Buttercream Roses

Decorating By heidinamba Updated 15 Apr 2008 , 5:18pm by matwogirls

heidinamba Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 3:21am
post #1 of 34

Let me first say that I'm not a cake decorator! I make & decorate cookies BUT I am trying to get into cake decorating and have been looking online and reading lots of books on it. The most basic of flowers - the rose - is what I'm having trouble with. I have all the right supplies and have been practicing all day long. Rose after rose after rose...........they still don't look right. First of all, what icing recipe is best? I used the buttercream recipe that is out of the Whimsical Bakery book. It didn't work too well. First the icing was too soft and my rose petals were limp and had no definition so I added more powdered sugar. Then it was too grainy and kind of dry but it still didn't seem stiff enough. Ugh! Help with a recipe please. I don't mind using SOME shortening in my recipe but mostly butter is preferred. Also, does anyone have any hints? My roses kind of ended up very spread out at the base. So the flower was very wide. Please help! I have 2 cakes that I need to make in the next 2 weeks and I would like to do roses on them both. One is for a 16 year old's birthday and one is for a first communion.

33 replies
lchristi27 Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 3:24am
post #2 of 34

I still keep practicing mine, over and over and over again, and I'm not 100% satisfied either, hopefully some of our regulars here can give us some advice.

I read that a lot of people use royal icing for their roses. Antonia's recipe on this website tastes really good though, so that might be a thought.

JenniferL Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 3:34am
post #3 of 34

If you are using all butter, you may have more luck by putting the icing in the fridge for a little while before making your roses. The butter melts quickly with the heat from your hands leading to flat roses so it helps to start out with cold bc.

I use the stiff version of the Wilton butter cream recipe. Another Ccer suggested adding a little corn syrup to that recipe to help the roses come out smoother.

I may be wrong (sure wouldn't be the first time today icon_wink.gif ), but isn't Antonia's RI recipe for icing sugar cookies. If so, it would probably be too thin for making roses. Like I said, I could be totally wrong?? icon_redface.gif

I hope this helps a little. icon_smile.gif

joy5678 Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 3:35am
post #4 of 34

I had the same problems with my roses but found out that if I don't put as much liquid in the recipe it makes the icing stiffer. Try that when you make a new batch and see if it helps. Stay with it. The buttercream tastes so much better than the royal and you can apply them directly to the cake without drying them which will save your loads of time. Hope this is helpful to you.

goal4me Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 3:37am
post #5 of 34

You need very stiff buttercream to make roses....
The Wilton rose is in Coure 1 book, you get on EBay or at Joann's Craft
store. Follow the WIlton recipe available online at Wilton.com or in one of their books.

Butter is sooo much softer...if you use 1/2 butter and 1/2 Crisco, you will need to increase the amount of powdered sugar to make it stiff enough.
You could start with a hershey kiss or their white/dark chocolate kiss one... This will give you a firm base to support the petals. Use a 104 tip for the petals and follow the Wilton instructions.....should be fine.

cakequeen50 Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 3:41am
post #6 of 34

First problem is the butter. It may be fine and good as icing, but if you think about it, as butter room temp, it gets soft so ....your icing gets soft. Especially doing them again and again, the bag in your hand melts the already soft buttercream and doesn't hold shape.

I am not good at telling you how to make a rose, unfortunately, I can show you. I have been making them for 30 years but to tell you....I can't seem to have it make any sense. But if you start by changing your rose icing recipe, it should help immensely.
If you use this one, change 1 stick of butter for 4 more oz of crisco, it will help. Make sure your oils are not too warm, just room temp.

this is a regular buttercream recipe NOT crusting:
3 cups shortening
3 sticks butter
2 pounds plus 6 ounces 10X sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla

One more pointer, if your buttercream starts to get too soft, pop the piping bag into the fridge for a few minutes to cool it off from your hot hands.

mgigglin Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 3:41am
post #7 of 34

