I’m used to unusual and beautiful eats, but Denise’s almost otherworldly confection, inspired by Miche Bacher’s new cookbook Cooking with Flowers, swept even me away. I can imagine bringing this out at the tail end of a cozy dinner party in the garden…that’s not me tearing up from the beauty of it all, I promise. I have allergies! But they won’t keep me from dreaming of a big fluffy slice. -Amy
I recently acquired a sweet book called Cooking with Flowers by Miche Bacher, and I have been savoring it ever since. When I make coffee in the morning, I flip through it. When I’m making dinner, I do the same. I love turning each delicious page, wondering what I should make first.
I have never ventured into the world of cooking with flowers. While they are always in my home, I never considered eating them beyond the salad mix from the local market. Years ago, when I was first introduced to flowers in salad, I just considered them a pretty addition to the meal.
After digging deeper into the book, I learned that there are many options for eating flowers, many of which are hiding in plain sight. Did you know that artichokes are flowers? So are Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower. You are probably already enjoying flowers at mealtimes, and don’t even know it. This book focuses on flowers that are easy to find and often overlooked.
Every flower tastes different. Some are sweet, others are bitter or spicy. Lilacs and roses are heavily perfumed, and their taste can be bitter. Most flowers will be consistent in taste, but that taste can and will vary due to the growing conditions. Be adventurous and try them all. Besides being pretty, flowers are full of nutrients and vitamins such as A and C (not to mention they’re pretty kind to your waistline).
Now, don’t run out to your yard or nearby park and start ripping up flowers for your next salad. Attention to detail and quality are key, and Ms. Bacher goes into great depth about gathering, readying, and measuring flowers. Each flower that she highlights is accompanied by a small history lesson, instructions on how to use it, and a few savory and sweet recipes.
For this recipe, I used my basic angel food cake and frosted it with a marshmallowy white frosting. I was really limited in my choice of edible flowers, so I went with a mixture of pansies and violas, also known as Johnny-jump-ups. Both of these flowers have a mild lemony taste which was lovely with the vanilla bean in the frosting. This cake was a delight to serve during a recent dinner party, where two of the smaller guests were suspicious at first but then jumped at the chance to taste real flowers.
I’m going to plant some edible flowers in my garden, and experiment further. Perhaps I’ll make some herbed Calendula raviolis, or the dandelion wine. It’s a whole new food group to choose from, after all!
Fluffy White Cake with Flowers
- 1 angel food cake, homemade or store bought
- 5 large egg whites, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 1 handful edible flowers
- Fill a dutch oven with water and bring to a high simmer on the stove top.
- Place the egg whites, lemon juice and sugar into a mixing bowl, and using the whisk attachment, whisk until foamy, about 3 minutes.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer, and place over the simmering water.
- Continue whisking by hand until the mixture reaches 160 on a candy thermometer. Do not stop whisking or you will have cooked egg whites.
- Return the mixing bowl to the mixer and whisk at medium speed, until doubled in size, and medium-stiff peaks, about 5 minutes.
- Add the vanilla bean paste, whisk with the mixer for another minute.
- Place the cake on a serving dish, and frost with the frosting.
- Scatter the flowers over the tops and sides.
- Serve. Eat.
Eat Boutique was an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista – an author, business guide and alignment seeker. After hosting retail markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie now supports entrepreneurs as they create values-based businesses through We Are Magic Studio. Follow Maggie Battista on Instagram.