How to make crystallised flowers with Lily Vanilli
Unique cake decorating techniques for the perfect spring bake.
Baker and cake decorator extraordinaire, Lily Vanilli has been wowing customers at her East London bakery with her naturally delectable designs. Boasting the best bakewell in town, the shop on Columbia Road opens solely on Sundays, offering Lily’s stand-out bakes and a cosy vintage-feel interior to enjoy them in. Cakes feature fresh flowers, fruits and nuts as her decoration techniques focus on putting nature firmly at the helm.
In this easy to follow guide, Lily shows us how to make crystallised spring flowers, perfect for giving your Easter cake that extra wow factor. She also shares her thoughts on traditional Easter baking and her top picks from our Kitchen collection.
“For the first time in recent memory, April actually feels like the start of spring and not a stretch into the abyss from the previous winter to the next one. The sun is out (mostly), the flowers are blooming at the right times and the first spring crops have been healthy. This is good news for the pastry chef, who looks forward to this time of year when some of the best fruit and edible flowers are on their way into season.
As traditional Easter baking (bunnies, eggs, chicks) has never really been my thing I have been busying myself with crystallising the first crop of edible spring flowers. If done carefully enough (it can be painstaking work, though the kind many bakers enjoy, myself included) they will last up to a year. Store them airtight in a cool place and make sure they are fully sugar coated.
Use them fresh or crystallised to decorate cakes and pastries for a really pretty spring look with subtle, fresh flavours.”
Some lovely edible flowers out now include:
Viola and cultivated/wild primrose
To crystallise a handful of edible flowers you will need:
1–2 egg whites, loosened with a few drops of water (approximately 4 drops per white)
Small bowl of caster sugar
One baking tray, lined
Fine, clean paintbrush, not used for anything besides food
1. Clip the flower stems as close to the base as possible and snip away the sepals (the green pockets on the back of the flower). Place a flower on your prepared tray and use the paintbrush to coat with the egg white, making sure you are thorough. Brush away any excess egg white. Hold the flower by what’s left of the stem over the sugar bowl and sprinkle generously with sugar. Turn it over and shake gently to release any excess sugar.
2. Do the same for the back of the flower, making sure the entire flower is coated. Place it face up on the baking tray. Repeat with the other flowers, and when you are done, put them in a cool, dry, dark place overnight or until the flowers feel crisp to the touch. Store them in an airtight container.
Lily’s Baking Picks:
Shop Lily’s top three kitchen picks from our inspirational Baking Essentials edit and kit yourself out like a pro. From the all important wooden spoon, to recipes from the Peruvian Kitchen, these pieces will enhance any culinary collection.
Lily Vanilli’s first book, ‘Sweet Tooth’ will be available from the Liberty Home department soon!