Apr 25

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Buttercream Frosting Recipe & An Untold Sugar Flower Secret Revealed

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rose-cupcakes

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:

Instructions:

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!

xo,

Marian

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86 Comments

  1. April 25, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Permalink
    1

    Oh my gosh, cheat away….they look so real I wouldn’t go through the hassle and frustration of making them myself. The luster dust makes them look perfectly heirloom. Gorgeous!

  2. April 26, 2012 at 4:02 am | Permalink
    2

    I couldn’t agree with Susie more. WHY not, use these?? Absolutely exquisite, take-your-breath-away type of beauty. I love your lustre dust job and in the end you’re still the artist … you brought it all together;). Great job Marian!

  3. April 26, 2012 at 4:08 am | Permalink
    3

    Good morning Marian what a beautiful and amazing post. Everything gorgeous and delicious xoxo

  4. April 26, 2012 at 4:59 am | Permalink
    4

    Ohhh beautiful!! Awesome! I love it

    xoxo

  5. April 26, 2012 at 8:10 am | Permalink
    5

    man I have to stop reading your blog, all these great things I want, and I now need to make my way to this store! I have never ever been able to get a nice sugar flower, so I give up LOL.

  6. April 26, 2012 at 8:26 am | Permalink
    6

    So gorgeous! Pinned these cupcakes this morning:)

  7. Tina
    April 26, 2012 at 10:38 am | Permalink
    7

    Let us know if you master roses like Petra. Mine just look okay too but nothing spectacular like Petra’s.

  8. Maria
    April 26, 2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink
    8

    I love your own created roses…. even the real rose in my garden does not always look perfect!
    great job you do always.
    ML

  9. April 26, 2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink
    9

    Doesn’t count as cheating in my book — you bought it with your own money! 🙂 Your creations are always so beautiful…thanks for sharing this one!

  10. April 26, 2012 at 11:37 am | Permalink
    10

    I can’t make a rose yet to save my life so these were great to find out about. They are gorgeous! As for the cheating part…I feel like I’m cheating when I use my KopyKake to design cookies.

  11. April 26, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink
    11

    You shouldn’t feel bad at all. I have been sugarcrafting for years and it is well known that the rose is the hardest and most time consuming of all flowers. Great work!!!

  12. Alicia
    April 26, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Permalink
    12

    Where did you get the beautiful tea set?!?

  13. Marian N
    April 26, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink
    13

    Well you’ve done it again. You have taken my breath away. I also can’t believe your choice of china. I just asked for this very tea service for Mother’s Day.

  14. kathy
    April 26, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Permalink
    14

    Marian- You have been an inspiration and great resource for my baking endeavors. I volunteered to make MahJongg tile cookies for a shower and
    ended up studying several of your tutorials and finding the resource Fancy
    Flowers. The cookies were a huge hit. So, I can relate to your “rose” problem.
    You put it together beautifully. Now I have a couple more resources! THANKS

  15. Jane
    April 26, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Permalink
    15

    I can’t make roses either…my mom signed me up for a Wilton class years ago. The first day of class we made roses…I couldn’t make the center and the petals looks like a “hot mess”. Well, long story short I dropped out of class. Gorgeous post…thanks for the inspiration!

  16. marian
    April 26, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Permalink
    16

    Thanks @ susie and @ Jackie @ This Sweet Wife! I appreciate it!

    @ Rowaida Flayhan, @ Manderley: Thanks!

    @ Sue @ Cakeballs, cookies and more: I think you’ll find it interesting! It’s just around the corner from McCall’s Baker’s Warehouse btw. 😉 Let’s just say it’s a good thing I don’t make it down there too often. Let me know how it goes for you please.

    Thanks, @ Maria!

    I’m sure it will take quite some time, but I will, @ Tina.

    Aw, thanks, @ Maria!

    Ha ha! Made me smile, @ Sandi.

