Ask and ye shall receive. More cake tutorials! And because some of you have lamented that you are challenged in this area, I’m hoping this little ditty might be manageable. A ruffle rose will make the top of your cake look striking, but also requires minimal skills.
First, and I can’t recommend this enough, practice your piping skills on an inverted cake pan. In the video I’ve included with this post, I’m piping on a cake pan to show you how awesome it is. If I’m planning to make cupcakes, I practice on an inverted glass, as it’s about the same size. If I’m making a 6 inch cake, I practice on a 6 inch pan. I’m going to assume you know where I’m going with this. While this piping technique is very forgiving, if you haven’t used a petal tip before, you might not want to try it for the first time on, say, your wedding cake.
Second, as I’ve mentioned before, I always keep leftover frosting in a small container in the freezer. Whenever I have a little buttercream leftover from a project, I throw it in the container. It’s really ugly, but perfect for practicing. So, when I’ve got a little free time on my hands, I bring the frosting to room temperature, re-whip it, and practice.
This cake design is most easily executed on a cake turntable – as your dominant hand does the piping while the other turns the cake. I did the top of this cake in under five minutes – no lie. You will, of course, need to crumb coat and frost your cake before piping the rose. I tried to make the sides of my cake relatively smooth, but I wouldn’t fret over this. Imperfections lend themselves to a homestyle look, which is my favourite sort of design. The cake pictured in this post is six inches, but I’ve used this piping technique on a cake as large as eight inches. I wouldn’t go much larger than this, as I think the effect would be lost.
To get started you’ll need a smooth buttercream (I used chocolate swiss meringue buttercream) and a piping bag fitted with a large petal tip – Ateco #125 or Wilton #125. When piping your rose, the wide part of the tip will be held downward, skimming the top of the cake as you pipe. The piping bag should be held almost parallel to the cake.
Begin by piping a little bud (teeny loop of frosting) at the centre of the cake, and then continue piping ribbons of buttercream round and round until you work your way to the outer edge of the cake. Long segments or short segments, right up against the previously piped petals. Imperfections make it look more glorious. The angle of your piping bag will vary the petals, as will the angle of your piping tip. Tilting or waving the tip adds effect as well.
I hope the video below will make this technique clear for you. Also, you’ll get to hear a lot of rambling, which should give you a sense of what 2.0 deals with EVERY DAY.
Don’t forget to clean your piping bags and tips very, very well. Insufficiently cleaned bags and tips are high risk in terms of food contamination. They are two of the tools bakers and bakeries worry most about, as piping bags are most often used for products that contain dairy. It’s the perfect storm if you allow stuff to fester in there. If I’m making a cake for a client, I always use new, disposable bags for piping, and I’m obsessive about cleaning my piping tips.
Alright. I think you’re ready. Go forth and decorate!