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Filler Flowers: The Secret to Captivating Cake Arrangements

When creating sugar flower arrangements, it’s easy to get hung up on big, bold open peonies or large ruffly garden roses. Think beyond those focal flowers and really bring your arrangements to life by adding filler flowers!

Cake by Craftsy user ModernLovers  Cake via Craftsy member ModernLovers

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What are filler flowers?

When building sugar floral arrangements, cake designers generally combine focal flowers and filler flowers to create lush, balanced designs. Focal flowers are large in size, the “star of the show,” or centerpiece. These can be peonies, roses, large daisies, dahlias and more. Fillers are small sugar flowers used to fill in the gaps or add background support to the larger flowers. Smaller blooms and leaves can also be used to help draw the eye to the focal florals. 

Cake via Craftsy user Alex Narramore Photo via Craftsy member Alex Narramore

Tips for incorporating small sugar flowers on your cakes

Cake via Erin Gardner | Filler Flowers | CraftsyPhoto via Erin Bakes

1. Stay in season

There’s a saying in cooking, “What grows together, goes together.” The same theory applies when creating floral arrangements. Look to the season to give you direction when choosing supporting flowers and foliage for your statement blooms. Surprisingly, you’ll find that just by sticking to what’s in season, shapes and colors of flowers will naturally balance each other out.

Cake via Craftsy user Modern Lovers | Filler Flowers Photo via Craftsy member ModernLovers

2. Pop of color

Filler flowers and foliage present a terrific opportunity for adding pops of color into your sugar flower arrangement as well as your overall cake design. In the image above, Craftsy member ModernLovers uses brilliant green leaves and softly colored small blossoms to balance out a solid black cake design and jewel tone focal flowers. Below, I added tiny pale green sugar hydrangea to add interest to a monochromatic white floral arrangement.

 Cake by Craftsy Instructor Erin Gardner | Filler FlowersPhoto via Erin Bakes

3. Anchor a focal flower

Many times a client would come to me wanting a single statement flower on their cake. Peonies were always very popular used this way. Adding a few pieces of foliage, or other tiny blooms or berries, helps tie the flower back into the overall cake design. Otherwise, large blossoms can sometimes appear to have just been plopped onto a cake rather than artfully worked into the design.

Cake by Craftsy Instructor Erin Gardner | Filler Flowers | Craftsy Photo via Erin Bakes

4. Get twiggy with it

Adding branches or twigs to your floral design can help add dimension, height, and drama. In the arrangement above, I added modeling chocolate manzanita branches to mimic the idea of coral and help add to the cake’s nautical theme.

Cake by Craftsy Instructor Erin Gardner | Filler Flowers Photo via Craftsy instructor Erin Gardner

5. Whimsy & playfulness

There’s no denying the beauty of sugar flowers, but sometimes they can make a cake design feel too serious or heavy. Using filler flowers in bright colors or playful shapes, like billy balls or eucalyptus, can help lighten up an arrangement.

Cake via Craftsy user Alex Narramore | Filler Flowers Photo via Craftsy memberAlex Narramore

6. Fruit and berries

When dreaming up your sugar flower showpiece, don’t limit yourself to blossoms and leaves. The addition of berries or other fruit helps add shape, color and seasonality to your arrangements. Blackberries or strawberries would look right at home in a summer arrangement. Lemons or limes might help freshen up a tropical floral design. Hypericum berries (above) are popular with florists year round.

 Cake via Craftsy Instructor Erin Gardner | Filler FlowersPhoto via Erin Bakes

7. Stages of Bloom

Take a cue from florists and look no further than developing focal flowers for interesting filler. Adding buds, closed flowers and statement flowers at various stages of bloom can help add to the realism of your sugar flower arrangement.  






I love all the cakes but the black one is not my favorite


All the cakes are awesome but the black one is not my favorite.


Superb. I love to do sugar flowers, but I have no reason to make them, no cakes to make. Very depressing. They’d just get thrown away.

Tina Baird

I have been following Maggie Austin for many years and the black cake is her design. It is simply stunning. For a long time I thought I would never be able to make sugar flowers they were just too intimidating. I took her craftsy classes and now I am a confident sugar flower maker. Maggie says embrace the imperfection. If you’re still struggle with sugar flowers check out her classes here on craftsy.


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