Cake Decorating 101: The art of making buttercream roses

Published by adviser, Author: Kelsey Phillips - Rocket Contributor, Date: October 2, 2014

Okay guys, I have a confession. My name is Kelsey Phillips and I write a food column, but I can’t bake. Let me rephrase that: I can’t bake well.

I can cook like your grandma and Bobby Flay if they made a Food Network show, but ask anyone who frequents the kitchen and they will tell you there is absolutely a difference between cooking and baking.

One extra minute in cooking time yields extra crispy chicken – yum. One minute in baking time equals black chocolate chip cookies – ick. Cooking leaves room for another dash of spice, but one dash too many in baking means soufflé on the ceiling. Better put on your raincoats, folks.

Seriously, if I ever tell you I’ll bake something – for a fundraiser, a holiday dinner at your family’s house – run. For your sake and my oven’s.

Confession number two: I have a serious sweet tooth – a sweet-self, rather. Pretty unfortunate because I love to eat dessert but I’m not adept at making it. My anaconda don’t want none unless you got (cinnamon) buns, hun.

Which leads me to confession number three: My birthday is this week and you know where I’ll be at midnight – getting chocolate wasted on cake, while someone holds my hair back from the frosting.

I like frosting like I like coloring pictures but not drawing them. I won’t make you a cake, but I will cover it in frosting and I’ll sure as heck help you eat it. While pre-made cakes are convenient and somewhat customizable – nothing says “celebrate my day of birth” like store-bought and mass-produced. I promise you, homemade cakes are so much better.

So for my birthday/cooking bucket list and your entertainment, I decided to decorate my own birthday cake by teaching myself how to make frosting roses (Why buy her flowers and a cake when you can kill two birds with one stone?).

Step 1: Ignore homework and watch YouTube videos on how to make an icing rose.

Because what else do normal people do if they don’t have a Netflix subscription?

Step 2: Purchase a tub of buttercream frosting from the dude with the awesome gauges at the Giant Eagle bakery.

I don’t have a mixer in my apartment (hello birthday gift idea!) so I couldn’t make buttercream frosting myself. Luckily, you can buy it in bulk tubs separately. Personal tasting spoon not included.

Step 3: Make a pastry nail.

This giant thumb-tack-like tool is what you build your flower on, and allows you to turn while piping. Said cool baker dude wouldn’t give me his pastry nail, so I made one from (I kid you not) a square of cardboard, a bottle cap and a Nerf dart.

Step 4: Fill icing into a zip lock bag. Holding onto the open end of the bag, cut the bottom corner of the bag and place on the appropriate nozzle.

Step 5: Place parchment paper on your pastry nail and begin piping – first in an upwards mound and then adding petals to the sides.

Be sure to turn the pastry nail in your fingers as you go.

Step 6: Place finished rose onto cake or directly into mouth.

Step 7: Impress all your friends and eat lots of free cake.

Happy Birthday, butter lovers.


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