Cake Decorating Community - Cakes We Bake

Everything used in the baking and sugar craft industry has to be food grade,so whether it is cake tins cutters,colors,packaging,foil,tools,everything including any kind of decoration has to be food grade,yet I have a few baking tins that will leave a black residue on the cakes if I don't line my tins,I've been told that this happens when food grade metal is not being used.I have imported very expensive blossom plunger cutters that I don't use anymore since it also bleeds this blackness onto the paste as well as the surface used to roll the paste onto,so what's up with that?Are we slowly poisoning people?what exactly is that blackness that comes off this metal?How much of it can we consume before it becomes something we have to worry about?

Cake decorating has changed so much over years,you won't find cakes decorated anymore with those heavy dead looking sugar flowers,cakes are now decorated with fresh flowers,flower picks should be used but not many use them and flowers are just pushed directly into the cake,many different flowers are now used to decorate cakes with,if the bride has tulips in her wedding well then tulips are used,if she's having lilies then lilies are used,whatever the bride wants the bride gets!I wonder if people know that many of the flowers used to decorate cakes with are poisonous...
A very well known bakery in Cape Town had this to say about sugar flowers,"Life is to short to make sugar flowers" I found a list of flowers that should not be used to decorate cakes with,I can only say I was shocked to see that most of the flowers on the list are used by just about everyone!I don't like using fresh flowers but if a client insist I will, only after explaining to them that its not safe and if they still want fresh flowers well then that's that!

Here is the article I found on this topic,the author Tombi Peck a South African now living in the U.K.
and also one of the founders of the British Sugarcraft Guild.

Poisonous flowers

The following is an excerpt from an article written by Tombi Peck - editor of The British Sugarcraft News

The trigger for this article was a letter asking if there was a list of poisonous flowers available. Tombi says that after much research she compiled a list which was too lengthy to print in full so she chose to include only those plants and flowers which have appeared in sugarcraft books over the past few years or were so highly toxic they needed to be on the list. If a bride is looking for ideas in a sugarcraft book [but is wanting fresh flowers] she may think that because they have been done in sugar they are non-toxic, which simply isn’t the case.

During her research Tombi spoke to John Quai Hoi, a chef and florist from Australia. He pointed out that flowers grown commercially are habitually sprayed with nasty pesticides to rid them of things which might eat them or kill diseases. These chemicals may also be hazardous to people if in contact with icing.

The writer of the original letter asking about poisonous flowers also did some research herself and was told by a florist that although you would think that roses were safer than other fresh flowers, lilac roses attract bugs like a magnet. To counteract this problem the growers spray the roses very liberally with insecticide. This is why lilac roses are softer than other colours.

Here is the list of flowers:

Amarylis, Angels’Trumpet, Anthurium Flamingo Lily, Arum Lilies, Calla Lilies [lords and ladies], Autumn Crocus, Azaleas, Bird of Paradise, Bittersweet, Black-eyed Susan, Bleeding Heart, Bluebell, Burning Bush, Buttercup, Caladium, Chincherinchee, Christmas Rose, Christmas Cherry, Chrysanthemum, Clivia, Cobra Lily, Common vetch, Corncockle, Corn Poppy, Crocus, Daffodil, Jonquil, Daphne, Delphinium, Dragon Arum, Flame Lily, Fly honeysuckle, Foxglove, Goldenchain tree, Guelder-rose, Golden Trumpet, Hardy Passionflower, Holly Berry, Horse Chestnut, Hoya, Hyancinth, Hydrangea, Iceland Poppy, Iris, Ivy, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Larkspur, Lenten Rose, Leopard Lily, Lily-of-the-valley, Lily family, Lobelia, Lupins, Marsh Marigold, Mistletoe, Monkshood, Morning Glory, Narcissus, Night Blooming Jasmine, Oak, Oleander, Opium Poppy, Oriental Poppy, Peace Lily, Peruvian Lily, Philodendron, Primula, Rue, Snowdrop, Scarlet Pimpernel, Star of Bethlehem, St.Johns Wort, Hypericum, Sweet Pea, Sun Flower, Tobacco Plant, Tulip, Virginia Creeper, Weeping Fig, Wisteria. LOW TOXICITY: African violet, Busy Lizzie, Chinese Lantern, Clematis, Fuchsia, Grape Hyacinth, Honesty, Mahonia, Poinsettia.

Tombi’s conclusion is fresh flowers are more trouble than they are worth. Do we really want fresh flowers on cakes? The answer is a firm NO

Flowers list in alphabetical order using their common names. I have placed an asterisk next to some of the more highly toxic plants.

