barrier between the cake and the flowers, you don’t have to wrap the stems. Wrapping stems can be time consuming and frustrating, and I like to avoid it when I can.

If you decided to go this route, you still need to be sure the cake is protected. I like to do this by placing a cake board on top of the cake, and adding flowers on top of it.

placing cardboard cake round on top of the cake photo

Sounds crazy, right? Putting a cardboard cake round on top of a frosted cake? But I promise it works wonders.

It allows you to essentially create a flower “top” on the cake. You can add frosting, load up the cake with tons of flowers, and create a gorgeous cake.

adding frosting on top of a cardboard cake round to put fresh flowers on a cake photo

I love this cardboard cake round approach for two reasons. The first is that none of the flowers ever come into contact with the cake.

This means that you don’t have to wrap stems, or stress over using only edible flowers.

adding fresh white roses to a wedding cake image

Then when it’s time to actually cut and eat the cake, you can simply run a large offset spatula under the cardboard cake round.

It pops right off, and you can easily cut slices of cake. You get all the fun of fresh flowers, without the hassle!!

photo of easy method used to add fresh flowers on a cake

I love this approach, because it makes life so much easier. If you’ve ever tried to cut a cake with fresh flowers on it, you’ll totally get it.

By using the cardboard round approach, you don’t have to cut around all the flowers. You also don’t have to pull each flower off the cake, or worry about floral tape getting stuck in the frosting (it’s gross!!).

photo of floral cake with top removed

How Long Do Fresh Flowers Last On A Cake?

While cake layers and frosting can be made in advance, I do not recommend adding fresh flowers to a cake ahead of time.

Flowers need water to prevent them from wilting. If they’re added to cake more than a day before an event, they can really lose their luster.

I like to add fresh flowers to cakes the same day they will be enjoyed. While this answer makes life a bit more challenging, you have to trust me on this one. If you add them the day before, you will regret it.

I will be adding fresh flowers to my own wedding cake, and I plan to do it the morning of my wedding. Sadly, there’s no short cuts around this.

Photo of four tiered Tropical Inspired floral wedding cake

Share Your Creations With Me!

If you try adding fresh flowers on a cake using this method, or like to use a different method, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Nothing makes me happier than when I get emails or DMs with photos of your baking. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with your triumphs, or questions <3

You can also tag me on social media @chelsweets, and use #chelsweets.

How To Add Fresh Flowers To A Cake

Below are some of the tools I like to use when adding flowers to a cake! It can vary based on how you plan to add the flowers to a cake, but these are my go-to items.

19 thoughts on “How To Put Fresh Flowers On A Buttercream Cake

    1. omg I feel like that would be so hard!! I think floral tape is definitely easier to work with! You can order it on amazon and it’s not too spendy!! I def recommend trying it on your next floral cake <3

      Props for making that work though! Sometimes you just need to work with what you’ve got!!

  1. Hi Chelsea, Where is the recipe for the engagement cake with the crushed oreos inside that was on YouTube? Thank you?

  2. Hi! Your been very generous with your knowledge in baking wedding cakes!! I am learning a lot from you.. As a new baker I just want to ask if you own the cake stands that you in each wedding? If so what size do you recommend? For a wedding cake that is sturdy enough and able to hold any amount of tired cake. Thank you.

    1. Thanks Sheena! I always love to share what I learn 🙂 That is a great question! A lot of stands out there (especially ones online) aren’t sturdy enough for a really big wedding cake. Sometimes I set it directly on a table, or even a tree round. I’d say your best bet is to see how much it weighs (the heavier it is the more sturdy it usually is). Hope that helps!

  3. Hi! I just wanted to say how much I love your site and videos, they have provided so much knowledge, I really appreciate it so much. I’m making my brothers wedding cake and I’m going to try your way of adding the flowers on with a cake board ( genius by the way! ) I just an 8 inch semi naked cake as it’s a small wedding, do I have to dowel the cake from the weight of the flowers? ( just some white roses ) thank you ?

    1. Thank you Belinda!! You are too sweet 🙂

      If it’s just an 8 inch layer cake, there’s no need to add dowels! When I added my cake board / flower top to my layer cake, it was fine without supports. Hope that helps, and that your brother’s wedding cake turns out beautifully!!

  4. Fantastic tips, thank you! Of petals touch a cake, so they need to be sealed in some way too? And what’s the safest way to attach artificial flowers please?

    1. Hi Sarah,

      I usually use edible, organic flowers, and wash them before adding them to a cake! For those reasons, I don’t mind too much if a petal touches the frosting. However, if you’re worried about it you can place a tiny bit of white parchment paper under the flower to keep it from coming in direct contact with the frosting.

      I’ve never added fake flowers to a cake, but I hear that silk flowers work / look best! Here’s a great resource sharing how to prepare them for a cake:

      Hope that helps, happy baking!

  5. Thanks for the tips, new/beginner to decorating and love the cake board suggestion. Wanted to know what was used to get the flowers to stick/stay in the cake board??? Thanks in advance!

  6. Hi there! First of all, thank you SO much for sharing all of your knowledge. I’m making my brothers wedding cake next month and am trying to read as much as I can! The wedding is on the smaller side (63 people), BUT the caterer is providing some other desserts (strawberry shortcake, mini cookie skillets), so the cake doesn’t have to feed every person … I’m driving myself crazy on what size to make! They want a simple two tier decorated with fresh flowers — any advice? I’m thinking maybe a 10” and a 7”? Or a 12” and a 9”?

  7. I’m making a cake for a friend’s engagement party and I’m so excited to try your techniques for adding fresh flowers to the cake! I know you said to not put the flowers on the day before, but my friend is picking up the cake the night before and her party is mid morning the next day. Do you think the flowers would be ok? It’s not a full day in advance. I’m not attending, so I would have to put the flowers on before.

  8. Hi Chelsea! Love your blog and all the videos. I’m a novice baker and just attempted your 6 in WASC and almond buttercream and they were delish. I decorated with fresh flowers and placed a cake round on top in order to place the flowers on. Ran into a few hiccups as is expected as a first timer, when I removed the cake round, it lifted all the frosting from the top of the cake. The cake had been in the fridge for about 3 hours before I added the additional frosting and the cake board. Perhaps I shouldn’t have pushed down so hard with the cake board. Also, was wondering if I could keep the cake at room temperature all night, I don’t love cold cake. Thanks again for all the posts!

  9. Hi!
    I really like your blog posts and videos – thank you so much for sharing your knowledge. Just wanted to ask what is the name of the filler flowers you used for the wedding cake in this post? I’m making a wedding cake soon and need ideas for some white filler flowers.
    Thank you!

  10. Hey Chelsey! I really need to know how you keep your fully decorated cakes from getting condensation in the freezer? Some people say cling wrap but I feel like that smooshes the sharp peaks in my buttercream on top. And yes, the cake is completely frozen first. And with your ganache drip? That doesn’t freeze very hard and remains tacky, sticking to the cling wrap. Please teach me your ways! ?

Let me know what you think!