Apr 25


Buttercream Frosting Recipe & An Untold Sugar Flower Secret Revealed

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It’s my second day of attempting roses, and I’m feeling the pressure. I thought I could do it. After all, the instructions are laid out in front of me in a beautiful photographic sequence, I’ve taken a course where we spent some time learning how they’re made and we even learned several different ways of building them. For the roses I make though, somehow, something always looks off. The center of my rose looks wonky, or just doesn’t look like it should, the petals are sometime too thick, too thin, or just don’t look right. I need 50 of them for Saturday, and it’s already Thursday night. Gulp.

I’ve tried with gumpaste, modelling chocolate, marzipan and fondant (not all together), have tried using a 5-petal cutter, individual petal cutters and just small balls of gumpaste flattened out on one side and also have tried using a rosebud base and tried just rolling the pieces without a center. I’ve even tried studying real roses, silk roses, and photos of other beautiful sugar roses, but (to my chagrin), I still haven’t managed to make my sugar roses as pretty as I’d like them to be.

If you’ve experienced something similar, I do have something to share… I have discovered this – there is a way to quickly “fix” this problem.

The problem where you’ve got an order (usually a family or friend “order” for me), due in a few days, you’re not having success with how you’d like your roses to look and/or you just don’t have time to make 50 (or 150), flowers within a certain time frame. Personally, the issue arises with me because I just don’t have enough practice making sugar roses. It may be that others catch on to it quicker than I do (most likely!), but either way, it’s taking me longer to get my roses to a level I’d like to be at, and the practice time needed is usually spent on decorating cookies and blogging about them. Although, even if I was blessed with a natural sugar-rose-making-talent, I’m not sure I’d have enough time to make 150 (or more), of them if it was required of me, unless I had a lot of time to prepare in advance.

Enter the untold sugar flower secret of (perhaps) many, in any case it’s one of mine. My sugar flower secret is… Petra International. The name may not give it away, but it is/was a discovery for me that has saved my katoosh in more than one situation. Petra International is a store in Toronto which specializes in selling beautiful, gumpaste flowers in various shapes, colours and sizes. They’re gorgeous, they’re finished, and they solve my problem of needing lots of sugar roses (which are pretty), in a short amount of time! Petra International has just joined Facebook, if you’d like to follow them to see all they’re new flower releases.

If I get the chance, I make the trip to their store to pick out the flowers I need, but, if time doesn’t permit (and for you, if you live too far away), they do ship, and have all their flower photos online for you to peruse. And if they don’t have let’s say, the roses in the color you need, no problem, just buy the white ones and dust them with luster dust, like I did for these pink ones:

Now I have to share, I do feel like I’m ‘cheating’, when I use these, so I let know whomever I share them with, that I haven’t made them, but if you run a bakery or business which simply can’t produce sugar flowers fast enough, or if you’re on the road to learning how to make prettier roses (like me), and need a few in a pinch, it’s such a perfect solution! I do prefer to make everything myself, however, sometimes life just doesn’t allow enough time (and as mentioned, I’m still working on perfecting my roses), so if you don’t have the time to make or learn how to make them, there are options.

For these polka dot, pastel-lined, rose cupcakes, my inspiration came from a combination of browsing Pinterest and seeing these pretty dishes from Royal Dalton, and these sweet paper baking cups from The TomKat Studio’s shop.

If you’d like to make them, you’ll need a cupcake recipe of your choice (here are a few if you’d like some ideas), and a buttercream icing of your choice as well. I like a lighter look to match the dishes and the soft pastel roses, but you can color your icing to suit your party’s theme. I’m sharing the buttercream frosting recipe I used for these ones with you, below.

Besides the tools you’ll need to make these, below is my video on making an icing swirl, if you’d like to watch my video on frosting a cupake.

{Video} Making a Cupcake Icing Swirl:

Click here for a video on how to frost the cupcake.


How to Make the Cupcakes

Things You’ll Need:


1) Bake your cupcakes. While the cupcakes are cooling make your icing and tint it white if you’d like a brighter, whiter look.

2) Insert your cupcakes into the liners and add your icing swirl.

3) Dip your paintbrush into the luster dusts (sitting on a painters palette, if you like), and dust your gumpaste roses if you’d like a brighter, pinker look. I bought my roses either white or a soft pink color, so wanted to deepen the color to better match the dishes.

4) Place your roses into the icing and you’re done!


Buttercream Frosting Recipe {made with butter}

{Click to print}

Have fun!



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  1. lisadh
    October 31, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    I took a chance on the buttercream recipe because it was simple and it used butter and it is PERFECT! This is the best buttercream to use on cookies! After decorating, I let the cookies sit out over night and that lets the frosting develop enough of a crust to loosely stack in a tray to take to school, work, etc. And the taste is perfect with the cookie recipes I use. I get so many complements on the cookies – not just how they look, but also how they taste (which is, really, the important part).


