Edible Flowers

By Michael Karlo Lim

 

ON THE excruciatingly confusing thin line between “don’t buy me flowers” and “you never buy me flowers” are floral items from Zara. Thankfully, just Zara. The fairer sex would agree that the fairer sex tends to be unfair in their pronouncements on passion and practicality. I believe in love and food and love in food. I’ve stood the middle ground with a bouquet of my infamous Bacon Roses in hand two Valentine’s Days past.

The PussyKat’s birthday was coming up, and I was coming up empty-handed on surprises. “Don’t get me anything” only seemed to mount pressure. A bouquet of squash blossoms, perhaps? I could later stuff those with herbed goat cheese or maybe ground pork for dinner. Or maybe artichokes to then roast or turn into a gratin. Then there are these very Pinteresting Bouquet Cakes with hand-piped buttercream flowers from Cake Couture by Trina.

Calla lilies, Dahlias and freesias in a crescent shaped arrangement
Piped buttercream roses and peonies in a wreath arrangement

Practically growing up in the kitchen, Trina Kokseng received early culinary education from her mom. She began cooking and baking on her own at a young age. “With six other siblings, I had a lot of guinea pigs on whom I’d experiment, and they were very willing test subjects, to say the least.”

Culinary arts had to give way to the usual parental prerequisite of a degree in some four year-course. Graduating from accounting led to a stint in the banking industry before the call of her passion landed her a culinary degree at the Center for Asian Culinary Studies in Manila. Gravitating naturally towards pastry, she took up some more courses in Chicago and London and was fortunate enough to apprentice under Colette Peters in Manhattan.

Piped buttercream roses and peonies in a bouquet arrangement
Austin roses and peonies in a wreath arrangement
Various succulents in a wreath arrangement

Wanting to always be the first to bring in new techniques to the local market, she’s always on the lookout for the newest industry trends. Discovering the prettier and more realistic Korean buttercream flowers, she recently took a course in Korea to learn its techniques.

The base cake options are frosted and piped for approximately two hours. “Not too thick or sweet, buttercream complements a cake with countless options for designs,” she says. The frosting is also easy to color which results in attractive colors that pop out. Even color gradients are possible making very realistic looking flowers. As the buttercream flowers are very delicate and melt quickly in the local weather, extra care and cooler temperature are needed to make sure the flowers stay in the best condition. Versus the thick, chewy and often very sweet fondant icing which people usually peel off the cake, buttercream easily goes with each forkful of the base cake and melts for a luxurious mouthfeel.

Vanessa East with her Boquet Cake

‘Got her flowers alright. Edible, too.

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