When it comes to decorating cakes or other desserts, people are often afraid they’ll need to learn advanced piping skills to make something beautiful. With this easy How-To Guide, you’ll learn the quickest, simplest way to decorate everything from cupcakes and cocktails: making Sugared Flowers! With just a few minutes of effort, you can turn Mother Nature’s beauty into a candied adornment for whatever you please.
About This Recipe
Candying or sugaring flowers is one of the best, easiest ways to make your desserts look super professional. They’re brightly colored, sparkling, and come in lots of different shapes and sizes to suit whatever your aesthetic is.
Oh, and you can also make sugared berries and herbs, too, which means there are nearly infinite designs you can make! Even if all you do is a quick crumb coat or plain layer of frosting, you can make your cakes look picture perfect by mixing and matching these glittering natural jewels to your heart’s content.
Best of all, you only need three simple ingredients and about 15-20 minutes worth of active time to make these beautiful candied flowers. Easily up your decorating game by following along below.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Organically Grown Edible Flowers (or Petals) - Make sure you gently but thoroughly wash and dry your flowers before starting. The process is the same whether you’re making candied rose petals, candied violets, or any other type of sugared flower. Also, make sure you’re buying your flowers from a vendor you trust or using flowers that you have grown yourself to ensure that they are food safe.
- Egg White - Egg white acts as a natural glue here. Feel free to use the kind that comes in a carton! You can also swap in aquafaba if you are egg-free or vegan.
- Granulated Sugar - I typically use plain ol’ white granulated sugar here. Feel free to swap in superfine sugar, sanding sugar, or any granulated sugar substitutes you please.
List of Edible Flowers & Rules to Keep in Mind
If you’ve ever wondered if you can eat flowers, the answer is a resounding YES! That said, there are a few things to consider when choosing what flowers to eat:
- Not all flowers are edible. In fact, some are poisonous! Make sure you do your research before sticking strange, pretty things in your mouth.
- Even if the type of flower is edible, the way it was raised may make it not food-safe. Beware of roadside pollution making some floral beauties inedible. In addition, any flowers that have been treated with chemical pesticides are also not recommended for human consumption.
- Depending on the flower, different parts of the plant may or may not be edible. For the flowers listed below, all of the petals are perfectly edible, but the stems and leaves may or may not be. Again, do your research.
- Edible flowers are very delicate. Once you procure your edible flowers, get right to work. They’ll last a maximum of 4-6 days from being picked if kept under refrigeration, so there’s no time to dawdle.
- Edible flowers vary widely in flavor. Some are spicy, others are vegetal. Some taste the way they smell, some are sweet, and some are sour. The more experimenting you do, the more you’ll be able to decipher which ones are your favorites!
So, what flowers are edible? As long as they were responsibly grown, you can eat at least some varieties of each of the following types of flowers:
- Calendula (a.k.a. Marigold)
- Chrysanthemums (a.k.a. Mums)
- Dame’s Violet
- Day Lilies
- English Daisies
- Garden Sorrel
- Perennial Phlox
- Pineapple Guave
- Queen Anne’s Lace
- Sunflower Petals
- Tulip Petals
- Wild Baby’s Breath (a.k.a. Sweet Woodruff)
For more details on how to decorate cakes with flowers that are edible and non-edible, head over to my guide for decorating cakes with flowers!
Shockingly, you need neither tons of crazy equipment nor a lot of time to make beautifully crystalized sugar flowers. Here’s what to grab:
- Food-Safe Paintbrush - You don’t have to go to a specialty shop to find one; any craft store will have a delicate paintbrush you use. Just make sure to mark it with masking tape or something to remind you not to use it for other crafts. Why? Well, Modge-podge makes pretty things, but it definitely shouldn’t be ingested, you know?
- Cooling Rack - Once you’ve painted and sugar-dipped your flowers, they’ll need a spot to dry and harden. I like using a cooling rack so it can dry from all angles at the same time.
How To Make Sugared Flowers For Cakes
Making candied flowers for cake decorating is quite simple. Here’s how it’s done:
Step 1: Coat in egg white. Before getting started, wash and dry your edible flowers thoroughly and place the sugar in a medium-size bowl. Using a paintbrush dedicated to food, gently paint each side of the petals with egg white.
Step 2: Coat in sugar. Next, place the petals in the bowl of sugar, making sure to coat both sides.
Step 3: Leave to harden. Transfer the sugar-coated petals to a wire cooling rack, leaving space in between each. Place the rack in a cool, dry spot for at least 4 hours or overnight for the best results.