To learn how to do buttercream roses, I practiced with the Wilton recipe for their buttercream. It was great becasue I learned the consistency of stiff and medium and was able to see how the stiff would work for the rose. Wilton also has great instructions for making a buttercream rose. I just happened to walk in on my nieces course 1 class and that is what she was learning. The wilton way has you make a mound with tip12 about the size of a hershey kiss on your nail. Then using the 104 tip you are to wrap a scarf around it. You start from their with your petals first 3 then 5 then 7 if you want a full rose. You start the petals with your tip almost same angle as the scarf and with each petal layer down you are pulling your tip back just a bit. Does that make sense? This is kind of a simplified version but I hope it gives you some ideas. After I figured out the consistency of the buttercream I moved onto better tasting stuff! icon_biggrin.gif
Good luck,

Oh.. and I tried Antonias RI for flowers... doesnt hold its shape, it is the wrong consistency.

heidinamba Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 3:48am
post #8 of 34

So I NEED to have mostly shortening in my recipe? Is half shortening & half butter ok? I bought the Wilton beginners book today and have followed the directions carefully. I think what is preventing me from getting a nicely formed rose is my recipe and/or the consistency of it. The recipe I used today is kind of a basic recipe - powdered sugar, vanilla, hot water, shortening & butter & salt. It looks grainy though - not smooth or shiny at all. I whipped it very well with the whisk attachment like the recipe said. I've seen some professional cake decorators make their roses on a stick - kind of the size of a chopstick. I tried that also but that was a big laugh. But I think I have the hand motion correct and I'm confident that I'm handling the bag well so I need to get my icing recipe & consistency correct. Oh, another questions, can I make roses with cream cheese frosting (with butter also in it?)?. One of the cakes I need to make is the red velvet cake and I prefer to make cream cheese icing for it.

Texas_Rose Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 3:49am
post #9 of 34

I tried for years to make roses and couldn't get them to look like anything but cabbages. Then I learned two things that really help.

First, add meringue powder or powdered egg white to your frosting recipe. I add 1 tablespoon for every pound of powdered sugar.

Second, put the base of the rose in the freezer for a few minutes before you build the rose on it. Some people like to use a hershey's kiss for the base of the rose because it's nice and stiff, plus it makes a neat surprise in the middle of the rose. I've never done it (probably because hershey kisses don't live long in my house icon_lol.gif ) but I can see where it would work.

If you've colored your frosting and you notice it starting to look a little darker as it comes out if the bag, stop for a while and put the bag in the fridge (for me it means the butter's starting to melt)

And don't feel bad that you're having trouble with roses. It's the most common flower on a cake, but it's definitely not the simplest. Also, if you have to have roses on your cake and you just can't get them to come out how you want, try making ribbon roses or duff roses out of fondant and sticking them on the cake.

Texas_Rose Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 3:54am
post #10 of 34

I just saw what you posted about the hot water. That's probably making the butter too soft to get a good texture.

I usually don't soften the butter in mine. I use the paddle attachment and cream the butter and shortening together (equal parts of each), then add the powdered sugar and flavoring, then little drizzles of milk until I get the right consistency. You can stop the mixer and lift the paddle up to check the consistency of the frosting...if it leaves a clearly defined path in the bowl and the edges look nice and sharp, then it's stiff enough.

heidinamba Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 3:55am
post #11 of 34

I definitely am using the 12 tip for the rose base and I have 2 different tips for the rose petals - tip 104 and I think tip 125 for the larger ones. My Wilton catalog explains the process well but my roses don't look ANYTHING like the ones in the magazine!! I asked one of my kids (4 years old) what I was holding in my hand after I had finished piping a rose and he said "A rose!". So it must resemble one! It doesn't look nice enough for a cake though. Another question, if I want to make red roses, how much color do I need to put in? I have the Americolor red and I squeezed quite a bit into a bowl with about 2 cups of icing in it and it turned pink. I squeezed a lot more color in and it was still pink! How much do I need to add? I only will need about 4 red roses for the cake I'm making. Is a really bright red rose possible with buttercream? I make red royal icing all the time for my cookies but the buttercream seems more difficult to color a dark shade.

