Monday, July 23, 2012

Icing roses.

This past weekend, we "kids" threw a surprise birthday party for my mother-in-law. I offered to make the cake, and I'm very happy with how it turned out:

If anyone is interested in specifics on the cake (it took me 8 hours, all in), just ask and I'll share the details, but what I wanted to talk about today was how to make icing roses. They aren't exactly easy, but they're not as hard as they look and they definitely class-up any cake.

To make these roses you will need:
  • buttercream or royal icing (of a medium-stiff consistency)
  • a flower nail
  • a #104 tip and a #12 tip
  • a piping bag with a coupler (optional, but highly recommended)
  • some wax paper squares
 I was lucky to benefit from some one-on-one training with my mom, but I also found the following YouTube video helpful:

Also helpful was the Wilton resource page on roses.

Outside of what I learned there, here are a few things I learned on my own:
  1. If you are getting frayed edges on your roses, like this:
    it's because your petal tip is crimped at the thin end. I thought this was normal, but when I brought my tip in to the store to compare, I noticed the difference. Once I bought a new tip, I didn't have the same "frayed" look on my petals. I've also found distortions with a few other tips. It's to be expected since they're punched out of a mould.
  2. The standard Wilton buttercream recipe, with 2 tbsp milk, will give you a medium consistency. For roses and the like, I would recommend using only 1 tbsp milk to achieve a stiff consistency. It also depends on the temperature. The warmer the room, the softer the icing. It's easier to add more milk than it is to add more icing sugar, so err on the side of too dry.
  3. Vines and text require a thin consistency, so I added an extra tablespoon of milk.
  4. You can stuff the candles right into the cake, but it will leave unsightly holes afterward, and the wax will drip onto the cake (it's edible, but so what?). What I did was make stars all over the cake just before presentation and pushed the candles into them. That way the frosting (which has already dried and hardened) won't be disturbed.
  5. You really have to wing-it and squeeze out the icing. When I was timid, the roses didn't turned out. When I just went for it, they looked full and pretty.
That's all I can think of for now! If I think of anything, I'll add it as an edit.

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