I like my rainbow-funfetti-unicorn-sparkle cakes as much of the next person. I really do. But sometimes it’s nice to just keep things au naturel. Herbs can be so pretty and are much more flavoursome that candy cake decorations, so I wanted to explore some ways they could be used as edible decor, not just an ingredient.
Conveniently, I had a rather naked looking honey and pear cake that needed some jazzing up, but these techniques would work with any cake. Scroll down to see how I used herbs to make it pretty (and not a rainbow sprinkle in sight).
Substitute sprinkles for finely chopped herbs
This one is kind of easy peasy. You can either finely chop the herb of your choice, or use tiny thyme leaves like I did. Be sure to pick a flavour that complements your cake. Once your cake is iced, just sprinkle ‘em on top. Jobs a winner.
Rosemary infused drizzle
Put a few sprigs of rosemary into a small saucepan, and add just enough milk to almost cover them. Heat this very gently and remove from the stove before it boils. Cover, and leave to cool for a few hours. Once fully cooled, strain out the rosemary and discard (or just pick it out if it’s still intact). Add icing sugar to the milk a little bit at a time until you have a consistency you like, then pour over your cake. For extra drizzliness poke a few holes in your cake before pouring. This would work with pretty much any herb.
Crystallised sage leaves
This one is also easy peasy. Lay out all of the leaves you want to decorate, and one by one gently brush with egg white and dip into white sugar. the whole leaf should be coated but not saturated. for a cracked crystal look use fine sugar, and for a dusted look use larger grains. Leave these to dry overnight. (Before serving, make sure everyone is cool with eating uncooked egg whites).
If you are unsure of which herbs to pair with a sweet dessert, have a look through these ideas from Martha Stewart for some great flavour combos.