for Cupcake Decorating, Tea Parties & Connecting Kids with the Garden
Did you know that pansies are edible!? When I told my children they weren’t that excited by the prospect of my adding pansies to the family salad, until Grandma told them that pansies could be used for cake decorating.
That got their attention, and mine. We love a little tea party.
I’ve always assumed that flowers used in cake decorating were constructed from sugar, requiring technical skills that I am lacking in the kitchen. So I was pleasantly surprised to discover that crystallising pansies for cake decorating, requires no great skill and very few ingredients to be beautiful.
1 egg white
40 mls water
White castor sugar
Soft paint brushes
Step 1: Collect & prep the pansies
Collect the pansies fresh from the garden. Be very careful not to crush the flowers as this can damage and bruise petals. The easiest way to pick the pansies is by using a pair of scissors to cut the small stems close to the back of the flower head. Younger children will require some ‘supervision’ with this first step.
Tip: as mentioned, you can eat the pansies once they are crystallised. Therefore it is best to collect the flowers from a reputable garden that hasn’t been exposed to harsh pest control products. Unlike vegetables & fruit, the pansy flowers will bruise if washed vigorously. I used pansies from our own garden, as we use organic pest control for all our garden produce.
Step 2: Egg wash
For the egg wash you require one (1) egg white and 40ml of water, then mix together with a fork. The consistency you’re looking for is a thin mixture that will paint evenly over the petals without bruising them. You may require additional water if your egg is JUMBO size (add 10mls at a time if you are unsure).
Step 3: Painting the petals
Now for the fun part! Paint both sides of all the pansy petals. I found the easiest way for the children to achieve this was to paint the front of the petals first and then holding the flower stem with a pair of tweezers paint the back. Older children could do this independently, but I found my three (3) year old required some assistance.
Reframe from drenching the petals with the egg wash, all that is required is a thin painted layer.
Step 4: Sugar sprinkles
Once the pansies are painted with egg wash, hold the pansy over a bowl and sprinkle the front and back with fine sugar. Then allow drying.
Step 5: Drying
Sit pansies with their faces up on baking paper to dry, using a flat surface or tray that is in a clean area away from little fingers and moisture. Minimum drying period is 24 hours, I let ours dry for several days. You will know the pansies are ready for use when the flowers are ridged and dry.
Step 6: Decorating!
Before you start decorating, make sure your easy cupcakes are cooled, any amount of heat in the cupcake can cause your pansies to drupe.
Next, frost your cupcakes. I used this divine Cheesecake Flavour Frosting, which uses cream cheese and minimal icing sugar. Once frosted, gently decorate with the crystallised pansies!
Tip: I discovered that if the cupcakes with pansies are placed in the fridge for any length of time, the sugar softens on the pansies and they go all mushy. If transporting, take the pansies in a separate moisture free container and decorate cupcakes at the last possible moment.
There you have it, gorgeously decorated cupcakes featuring edible pansies from the garden.
About Renee Nugent
Hi, I’m Renee and I’m a self confessed fun maker. Whilst I’m not the world’s best gardener (I’ve killed cactus), I believe that getting my kids gardening is one of the most important experiences I can give them as a parent. It’s my way to teach them about the environment, food production, healthy living, science and sustainable practices in a fun and physical way. I love that they are willing to taste our garden produce and that we incorporate many of our garden ‘treasures’ into our craft activities.
So don’t let past gardening failures burden you, we’ve all killed plants and that’s OK. Just get out there and garden with your kids, because….. well….. it’s fun!
Find more of my garden fun here www.aboutthegarden.com.au