    @ Paula: I know what you mean. At the same time, the Kopykake won’t improve someone’s cookies if they don’t have a good icing, consistency and some piping tips, so I think you (we 😉 can feel okay with what we do. Maybe some day I’ll be able to draw better, it’s just not happening now. xo

    Thanks, @ sandie! xo

    Hi @ Alicia: There’s a link to the company in the blog post (the pink highlighted words which say ‘pretty dishes’, and I bought them at the Cookstown Outlet Mall.

    @ Marian N: Well isn’t that uncanny! Huh! Really neat, I think. I think you’ll enjoy them… they’re so pretty in person. Did you chose the baby blue or mint green?

    Hi @ kathy: I’m so glad I could do something to help! Would love to see your Mahjongg cookies (love that game… kept me from procrastinating from many a paper in University!), if you’d like to share them on my facebook page.

    They definitely take a lot of practice, I agree with you @ Jane! Thanks for leaving me a comment!

  17. Janice
    April 26, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Permalink
    17

    Marian, thank you!
    Thank you for sharing this secret – it is a bit of a relief to know that you/we do not have to do it all! I see your beautiful creations and wonder – how can she do all of this and so perfectly too?
    I may make a trip to Mississauga to check out Petra International or maybe I’ll skip the traffic and just order online 🙂
    The pictures are so beautifully done, love the china and your presentation, so classy!

  18. Tesei
    April 26, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Permalink
    18

    I know the feling, roses are very hard to make and I have the exact same results that you describe. I was going to say your roses are perfect but then I saw Petra International’s and they look simply REAL; but they all say practice makes master, so don’t feel dissapointed, I’m sure Petra’s weren’t perfect teh first several times round 😉

  19. ROSA MARY FEIJOO
    April 26, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Permalink
    19

    I LOVE YOUR WORK, YOUR SITE, YOUR PROPOSAL, YOUR PHOTOS, HOPE ALWAYS COME THE NEWS AND YOUR NO NO EXCHANGE IDEAS, THEN I DO NOT SPEAK ENGLISH not understand IF THE FLOWERS OF THE PICTURES ARE YOURS BUT MY MIND IS PERFECT ALL BEAUTIFUL, AMAZING. FROM CARACAS – VENEZUELA – SOUTH AMERICA, Thanks for having me CONSIDER AND MUCH HAPPINESS ALWAYS FOR YOU …..MARY FEIJOO

  20. Marian N
    April 26, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Permalink
    20

    Mint green for sure! How many pieces do you have?

  21. April 26, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Permalink
    21

    It has taken a long time of practicing and the right gumpaste. Watch this video by Linda McClure on how to make gumpaste. It’s much stronger and holds better.

  22. Isabel
    April 27, 2012 at 5:58 am | Permalink
    22

    Hi Marian!
    Your flowers ARE PERFECT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have never made any of them, so I can’t help you but they llok really fantastic!
    I have now a “friend order”… 100 cookies for a religious event for a boy and I’m fighting with my bubbles and craters on icing… I wanted to ‘create’ some Lego pieces (a very easy-peasy cookie!) but when I wake up in the morning and they are dry… surprise! I think I’ll do some boys in white suites…
    Marian, don’t be afraid, your flowers are wonderful!!!

  23. Pam
    April 27, 2012 at 10:12 am | Permalink
    23

    Thanks for letting us know about the website! They are truely beautiful and they go well with your amazing work! Since they are made from sugar how long would they last? Do you have to store them in a specific way? After going to their website it makes you want to buy them all!

  24. Diana
    April 27, 2012 at 11:42 am | Permalink
    24

    @ marian:

    Hi! Gorgeous cupcakes and blog 🙂 I have a question, how do you tint your buttercream white? with white food coloring gel? Mine always get yellow because of the butter and I want it to be pure white, so how can I do it? THANK YOU!!!!!

  25. Kimberly
    April 27, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Permalink
    25

    Hi. Is this a crusting buttercream? Do you always sift your powdered sugar? Thanks. 🙂

  26. marian
    April 27, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Permalink
    26

    Hi @ Janice: Oh by far NOT perfect! Nice of you to think so though!
    If you do end up driving to Petra, did you know McCall’s Baker’s Warehouse is just a few (industrial) stores down from it? A shopping trip you’ll probably enjoy!

