How to make a floral cake


Of all the floral arrangements in my repertoire, the floral cake is by far the most popular. This arrangement in the shape of a cake scores big time at birthday parties and also celebrations for anniversaries, baby and wedding showers, holidays, housewarmings — any time, really. I’ve made literally hundreds of them for centerpieces and gifts, and they’re a surefire way to make people smile. 

While the floral cake looks awfully fancy, it is actually quite easy to make. A true story: A few years ago, I was at a local florist ordering some flowers, and the person helping me at the front counter recognized me and said the people in the back just happened to be watching my YouTube video tutorial on the floral cake right then and there. What a strange coincidence.

A word of caution, though: The floral cake looks luscious, but it is inedible, so keep it away from kids — and hungry spouses — who might not be able to resist it.

What you’ll need:

– Floral foam Carnations – approximately 12 of one color, 24 of a second color

– Chrysanthemums – one bunch

– Button pompoms – approximately 6 (optional)

1. Prepare the floral foam

Purchase a brick of floral foam at the crafts store, making sure it’s the floral foam designed for fresh, rather than silk, flowers. A standard brick is 3 inches by 4 inches by 9 inches. Cut it in half so you have two pieces that are about the same size. Then use a knife to round out the sides of one of the halves to create a cylinder shape. (Save the other half for future use.) Soak the floral foam in water for about five minutes, and set it on a plate.

2. The first layer of carnations

We’re using carnations for the cake because they last a long time and look like frosting. I buy them in bunches at the downtown Los Angeles flower mart, but I’ve also seen bunches at supermarkets. Cut the stems of the carnations to about 1/2 inch. Insert the stems on the bottom of the floral foam cylinder perpendicular to the side of the foam, pushing the stems in until the flowers stop on their own. Keep going around until a row of carnations encircles the bottom. 

3. The middle layer of carnations

I like to use a different color of carnations for the middle and top layers so that the bottom looks like a frosting trim. As with the first layer, cut the stems of the carnations to about 1/2 inch, and insert them into the floral foam so the flowers in this middle layer butt right up against the bottom layer. Continue all the way around the floral foam until this layer is complete.

4. The top layer of carnations

Repeat for the top layer of carnations, so that the floral foam is completely covered on its sides. As you complete the sides of the cake, remember to insert the stems perpendicular to the floral foam. When the stems are inserted at an angle, the cake takes on more of a dome shape rather than a cylindrical one.

5. Insert the flowers on top

After the sides of the cake are completed, it’s time to decorate the top. Flat flowers such as daisies and chrysanthemums work best to achieve that flat look of a cake. Avoid flowers that stick out too much, such as tulips or lilies. Cut the stems to about three inches and insert them into the floral foam at the top of the cake until the foam is completely covered. 

6. The polka dots on the side

For a finishing touch, I like to add button pompoms to the sides for polka dots. Any small flower will work, and this step is completely optional. Cut the stems to about four inches, poke your fingers between the carnations to find a clear path to the floral foam and insert the button pompoms. Space them out about three to four inches apart around the circumference of the cake.

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