It was my friend Jen’s birthday in March and that, my dear friends, meant it was time for cake. Yay! Hooray! Yippee! Time for cake!
When I asked Jen what kind of cake she wanted, she gave me free rein by answering “surprise me.”
I’ve wanted to try to do a rose-piped buttercream cake because it’s pretty and feminine and cool. Just like my friend Jen.
I texted Jen with some options:
Vanilla or lemon?
Pink, purple or white?
In a fine feat of mind-reading, Jen’s chose the selections I would’ve made.
One thing I should mention right away: Piping is not my strong suit. With no official cake-decorating training, I haven’t logged enough practice time with a piping bag so I definitely lack confidence when it comes to piping.
Before I could convince myself to try something easier, I embraced the challenge and knew it’d be a good learning opportunity. There’s no time like the present to get that piping practice time.
1. Find inspiration and instruction
First, I searched online for some inspiration photos. I found lovely examples of buttercream rose cakes at 52kitchenadventures.com and adventuresinsavings.com. So purdy!
Then I watched a few video tutorials that demonstrate the technique for piping large buttercream roses. Like this one….
2. Practise piping technique
With my research complete, it was time to get piping. I used a piping bag with a 1M Wilton star tip. It looks like this:
And then I cued up the camera so you could see what I was doing. See?
3. Pipe buttercream roses
Then I just kept piping roses. Even when some roses turned out smooshy and air pockets made a stream of icing break off when I least expected it. I told my inner perfectionist to get lost and before I knew it — Hey look! I made a buttercream rose cake. Yay! Not too shabby.
3 lessons learned
1. Aim for a consistent size with each rose piped. See that big rose on the top of the cake? I sort of spazzed out when I was running out of space so I just swirled a large rose but now I see I could’ve squeezed in an extra few roses and kept them looking more uniform in size.
2. Give yourself some space between roses to allow the buttercream to flow into the empty spaces while you pipe. You can fill in empty spaces with swipes of buttercream later or as you go along.
3. Most importantly, icing consistency is key. Your icing should be soft enough to flow without breaking but firm enough to hold the rose’s shape.
You need a whole lotta icing
For this 6”, four-layer cake, I used a double batch of Wilton’s buttercream recipe and I omitted 2 tbsp of milk. I refrigerated the buttercream overnight in a glass bowl, covered with plastic wrap.
Then I brought the icing to a slightly chilled room temperature (about 20 minutes, left out on the countertop). I mixed the buttercream with two stripes of violet gel food colouring loaded onto two toothpicks. After filling a piping bag with buttercream, I covered the bowl with cold, damp paper towels to prevent the remaining icing from crusting over and drying out.
Here are the recipes I used to make this cake:
Vanilla cake from joyofbaking.com.
Buttecream icing at wilton.com.
I think this cake would make a lovely dessert for Mother’s Day. What do you think?