After lusting over some pretty gorgeous cakes on all the blogs we follow we figured it was time to brush up on our decorating skills and try to master some of our fave cake designs. And if we can do it, you definitely can, so we figured it was only fair to share what we learn (although in a lot less time, and the pictures probably don’t accurately describe the mess we make of the kitchen. Literally every single time. So you’re welcome for the Cliff Notes version of cake decorating 101. Learn from our mistakes).
For today’s intro to cake design, we’re bringing back our favourite dessert trick: the rosette. You may remember seeing this baby here with the sweet pink rose cupcakes we made. This is like the intermediate version (okay, that is a loose term) of that post, because my darlings it’s the exact same technique, but on a larger canvas. And maybe with some gravity-defying luck and toothpicks. We’ll get to that.
First step, make a cake. We recently invested in a mini cake pan because our designs need some height, and we can’t continue to eat full cakes on our own because we have party dresses to fit into/diabetes to avoid (I ate two dozen sugar cookies in like three days. TWO DOZEN. Yes.) so the mini pan was a good way to get height without having to make enough to feed ten people. Generous portions. If you’re feeding like 5-8 (that’s an arbitrary number, but you get the point. Sidebar: I need to stop using parenthesis) a mini pan is your best friend and I suggest you go by one immediately.
So yeah. Make a cake.
After you make that cake, crumb coat it. People who are more talented [patient] than me will tell you crumb coating is easy and necessary. I agree with one of those things. Basically you want to take your icing and glob it all on and spread it around (these are clearly scientific terms) covering your whole cake. It’s going to be messy. It won’t look pretty. Chunks will break off and you’ll sob hysterically questioning every decision you’ve ever made about cakes. It’s okay. This is normal. Persevere. If chunks come off, use icing to “glue” it all back together. And be gentle. I’m going to go ahead and say that once your cake is 100% cool from the oven, put it in the fridge for like 10 minutes. It will firm stuff up. Really, the fridge is your ally in this whole ordeal. Once you finish the crumb coat, pop it back in the fridge for another 10-15 minutes. Take a break. Have a drink.
you’re ready to face the cake again it’s been about ten/fifteen minutes, take the cake out. Attach a Wilton 2D tip to your piping bag/icing gun and load it up. If you want a slightly more graphic demonstration of the rosette technique, head to the link above. But basically, pump a small amount of icing in the “centre” of what will be your rosette. Slowly pump a steady stream of icing as you move your icing in a circular motion around the centre “bud”. When it’s the size you want, twist your icing stream so it falls in the right pattern on your cake. If this sounds confusing don’t stress, it makes sense immediately once you see the rosette shape working out.
Keep making rosettes, moving counter-clockwise around your cake. When you finish one layer, pop it in the fridge for a couple minutes to firm up. If you’re using buttercream this will obviously work the best. If your icing is firm, there’s a better chance it will support the layer above. That’s like gravity 101.
When you get to the top of the cake, continue your rosettes along the rim. If you have any issues with gravity/rosettes not sticking to your cake along the way, use toothpicks to gently prop everything back in place. You’re going to end up with the rosettes gradually getting fewer as you get to the centre. Think of it as one rosette in the middle of the cake, and then three, and then five, etc. Of course you can do whatever feels right, but this worked the best for us.
And that’s that! It looks so sweet when it’s finished, and it actually isn’t that hard – at all! It’s the perfect trick when you want to save some money AND impress all your friends, and it looks adorable for a girls night or bridal shower!
If you try this out, we want to hear about it! Instagram a shot of your cake and tag us so we can see how it went.