While plastic and ceramic cake toppers have their place on some wedding cakes, many other cakes are topped with orchids. Orchids add edible, natural beauty to a cake and are perfect for a tropical theme cake. They are also a pretty decoration for garnishing cakes at home, adding flair for a summer dinner party. The blooms of all orchids are safe to eat; however, certain orchids taste better than others.
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Vanilla is the most-known orchid, thanks to its flavour. It is a common ingredient in baking and has also found its way into perfumes and bath products, as well as beverages and candy. The use of vanilla in food products comes from the vanilla bean, a pod removed from the plant and dried out. The white orchid flower itself has a sweet flavour and is an excellent orchid for use as an edible decoration for a cake.
The Dendrobium orchid is another orchid famous for its uses in food. Sold in speciality food stores, it's used as an edible cake decoration, as well as in stir-fry recipes. Dipping a dendrobium orchid in beet batter or tempura and deep frying it is another speciality. The dendrobium orchid is a lovely decoration for a cake because of its various colours -- shades of white, yellow, pink and purple.
The phalaenopsis orchid is larger than the dendrobium orchid and more exotic looking. It is an orchid found in abundance in Hawaii, but also grown on the mainland. This orchid has been a staple in Polynesian weddings for many years, either in bouquets or as decorations on the wedding cake. It varies in colour, much like the dendrobium orchid.
Cymbidium orchids are a larger orchid with strong, waxy petals, making them perfect for cakes because they can withstand the handling needed to put them on the cake without bruising. They are commonly used in corsages because of their size and strength. The available colours vary from white to pink to shades of orange.
Fondant or Gumpaste Orchids
While all orchids are considered edible, that does not mean they all taste good. Fondant and gum paste orchids not only look realistic for use on a cake project, but they taste delicious too. They can be ordered from cake decorators or people who specialise in the production of edible flowers from frostings or gum pastes. With the right materials, an ambitious decorator can even make the gum paste and fondant orchids herself.
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- Ionopsis.com; Edible Orchids; Krum Z. Sotirov; May 28, 2011
- Orchids-plus-more.com: Most Flavorful Orchid, Vanilla Plant Orchid
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Kemper Center for Home Gardening, Your Path to Quality Gardening Help, Dendrobium Group
- Just Add Ice Orchids: Edible Orchids Are New Wedding Cake Trend
- Planttalk Colorado: 1348 Orchid: Cymbidium