spidy-man Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 4:02am
post #12 of 34

Here is the recipe for the Wilton "class" butter cream icing:

1 Cup solid veg. shortening
1 Tsp. flavoring
2 Tbs water
1 LB pure cane conf. sugar
1 Tbsp meringue powder

It is very important that you follow this recipe exactly in order to get the proper consistency. Use a 1lb box of conf. sugar because the weight is more accurate than measuring by cup. If your consistency is too stiff use 1 tbsp shorteing per cup to give the icing a creamier consistency. Do not use corn syrup or other liquids as they will change the consistency of the icing. Consistency is the key to making a good rose. I always tell my students to use this recipe when practicing their decorations in order to get the proper results in both consistency and the decoration itself. That way when you switch to the icing you prefer you will be able to properly judge its consistency and how the icing is supposed to respond.

I have attached a rose chart and instructions. Hope this helps

heidinamba Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 4:04am
post #13 of 34

I heard somewhere else about the meringue powder in buttercream. I will try that next time. Yes, my recipe called for boiling water actually but by the time the butter was added the water was completely cool. I've made this icing recipe before (Whimsical Bakehouse recipe) and it's mostly shortening (almost 3 cups shortening & 1 1/2 sticks butter). You whip it for 10 minutes and it's wonderfully fluffy and light and actually smooth & shiny but not stiff enough for roses. It's when I added the extra powdered sugar that it became grainy. It's a lovely icing though and many people like it who have eaten my cakes & cupcakes.

The Hershey kiss idea seems pretty fun. Maybe I will consider that if all else fails.

hollyw567 Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 4:05am
post #14 of 34

If you are having trouble with the process of making a rose, get on youtube and type in "buttercream rose" and there are lots of videos that can help you. Like the others said, your icing must not be warm. I have never tried to make a rose from cream cheese icing, but it seems impossible. Maybe you could ice your cake in cream cheese and just use regular buttercream for the roses? Good luck and hope I've helped a little icon_rolleyes.gif .

Texas_Rose Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 4:24am
post #15 of 34

I've made cream cheese frosting roses before. It's like any other icing, you can control the texture of it by how much sugar you add, and how much liquid (if any). It does need to be cold when you use it, and I had to put each rose in the fridge for a little while on the flower nail before I could tranfer them to the cake (but it's always hot in my kitchen, even at Christmas when I was making the cake).

Oh, to make red buttercream, you have to add a lot of red coloring. I think the fat makes it less translucent and that's why it takes more coloring than royal icing.

heidinamba Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 4:27am
post #16 of 34

Of course! I can ice my cake with cream cheese icing and then make my roses with regular buttercream. That's a great idea.

I was on youtube last night watching buttercream rose videos. I watched about 10 different videos. Some were helpful, some not so much. I've read several different websites and read many different books that explain the process. I wanted to be prepared going in! I went to Michael's and bought all of the necessary supplies. I was going to ace this - how hard can it be?? I laughed at the earlier post when it was mentioned that her roses looked like cabbages! Exactly! That's what mine look like.

heidinamba Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 4:32am
post #17 of 34

Texas Rose, you say that it's possible to make cream cheese icing roses? I will try it. It would be easier to not have to make 2 different kinds of icing - one for the whole cake & one for the roses.