  2. Mike
    November 20, 2013 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    WOW. I have never made my own frosting before but wanted to make cupcakes for my sons 6th birthday. I made yellow cupcakes with this buttercream and chocolate cupcakes wight the chocolate buttercream on this site also. First off, it is very easy. And the taste. It was perfect without being too sweet. I’m in love with this recipe. Out of the 48 cupcakes I made, 24 of each. All the vanilla was gone and only had a few chocolate left. For a party of 20 guests! Everyone asked for the recipe and have asked me to make it again. Someone wanted lemon so I am going to search your site for a good lemon recipe. I’d like to use real lemons since they are readily available on our tree. Thanks for great recipes.

    • marian
      December 17, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      That’s great Mike, I’m glad to hear it!

  3. Henya O
    December 17, 2013 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    Hi marian,
    Can I use crisco or margarine instead of butter?
    Rice dream instead of milk?
    I need to keep my recipes dairy free.

    • marian
      December 17, 2013 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      Hi Henya O,
      I’m sorry, I haven’t tried substituting with Rice Dream but I imagine it would work! (You can substitute margarine, yes).

  4. Kerriann
    January 30, 2014 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    I’m reviewing all your wonderful recipes and admiring your beautiful pictures! I can’t decide between your birthday party cupcake frosting or your buttercream frosting. I guess I’m going to have to try both! Does the margarine make a difference in taste or texture in the birthday frosting? I was thinking of using butter just because I have it on hand but don’t want to miss out.

  5. March 31, 2014 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Do you keep the cupcake in the paper baking cup and then put it into this heavier card stock cup? Or, do you take the cupcake out of the paper cup and drop it into the cardstock holder?

    I find it hard to believe that you have a hard time with roses. You are such a talented decorator. I bet you are just a perfectionist….that’s ok too.

  6. April 4, 2014 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Marian, you haven’t answered anything since December 2013 so all I can say is I’m still hoping you might answer my question above. Thank you.

    • marian
      April 15, 2014 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      Hi Annabelle,
      Thanks for visiting me here! The answer to your question is in #2 of the instructions in the blog post. I’ve inserted the cupcakes into the pretty liner after they were baked.
      Thanks for your sweet comments! xo

  7. Carmen Morales-de Castro
    April 15, 2014 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Hi Mariam:

    This is my second intent with a question. I make the cookies for my son restaurant here in Tampa, Florida and the people love it, your tutorials are awesome. Where do you get this beautiful liners for the cupcakes? Thanks and congratulations for your webpage is very helpful!!!
    Hope you can answer me soon.

    • marian
      April 15, 2014 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      Hi Carmen,
      Thanks for your lovely comments!
      If you click on Paper Baking Cups in the list titled “Things You’ll Need”, that will take you to where I got them.

  8. Michelle C
    August 12, 2014 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    Lovely! How many cupcakes does the recipe frost?

  9. MiamiBeachMom
    August 18, 2014 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    Hello Marian!
    Could you please tell me what’s the difference between your icing and this one? Is it in consistency?
    1 cup solid white vegetable shortening (white Crisco only)
    1 tsp clear flavoring (vanilla, almond or butter)
    7-8 tsp water (begin with 7 and add additional small amounts of water to achieve desired consistency)
    1 pound (=4 cups) pure cane (powdered) confectioner’s sugar
    1tbs (wilton meringue powder)
    Pinch of salt

    Thanks in advance!

  10. Nicole Brown
    November 7, 2014 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    I am making cupcakes for a wedding. I plan on using this icing for the cupcakes. Once iced, can you leave the cupcakes out? Does it have to be cooled in the fridge?

  11. November 23, 2014 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    When you travel be considerate of others and yourself. Showing up looking like a http://www.doudoudsmarques.com slob will not compliment you, nor can it be acceptable.

  12. Roshani
    February 9, 2015 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    I like very much your rose cup cake and buttercream icing. could you kindly give me correct sugar flower gumpaste and Fondent receipies please.
    I am from Sri Lanka.

  13. C.K.
    May 18, 2015 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    Will this buttercream frosting get hard enough to be able to stack cookies on top of each other without smearing the icing? I have to make 250 sugar cookies for my cousins wedding and I wanted to use buttercream icing in them but they will need to be stacked. I will have to be able to freeze the cookies.

  14. C.K.
    May 18, 2015 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    How many cookies can you ice with one batch of this icing?

  15. Yolanda Garner
    November 3, 2015 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Hi, I want to make your vanilla cupcakes with this frosting for my baby shower. How long in advance can I make them and how should I store them?

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