Why Wildflower Cakes Are A Great Place For New Bakers To Start

"Back to the land" has been a phenomenon since at least the 1960s, when folks tired of urban materialism and political unrest packed up and moved en masse to West Virginia to become master basket weavers, quilt makers, and woodworkers. Indeed, the call of the wild has been a recurring social trend for decades. Why? It's beautiful; It's uncomplicated; It provides a fertile outlet for creative expression. Enter: the "apothecary aesthetic."

The "apothecary aesthetic" is an umbrella covering all things dried herbs, earthy color palettes, and (you guessed it) baking with edible flowers. In a press release sent to Tasting Table in December, Pinterest predicted the trend's popularity in 2023. It's reminiscent of the "cottage-core" trend that had the internet in an unrelenting chokehold during the peak pandemic in 2020. The BBC called it "the rise of the rural modern fantasy," a departure from everyday life into "a whimsical world of nostalgia, tranquility, and folksy mysticism." In today's world, it looks like hungry foodies are craving a pastoral lifestyle (i.e. breadmaking, mushroom foraging, and gardening). If that's you, grab your sourdough starter and your gnawing yearning to go back to the land because today, we're talking about wildflower cakes.

If your rose-colored glasses are on (pun intended) and you're eager to try this fun trend for yourself — but you've burned every brownie batch and soggied every pie crust — rest assured: Wildflower cakes are a great place for new bakers to start.

Baking skills are blooming

Wildflower cakes are exactly what they sound like: Iced cakes garnished with fresh flowers. Some bakers keep it minimal and add a few sprigs to a naked cake; Others arrange entire gardenscapes into the frosting. The design can be as flamboyant or understated as you like. What makes wildflower cakes super friendly for beginner bakers is their easy impressiveness. To make a stunning wildflower cake, simply place fresh flowers atop frosted cupcakes or around the circumference of an iced cake. That's it. The beautiful flowers do all the aesthetic heavy lifting on their own. If you want to up the ante, intrepid decorators might try crystallizing their fresh blooms in sugar or piping flower designs onto their cakes with fine-tipped icing. You could also use buttercream to pipe rosettes, or craft larger petals using a cake spatula.

It's an adorable, ultra-pleasant trend, but be sure to do it safely. Penny Stankiewicz, Owner and Creative Director of specialty cake decorating business Sugar Couture, recommends purchasing any flowers you plan to bake with from a local farmer's market (via Food Network). Pesticides and other preservative chemicals may keep grocery store bouquets looking pretty all week long, but they belong in a vase — not in your belly. All that's left to do is grab some calendula, apple blossoms, lavender, rose, lilac, hibiscus, geraniums, chamomile, violets, or sunflowers and let nature take your baked goods to the next level — no expertise necessary.