Raw flowers on birthday cakes? Just a trend or do they offer health benefits?

If you’ve been keeping your eyes on your social feeds recently, you might have noticed the trend for adding edible flowers or green and yellow herbs to all sorts of foods, from salads to desserts.

Birthday cakes have become a particularly popular place to showcase beautiful blooms which are also entirely safe to eat. But are they just for show, or are there actually any health-related reasons that you might want to scatter edible flowers over your next cakey creation?

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More than just aesthetically pleasing

While it is definitely the case that raw flowers on birthday cakes are blowing up online because they look great, it is also worth pointing out that there is more to them than meets the eye.

For example, another appealing aspect that is not directly related to health is that many flowers have associations with specific months of the year, which makes them ideal for birthday celebrations. When you find your birth flower, you can then add it to your next birthday cake; just be warned that not all of them are edible, so you will need to remove them before you and your party guests tuck in.

Counteracting cake-based cholesterol

Picking up edible flowers for your birthday cake could be beneficial from a health perspective, as various pieces of evidence show that certain blooms will be able to bring down your cholesterol. Whether or not you will be eating them in large enough volumes to see a difference is another matter, but just knowing that flowers can be attractive and healthy could help you spice up the other recipes in your repertoire.

Hibiscus is one of the flowers which is thought to be capable of lowering cholesterol, as well as more broadly having a positive impact on the health of your heart and arteries.

Encouraging calmness

Birthdays can be hectic affairs, especially if you are hosting, so why not include flowers which are seen as being capable of calming you down, chilling you out and helping you to relax and enjoy yourself.

Lavender ticks all the boxes in this respect, and while it should really only be used sparingly if you intend to eat it, as a decorative garnish on a cake it will be a real boon.

Roses are also believed by some to have the ability to reduce levels of anxiety and also to help you relax, and you can eat every one of the hundreds of species that exist. Just bear in mind that flavors do vary from variety to variety, and not everyone is a fan of rose as a taste.

Reducing inflammation

Veering more into the world of alternative medicine than scientifically proven fact, you can find flowers which are claimed to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Honeysuckle is an oft-cited example of this, and while it may or may not actually be able to bring down inflammations, the undeniable fact is that it produces a sweet and delicious nectar which makes a great accompaniment for a birthday cake, for obvious reasons.

One flower which does have research to support the assertion of its anti-inflammatory capabilities is nasturtium. The only problem is that, unlike honeysuckle, it is at the more savory end of the flavor spectrum, so is less suitable for garnishing a sweet cake.

Pansies might make a better fit in this instance; they are relatively neutral in terms of taste, so will not overpower any icing or frosting you have added, and are also colorful and pretty, so could match a lot of different cake themes.

As you can see, raw flowers can be a good-looking, healthy addition to a birthday cake; just do not expect them to make up for the indulgences of the big day.

Michelle Li

Michelle Li, with a background in Nutritional Sciences from Cornell University, has explored the intersection of health and culinary arts for over 15 years. Joining us in 2020, her approach to cooking is informed by her extensive travels and studies in global food cultures. Michelle is also a certified sommelier, further enriching her gastronomic insights. Her hobbies include organic gardening and participating in culinary workshops. Michelle is an avid blogger on food sustainability and enjoys hosting cooking classes in her local community.

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