Not all parts of these plants are necessarily poisonous, but as we are talking about putting them on food I have erred on the side of caution. I was interested to see that apple seeds are considered poisonous, and in the Canadian list Chives were listed as being poisonous.!
Amaryllis (Amaryllis belladonna, Amaryllis vittata)
Angel’s Trumpet (Datura innoxia)
Anthurium, Flamingo lily (Anthurium andraeanum)
Arum lilies, Calla Lilies, Lords-and ladies) (Zantedeschia, calla palustris)
Autumn Crocus (Colchicum autumnalle)
Azaleas (Rhododendron)
Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia)
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia serotina)
Bleeding heart (Dicentra, Dicentra Formosa)
Bluebell (Hyacinthoides nonscripta)
Burning-bush (Euonymus atropurpureus)
Caladium (Caladium bicolour)
Chincherinchee (Ornithogalum)
Christmas rose (Helleborous niger)
Christmas cherry (Solanum)
Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum indicum)
Clivia (Clivia miniata)
Cobra lily (Arisaema)
Common vetch (Vicia salvia)
Corncockle (Agrostemma gitbago)
Corn poppy (Papaver rhoeas)
Crocus (Colchicum)
Daffodil, Jonquil (Narcissus)
Daphne (Daphne)
Dragon Arum (Dracunculus)
Flame Lily (Gloriosa superba)*
Fly honeysuckle (Lonicera xylosteum Lonicera tatarica)
Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
Goldenchain tree (Laburnum)
Golden Trumpet (Allamanda cathartica)
Guelder-rose (Viburnum opulus)
Hardy Passionflower (Passiflora caerulea)
Holly Berry (Hex)
Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum)
Hoya (Hoya australis)
Hyacinth (Hyacinthus)
Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)
Iceland Poppy (Papaver nudicaule)
Iris (Iris)
Ivy (Hedera helix)
Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum)
Larkspur (Consolida ambigua)
Lenten Rose (Helleborous)
Leopard lily (Dieffenbachia)
Lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria majalis)
Lily family ( Too many to list, most lilies are potentially poisonous)
Lupins (Lupinus)
Marsh Marigold
Mistletoe (Phoradendron serotinum)
Monkshood (Aconitum napellus)*
Morning glory (Ipomea violacea, tricolour)
Narcissus (Narcissus)
Night Blooming jasmine
Oak (Quaercus)
Oleander (Nerinum oleander)
Opium poppy (Papaver somniferum)
Oriental poppy (Papaver orientale)
Peace lily (Spathiphyllum)
Peruvian lily (Alstroemeria ligtu)
Primula (Primula obconica)
Rue (Ruta graveolens)
Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis)
Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)
Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum)
St. Johns Wort, Hypericum (Hypericum)
Sweet Pea (Lathyrus odoratus)
Sun flower (Helianthus annuus)
Tobacco plant (Nicotina)
Tulip (Tulipa gesneriana)
Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)
Weeping fig (Ficus)
Wisteria (Wisteria floribunda)

Low Toxicity
African violet (Saintpaulia ionantha)
Busy lizzie (Impatiens)
Chinese lantern (Physalis alkekengi)
Grape Hyacinth
Honesty (Lunaria annua)
Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulchirrima)
Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis)
Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum)
St. Johns Wort, Hypericum (Hypericum)
Sweet Pea (Lathyrus odoratus)
Sun flower (Helianthus annuus)
Tobacco plant (Nicotina)
Tulip (Tulipa gesneriana)
Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)
Weeping fig (Ficus)
Wisteria (Wisteria floribunda)

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Comment by Neryl Johnson on July 15, 2010 at 3:00pm
I've met some of those people too! I love Calla lilies, all lilies but sadly, all lily types are considered poisonous. I don't grow them anymore because of my dogs and cats but more because I can't afford to feed the moles who keep stealing my bulbs!!! Wonder why nothing happens to them :-)
Comment by Jenifer T on July 15, 2010 at 10:12am
Who woulda thought?!! I agree, a signed contract releasing the seller if someone INSISTS on having fresh flowers would be a wise idea. I have learned that people can start out "nice" and turn sour rather quickly for reasons not as serious as this. Appreciate the info.....I have callas in my yard!!! lol
Comment by Neryl Johnson on July 15, 2010 at 10:12am
That should be nausea :)
Comment by Neryl Johnson on July 15, 2010 at 10:08am
Hi Jenifer, many of these flowers will do nothing more than cause severe nausia and diarrhea but then there is the Arum lily / Calla ... " All parts of the plant are poisonous including the yellow spike and surrounding white spathe. If eaten, symptoms can include swelling of the tongue and throat, stomach pain, vomiting and severe diarrhea. Severe swelling or gastric irritation may become life threatening.
Toxicity category 2
Warning Seek urgent medical attention if lips or tongue become swollen or if there is
difficulty breathing or swallowing."

The Gerbera daisy is considered non toxic but... " Gerbera plants contain a chemical known as coumarin, a naturally occurring substance that has blood thinning properties. In certain individuals, such as those with clotting disorders, even the small amount contained within the plants may cause complications. "

These are just a few of the reasons not to use fresh flowers on cakes, then there's pesticide...

I think its best to educate clients about the dangers and give them a choice, then its their decision and like Theresa said, have a clients sign that they have been told and understand the dangers.
I know a few cake bakers who will not under any circumstances use fresh flowers.
Comment by Jenifer T on July 14, 2010 at 9:49pm
I believe that! Sad but true. :(
Comment by Theresa Happe on July 14, 2010 at 9:47pm
I've come across several people in my life who make side income from suing whenever they can. I just feel that if a simple step can spare someone an unnecessary lawsuit, it's a smart thing to do.
Comment by Jenifer T on July 14, 2010 at 9:31am
Hmmm, good point Theresa, better to be safe than sorry. But if chives are listed as poisonous, maybe this list is a little extreme? Like someone has to actually eat an entire flower bouquet to be affected? I don't know, I'm just thinking out loud.
Comment by Theresa Happe on July 8, 2010 at 1:08pm
Thanks for sharing this, Neryl. It seems to me that if a cake decorator wants to protect herself from a lawsuit from a bride or the bride's guests, she should have the bride sign something indicating that she has been told the above information. You can never be too careful these days.

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