Step 4: Use them ASAP. Use your candied flowers ASAP, as they’ll soften the longer they’re stored.
These sparkling sugar flowers are a treat for the eyes, but depending on your diet, they might not be suitable for eating. Here are a few of my favorite variations to consider:
- Sugar-Free - You can make candied flowers without refined sugar. Just replace the granulated sugar with date sugar, coconut sugar, or monk fruit crystals.
- Egg-Free - For an egg-free variation, replace the egg white with aquafaba (the liquid or brine in a can of chickpeas).
- Dehydrated - If you happen to have a dehydrator or a “dehydrator” setting on your oven, you can place the petals on a baking sheet in the oven at 175°F for 2 ½ hours so they harden faster.
- Bathe, but don’t shower. You’ll want to submerge your flowers in a pool of cool water rather than cleaning them under running water. This will help to protect the delicate flowers from damage. Wiggle them gently from side to side to help dislodge any critters that might be lurking.
- Dry gently, but thoroughly. Use a clean, soft flour sack towel or paper towels to gently dry them off after cleaning. Make sure to avoid bruising them as you work!
- Use your edible flower jewels quickly. Of all the ingredients in the food world, edible flowers are among the most delicate and have the shortest shelf life.
Frequently Asked Questions
The sugared flowers are best used as soon as they harden, so ideally within the same 24 hours. You can keep them in an airtight container at room temperature, however, the petals will begin to wilt and soften the longer they’re stored.
I’d first suggest you check out your local flower growers or flower shops. Call them up and see if they can source edible flowers for you. You can also find them at specialty shops like Whole Foods in the refrigerated section near the fresh herbs. There are also some specialty online stores that sell them.
However, if you end up liking decorating your goodies with flowers, I suggest considering starting a small edible flower garden. Many varieties can grow in pots, so you can grow them even if you live in an apartment.
There’s quite a range of flavors in the flower world. Hibiscus are quite tart, roses taste the way they smell, nasturtiums are peppery like arugula, while honeysuckle is sweet and floral. And that’s just 4 varieties of dozens!
They sure are! The petals don’t have much flavor, but if you eat the whole flower, it has sort of a wintergreen/spearmint flavor.
More How-To Recipes
- How to Make Brown Butter
- How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract
- 15+ Flavored Simple Syrup Recipes
- How to Make Dried Orange Slices
As always, I love seeing your creations and hearing from you! If you make these gorgeous sugared flowers, please leave a review or share your creation with me on social media! You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and Pinterest - for more delicious recipes sent straight to your inbox, sign up for my newsletter!
How To Make Sugared Flowers For Cakes, Cocktails, & Other Recipes!
- Cooling Racks
- Small Spoon
- 1 cup Edible Flower Petals, Washed and Dried
- 1 Egg White
- ¼ cup (50 g) Granulated Sugar
- Gently paint your washed and dried petals with the egg white using a paintbrush that is dedicated to food use!1 cup Edible Flower Petals, 1 Egg White
- Then, place the petal into a bowl of granulated sugar, making sure to coat both sides with sugar.¼ cup Granulated Sugar
- Then, place the coated petals apart on a wire cooling rack and place them in a cool, dry spot to harden for at least four hours, yet ideally overnight.
- If you happen to have a "dehydrator" setting on your oven, place the petals in the oven at 175°F for 2.5 hours to speed up the process.
- How long do candied flowers last? The sugared flowers are best used as soon as they harden, so ideally within the same 24 hours. You can keep them in an airtight container at room temperature, however, the petals will begin to wilt and soften the longer they’re stored.
- Where is the best place to buy edible flowers? I’d first suggest you check out your local flower growers or flower shops. Call them up and see if they can source edible flowers for you. You can also find them at specialty shops like Whole Foods in the refrigerated section near the fresh herbs. There are also some specialty online stores that sell them. However, if you end up liking decorating your goodies with flowers, I suggest considering starting a small edible flower garden. Many varieties can grow in pots, so you can grow them even if you live in an apartment.
- What do sugared flowers taste like? There’s quite a range of flavors in the flower world. Hibiscus are quite tart, roses taste the way they smell, nasturtiums are peppery like arugula, while honeysuckle is sweet and floral. And that’s just 4 varieties of dozens!
- Are pansies edible? They sure are! The petals don’t have much flavor, but if you eat the whole flower, it has sort of a wintergreen/spearmint flavor.