Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Buttercream Roses & Shells, Oh My

You know that old saying "practice makes perfect", I can personally vouch that this is true when it comes to caking.  I've told you before that I'm a fondant gal.  I didn't quite realize how much of a fondant girl until I looked at my third cake and realized I would have to pipe a rose.  NO!!  Say it's not so!!  It's been too long!!  I seriously thought about skipping the cake, but I couldn't do that to you guys.  It's a skill that every caker should have in their toolbelt so here goes, a full tutorial (including bloopers)!

First things first, you're going to have to whip up a batch of stiff consistency buttercream tinted to your color of choice.  Sidenote: I should mention here that I recommend using gel colors for coloring your icing over food coloring drops.  The drops add too much liquid to your icing and tend to change the consistency and you need to use a ridiculous amount to boot.  Wilton, Sugarflair and Americolor all make great gel colors.

Next up, you will need a piping bag fit with a coupler and Wilton tips 104 and 12, a flower nail, a Rose template (optional) and some tape or sticky tack, a flower square (or a small square of parchment paper) and a whole lot of time and patience!

Let me just warn you now, there are going to be many continuity errors in this post.  I had to practice for an entire week before I got my groove back!  You will be seeing blue, light purple and dark purple icing as I kept on making new batches assuming the icing was the reason my roses weren't turning out.  Ha, what a joke, it was totally me!

OK, next we're going to stick our rose template to our flower nail and take our tape or sticky tack and stick your flower square on top.

Pretty easy so far!  Here's a good time to practice spinning your flower nail.  You need to be able to roll the nail between your thumb and index finger to pipe a rose.  You should be twirling with the opposite hand that you pipe with.  Once you have that down pat it's time to pipe the base for our rose.  Fit your piping bag with tip 12 and fill up the entire middle circle of the template and then pull up the piping bag as you squeeze until have something that looks like this:

About an inch tall should do it. Now we need to fit our piping bag with tip 104 (I imagine any rose tip will probably work here).  In order to pipe a rose you have to hold your piping bag so the fat end of the tip is at the bottom.

 All you need to do now is pipe 4 "ribbons" around your base.

For the first ribbon you're trying to make a tight rosebud so angle your rose tip in.  For the next ribbon angle your tip out a little more.  Continue doing this for each ribbon to achieve the open rose effect.  It's important to keep your tip clean when creating these, in the video I was using my hand but I'm generally not this barbaric, a paper towel is a far better option!  Also notice that the piping hand is stationary and the "twirling hand" is doing all the work.

Once the buttercream has crusted you can pick them up and put them on your cake like so, introducing cake number 3!

For the dots on this cake I used the same method as I did here for the dot border but scaled down, using Wilton tip 3.  And of course, a cake doesn't look finished until we add a border. The shell border is one of my favorites.  It's quick, easy and pretty.  For this I used tip 21.

Wow, what an awful looking cake!  I was recipe testing and just slapped on some buttercream!  Anyways, back to the border.  You want to hold your hand steady at the top of the shell and let the buttercream fan out and then quickly pipe a tail, nice and easy!

OK, it's blooper time, so earlier in the post I mentioned that we need stiff buttercream for this rose, well here's why:

I'm still giggling about this one!  Nope, not stiff many places I could go with will never look at buttercream roses the same again!

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