How can you stand a hot kitchen? Must be a Texas thing huh? I lived in a condo a few years back that was hot even in winter! The kitchen was horrible in the summer. Almost unbearable, even with the air conditioner on! And I live in Seattle which is not that warm. It was just a crappy place to live. Being hot is just something I can't tolerate and baking while hot......NO!

heidinamba Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 4:36am
post #18 of 34

Another question about the icing....in the Wilton catalog that I bought today it mentions to add piping gel to the icing when you want to pipe roses. What's the piping gel for? I've never bought piping gel and didn't know what it was used for. Do I need to add this?

cocobean Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 4:48am
post #19 of 34

heidinamba, I know the recipe you are talking about from the Whimsical Bakehouse. We just had the cake that I made for my birthday, tonight. (Carrot cake with creamcheese frosting and bc roses, pansies and various other flowers). I tried to copy one from the WB book. It was the first time for me to do roses. I was really excited to try their recipe using the hot water. I thought it might be the secret to making a shiny bc frosting because of the pictures of their cakes in the book. I think it did work out to begin with but as soon as I put color into it, it was way too soft for the roses. I tried making them. I even kept the piping bag and nail head in the freezer until I was ready. After taking it out I tried to make one or two roses. The bc wouldn't hold up. Still to soft. If you hurry to the freezer and put the rose in it would hold its shape. As soon as you took them out they would kind of melt. icon_cry.gif Finally added more powdered sugar. That made the nice shiny bc turn grainy but the roses held up. I decided to finish making them with the stiffer grainier frosting. The cake turned out very lovely. My family loved it. I still want to know the secret of their frosting. Why their recipe doesn't seem to work. Want you to know that I made their same bc frosting again with about 1/3 of the hot water and still got the same results making the roses another time. Still had to add more pd. sugar, with grainy results.????? Wish I knew what the problem was. Wondered if there is a direct line to their bakery that we could call. icon_confused.gif About your other ? on the red food color. I get the same results with Americolor. I found that CHEFMASTER (super red) makes a great dark red color. Give it a try! thumbs_up.gif *Just a side note I made a cake recipe from the WB, Chocolatechip pouund cake. It did't give the desired results. Crumbliest cake I have ever made! icon_cry.gif I love the pictures in their book. HAS ANYONE MADE SUCCESSFUL RECIPES FROM THEIR BOOK? Please pm me and share some tips!!! Thanks! icon_smile.gif

xstitcher Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 7:42am
post #20 of 34


For the red colour I have read on a post somewhere here on CC (can't remember exactly where) that it is best to start with pink icing and then add the red colouring. Also, you may want to use no taste red as they have also mentioned that if you add a lot of red it starts tasting different (don't know exactly how as I have just started decorating and have not used red yet!

As for the rose: there is a video on Wilton's website you might want to take a look at (it's pretty quick and it may help you):


Parm icon_smile.gificon_smile.gif

heidinamba Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 2:12pm
post #21 of 34


Your experience sounds with the WB buttercream sounds EXACTLY like my experience. I also admired their nice and shiny flowers shown in their book. I tried to make roses with the icing made exactly as suggested and it ended up just as one big lump on the nail. I scraped it all back into the mixing bowl and added more powdered sugar and just like you said, my icing lost it's shine and smoothness and became grainy. And even though it looked a lot stiffer, it still did not hold a petal really well. In fact, I had to add SO much more powdered sugar than the recipe called for that my mixing bowl is still sitting on the counter almost completely full! I have so much icing! I had made the icing to practice my roses but I guess I will have to make something that I can ice. I would love to know the secret to WB buttercream recipe and their roses also. Gosh they sure look nice in their book. I also tried that same chocolate chip pound cake recipe in their book and I didn't care for it. I always make notes in my books after baking and that recipe says "DON'T make again!" scribbled in my handwriting besides it. I've made just a couple of recipes out of that book - both of the icing and 2 of the cakes. I do like the icing recipes, as far as taste because we all know now that they don't pipe well. I made 2 of the cake recipes and the one choc chip one didn't turn out and one other one was just ok. But ya know, I LOVE looking at that book. I get a lot of ideas from it still and I like to use the chocolate relief method. I also have their Christmas cookie book and also their Little Cakes book.

AJsGirl Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 3:58pm
post #22 of 34

I can't make roses with tip 104, for some stupid reason. I can only do them with tip 97.