    Thanks @ Tesei! xoxo

    Thank you as well, @ ROSA MARY FEIJOO!

    Only the two, @ Marian N. I think it’s fairly new (?). I have my eye on the little cake tier for sure. Which pieces would you like?

    I will check it out, thanks @ Linda C!

    Aw, thank you @ Isabel! Have you seen the post (in the tutorial section) about craters? Here it is if you’d like to check it out: http://sweetopia.net/2010/02/part-2-how-to-prevent-air-bubbles-in-royal-icing/

    HI @ Pam: I store them in boxes and keep them in a cool, dry area. Gumpaste dries really hard, kind of like porcelain, and can keep for a long time (indefintely). Maybe ask Petra International on their facebook homepage as well; I’m sure they’ll know more than I would.

    Yes, I do, @ Diana. I use white Americolor Gel or if I have none left and don’t have time to order online, Wilton’s white. (It’s pretty liquidy, but still works).

    Hi @ Kimberly: No, this one doesn’t crust. I don’t always sift my powdered sugar. For this recipe, if we’re using our ‘industrial’ icing sugar (powdered sugar) at school, we sift it because there are usually lots of lumps in it. The one I buy for home use (Redpath 1kg bag), is nice and fine, so I don’t bother sifting. Hope that helps!

  27. Isabel
    April 28, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Permalink
    27

    Thank you so much, Marian! I have read it and I’m trying to follow all the steps… I’ll try to take photos of my ‘creations’ and send you some of them.
    Best wishes from Spain!

  28. Jane Major
    April 28, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Permalink
    28

    Oh what a lovely informative site you have. I enjoyed reading every bit of it , I dont blame you either for cheating a little, i must say they look absolutely beautiful the best i have every seen so pretty , very Cath Kidston look which that s what i try to do. I make roses, a bit hit and miss. I made 3 particular ones and they honestly looked real i have obviouysly never used them because i am so proud ha ha. When i looked at them earlier i have them in a cupboard with not a lot of heating in that room and they have gone all gooey, where iis it best to store these once you have made them. I also made appro 75 butterflies in 5 diff. colours . thanks for listening , regards Jane x

    @ Isabel:

  29. Marian N
    April 28, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Permalink
    29

    Well…. Truth be told I would love to have a service for six tea set. I have a Christmas Tea the first Friday of December for several of my friends and was thinking of doing the same the Friday before Mother’s Day. If only you lived in Maryland. Honestly, you would be my guest for sure. M

  30. April 30, 2012 at 7:25 am | Permalink
    30

    Marian, I will start calling you Ms. Humble 🙂
    Your roses look SO AWESOME and everyone thinks so. It is nice to see that you still want to improve your “perfectness” haha..but sorry girl, you are perfect already. But I am the same way, especially with roses. I dont think my roses look perfect (I need to make roses for 80 Cupcakes this June!) either but when people see it, they seem to like it and enjoy their looks.
    But let’s keep trying and trying 🙂

    I LOVE that (especially when you are in a hurry) there are places like Petra International – you KNOW what you get: beautiful roses and you dont have to worry about making them yourself.

    Thanks so much for your blogpost, sweetie.
    It gave me joy indeed! =)

    xoxo,
    niner

  31. April 30, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Permalink
    31

    Love your post Marian…and sending lots of good wishes for you to get those sugar roses just as you want them to be! I’m happy to help in any way! : ) x

  32. marian
    April 30, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Permalink
    32

    Thanks, @ Isabel!

    Hi @ Jane Major: Isn’t that great! You managed to make three beautiful roses… I understand that you didn’t want to use them! 😉 Too bad the heat got them, but hopefully you’ll be making them again! Would love to see a picture of the 75 butterflies if you’d like to share them on facebook, twitter, flickr, or somewhere?

    Aw, @ Marian N: You just gave me a warm fuzzy! Thank you!
    Looking forward to hearing (seeing?) what you get for Mother’s day.

