Cake Decorating 101: Rose Cake
Making roses with frosting isn't as hard as it seems.
Photos by Molly Dunn
So far in the Cake Decorating 101 series, we have looked at different ways to make flowers with fondant, frost a cake with butter cream and cream cheese frosting, spruce things up with easy designs and we have learned how to decorate the inside of the cake to create beautiful patterns.
This week, I am going to show you how to decorate an entire cake by piping roses out of cream cheese frosting. Many times these cakes are professionally done, however, it can be easily created at home.
I enjoy cream cheese frosting more than butter cream frosting, however you can most certainly use butter cream frosting.
Because I chose to use cream cheese frosting, I baked a carrot cake - my favorite cake to pair with cream cheese frosting. You may notice that the cake pictured isn't as large as a regular cake, and that's because it's not. When you make roses with frosting, you are going to use a lot more frosting than normal and it takes a long time, so I suggest decorating a smaller cake from 6-inch pans for your first attempt at piping roses with frosting.
After you make the crumb coat, stick the cake in the refrigerator to firm up.
Once the cakes finish cooling on the racks, tightly wrap each layer with plastic wrap, then stick the cakes in the refrigerator. This will help the cakes firm up before you trim the tops to flatten each layer, otherwise you'll have a mess of crumbs and your cake will start to fall apart.
As you prepare the cream cheese frosting with room temperature cream cheese and buttter, vanilla extract and powdered sugar, make sure the frosting isn't too runny; it needs to be thick enough to hold its shape on the sides of the cake. If it isn't thick enough, it will slide right off. To ensure the frosting holds its shape when you pipe it onto the cake, add enough powdered sugar to the equal parts cream cheese and butter.
Place a dollop of frosting in the center of the plate you will stack the cakes, then place one of the cake layers on top of the frosting. Cover the top of this cake layer with about a quarter inch of frosting, and repeat with the remaining two cake layers.
Practice making roses with the cream cheese frosting before frosting the cake.
As soon as the cakes are stacked, frost the outside of the cake to make the crumb coat. Place the cake in the refrigerator to firm up after you place the first layer of frosting on the outside of the cake. After the cake sits in the fridge for about 15-20 minutes, place another thin layer of frosting on the outside of the cake to make it smooth and to hide any crumbs that might have appeared.
Place the rest of the cream cheese frosting into a piping bag with the large star tip and practice creating a rose on a paper plate. Gently squeeze the frosting out of the piping bag to create the center of the rose, then maintain the same pressure on the bag and swirl the frosting around the center to create two circle layers. Pull the pipe away from the rose in the direction you were piping the frosting when you are done making your rose.
Make sure the roses will end up side by side when you finish frosting.
After you have practiced piping a rose on a plate, you're ready to pipe roses on the cake. Start on the side of the cake at the bottom. Pipe a three-inch rose, then move over about an inch and a half to the right and pipe another rose. Once the bottom layer is complete, pipe the second layer of roses on top. These roses will be on the side and on the top of the cake. After this layer is complete, pipe roses on the top of the cake, and fill in any holes with piped frosting. The star tip creates beautiful ripples that give each rose texture. It's almost too pretty to slice into.
Note: To ensure that the roses don't fall over while you pipe them onto the cake, stick the cake in the refrigerator between layers. This also gives you time to refill the piping bag with frosting.
Be careful when slicing into the cake because it is top heavy from all of the frosting from the roses. So get ready to catch the slice when you start to pull it out of the cake.
The cake is top heavy, so don't let it fall over when you pull out a slice.
For other variations on the roses, you can make smaller roses, color the frosting a different color, like red, purple or pink, or even pipe multiple colors to make the cake look like a bright and beautiful bouquet.
Check out the previous installments of the Cake Decorating 101 series:
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Houston dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.