CoutureCakeCreations Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 4:08pm
post #23 of 34

I have never seen the book you all are speaking of, but do you think that there icing is glossy becuase after decorating the cakes they sprayed it will pearl dust?

cocobean Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 8:24pm
post #24 of 34

CoutureCakeCreation, I've used pearl dust. It's not that kind of a shine. It looks like the kind of shine that IMBC has. Except the recipe for IMBC is more work. I'm not sure how roses work with that recipe. The recipe for IMBC is more complicated. If I could figure out how to get decient roses from the WBH recipe I'd be very happy. Apparently thats what they have used for many years and I love the pictures of their cakes. Still looking for answers! Seriously, does anyone live in NY and know Ardsley, New York's Riviera Bakehouse? Surely we could call and talk to Liv Hansen who the book (WBH) says ownes and opperates the shop. It's her picture in the book. She basically wrote the book.

CoutureCakeCreations Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 8:37pm
post #25 of 34
Originally Posted by cocobean

CoutureCakeCreation, I've used . It's not that kind of a shine. It looks like the kind of shine that IMBC has. Except the recipe for IMBC is more work. I'm not sure how roses work with that recipe. The recipe for IMBC is more complicated. If I could figure out how to get decient roses from the WBH recipe I'd be very happy. Apparently thats what they have used for many years and I love the pictures of their cakes. Still looking for answers! Seriously, does anyone live in NY and know Ardsley, New York's Riviera Bakehouse? Surely we could call and talk to Liv Hansen who the book (WBH) says ownes and opperates the shop. It's her picture in the book. She basically wrote the book.

So does it give you the shiny look you were looking for?

cocobean Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 8:37pm
post #26 of 34

Sorry CoutureCakeCreation, I wrote a lot more in that last entry I don't know why only that first line shows. I just said that I had used Pearl dust and that the shine that we are looking for isn't that kind of a shine. It looks like the shine that you get from using IMBC. Anyway, I just got out my WBH book and looked up some information. I just actually called the author and owner of the bakery in NY. They said she was'nt in today. She would be there tomorrow morning. I believe I'm going to give her a call back tomorrow and ask her directly what we're doing wrong with the recipe. icon_surprised.gif I'm sort or nervous. Wish me luck.

cocobean Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 8:47pm
post #27 of 34

O.K. this is cocobean. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong today in posting replies but, part of my reply is missing each time. Thats why it looks like I'm not making sense. I'll try it one more time. Basically I called the owner of the bakeshop in Ny who wrote the book. She'll be in tomorrow. Maybe I can ask her for some help to her bc recipe and what is happening with our roses from it!! Thats why I said I'm nervous. * Hope this prints the way I've written it! icon_rolleyes.gif

cocobean Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 9:07pm
post #28 of 34

Sorry this is cocobean again. In answer to your question, yes the WB recipe does make the shinny bc that I'm looking for but it doesn't hold up. You can't just add more pd. sugar because adding more pd. sugar ruins the look. (Looks grainy). I'll let people know what I find out if I get to talk to the author of the recipe.

heidinamba Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 9:54pm
post #29 of 34


Wow, that's brave of you to call the bakery in NY! I can't wait to find out what they say. I don't understand why I can't just add more powdered sugar to the recipe and get the same texture but different consistency. I just assumed it would be thicker but still shiny and smooth. I will definitely be looking for your posting tomorrow. But with all of these posts on here about my original question, I still don't know how to make buttercream roses and I think I'm going to take one person's suggestion and do the "Duff roses" except I will use fondant instead on gum paste. (I can substitute fondant, right?). I have a whole bucket of Satin Ice that I really like and I was going to use that. Hopefully the "Duff roses" are as simple as the instructions look. All I need is about 4 lousy roses for a cake this weekend!!!!!!!!!!! Ugh! I'm so stressed about this.

diane Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 10:40pm
post #30 of 34

i would add some shortening...it holds better than butter. you can always use the butter-flavored crisco. icon_wink.gif

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