    Hi @ niner bakes: That’s the nice thing… we won’t ever be bored, will we!? There’s always something new to learn! Glad to have you along on the journey too. =) xo

    @ Jacqueline: Oh, help from YOU would be ***amazing***. I really wanted to take a private class with you when you came to Toronto, it’s too bad the schedule didn’t permit! Would love to see a Craftsy rose course too if that was something you’d be thinking of doing again. Thanks for dropping by, Jacqueline!

  33. May 3, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Permalink
    33

    I just found this post a few days after my attempt at some sort of fondant flower (I mean, I won't even dare call it a rose compared to these!) and it makes me feel so good that I'm not the only one "struggling" with it! I understand wanting to create the "perfect" decoration, but your roses look really beautiful and cute, I'd totally have them on my wedding cake! 🙂

  34. May 17, 2012 at 3:32 am | Permalink
    34

    “struggling” with it! I understand wanting to create the “perfect” decoration, but your roses look really beautiful and cute, I’d totally have them on my wedding cak

  35. June 24, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Permalink
    35

    These are beautiful darling; I miss you and LOVED meeting you at BlogHer Food. Wish we lived closer and so happy for you and all you are doing. Your roses look perfect!
    Excited to chat soon! Enjoy your summer.
    xoox

  36. Vanessa
    July 9, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Permalink
    36

    I was just wondering how you get your buttercream looking so white?? Mine never looks that perfect!

    Ps LOVE your blog!

  37. marian
    July 9, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Permalink
    37

    No problem, @ Vanessa: I add white food coloring.

  38. kelly
    July 12, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Permalink
    38

    Thanks for sharing this!!! i dont think it’s cheating at all 🙂 your roses are beautiful too:)I need to make roses for 175 Cupcakes this August! so Goodluck to me!! if i cant do it, then i guess i need to stop by at petra international :)) you save my life!

  39. marian
    July 13, 2012 at 12:31 am | Permalink
    39

    Hi @ kelly: Good luck with whichever route you chose! xoxo

  40. Alicia
    July 22, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Permalink
    40

    How big is this recipe? How many cupcakes can be covered???

  41. marian
    July 22, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Permalink
    41

    Hi @ Alicia: The way I’ve frosted them here, about 20 cupcakes.

  42. Alicia
    July 23, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Permalink
    42

    @ Marian: Thanks 🙂

  43. Alicia
    October 9, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Permalink
    43

    Marian, I’ve wanted to make cupcakes a long time ago but there’s something I need help with. Which frosting to use??? I just want a simple frosting, but I dont know if I should use Buttercream or Cream Cheese frosting! Which should I use? Which one tastes better?

  44. Vanessa
    December 19, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Permalink
    44

    I went to the website which sells the roses and it says there done with ingredients which can be eated but they also say they DO NOT recomend the roses to be eaten, so then what’s the point??

  45. December 21, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink
    45

    @ Alicia: That’s a matter of personal opinion, I think, so trying out both and seeing which you like is a little more effort, but then you’ll know for sure.

    @ Vanessa: Safe to place on food and pretty.

  46. May 4, 2013 at 12:10 am | Permalink
    46

    Marian! Such beautiful work!!!
    The flowers look so real and that’s because the life you gave them when you brushed on their color.
    I’m like you though…I like for all the work to be my own. But when trying to work under pressure and being a perfectionist the two just do not mix.
    Thank you so much for the Icing recipe and tutorial. I’ve tried others but with no luck. I hope mine will come out looking as light and fluffy as your’s.

    Blessings,
    Betsy ♥

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  1. By Wedding Cookie Cakes | Sweetopia on April 30, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    […] chocolate. The flowers were from Petra International. (See my flower post on Petra International, here). […]

  2. […] cupcakes for this post – lemon with vanilla buttercream – although sweet & zesty, were just a little too dense for me.  Am still playing […]

  3. […] Frosting Recipe […]

  4. […] buttercream icing […]

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