I will never forget the day I first saw this style of cake. I was working in a French pastry shop in the middle of nowhere Louisiana circa 2011, and a woman walked in asking if I could replicate a design she saw on Pinterest for her daughter’s first birthday cake (plus a smash cake/cupcake). I took a peek at the cell phone she dangled across the counter at me and was immediately smitten.
It was BEAUTIFUL! I think my jaw dropped a little and she might have taken it as a no-way-can-I-do-something-like-that type of jaw drop because I saw her hopeful smile falter. Immediately I reassured her that even though this cake is breathtaking and COVERED in (what looks like) complicated piping, it was actually just a simple design technique called a rosette repeated over and over - and I would absolutely do it for her! I wasn't around when she came to pick up the finished cake from the bakery the following week, but I'm told that her reaction was over the top and she was almost in tears because she was so pleased with the cake (that top photo is of the actual cake I made for her, by the way.) #HeroStatus
Now that I've been in this industry for several years, I’ve had plenty of people tell me that I make this piping technique look easy. After watching this short video that someone filmed while I was piping during a photo shoot last year, I can certainly agree - it does look easy.
But that’s because it is easy. (Also I’ve been practicing for a decade, so I hope it's easy by now!) This is actually one of the first techniques I teach in my cupcake decorating classes because a) it is quick and easy to learn and practice, and b) it is so useful in covering the cupcake with a nice layer of frosting that really just makes it look pretty.
It is also a great way to cover a cake in an easy-to-do design. Just be sure to make PLENTY of frosting because you will need it and then some! I've done it before as the bottom layer of a two tier birthday cake I made for myself one year and I distinctly remember running out of frosting toward the end so I had to whip up another batch and try to match the dye color. #PITA So do yourself a favor and make LOTS of frosting.
(Actually I made two birthday cakes for myself that year because one cake just wasn't enough for me I guess.) #mood
I had a cake order this past week and the client requested the cake be covered in white rosette piping with some extra decor on top, so I decided to film a bit of me piping on the side of the cake for you specifically for you to watch while you make your way through this post. You'll see that the hand positioning is a bit different when you're piping rosettes on the side of a cake versus on top of a cake, but the motions are the same. Furthermore, this is absolutely one of those skills that gets better with practice (and if you've ever had an order for 150 cupcakes before, you'll get LOTS of practice!) Here goes:
And you keep piping 'round and 'round until the whole cake is done, to a very nice effect. The best part is that you don't have to smooth out your base layer of frosting (or crumb coat, as chefs call it - we can chat about that in the cake decorating class that I plan to roll out soon!) because no one will see if it is smooth or not because of all the piping on top.
A little something that I like to do after piping all those rosettes is to change the piping tip out to a smaller star tip and fill in all the gaps with stars to give the cake a more completed look. (Piping a bunch of circular designs next to each other will leave some inevitable gaps.) If you zoom in on the pink ombre rosette cake at the top, you'll be able to see the stars I did in each color of the ombre effect.
Fun fact: for the two rosette cakes that I featured in the post that have colors in the frosting, you can tell that I piped them left handed. For this white rosette cake, you can tell that I piped it right handed because the "swoop" of the rosettes go in the opposite direction. I guess after my left wrist injury last year I switched to right handed decorating and never switched back. #ambidextrous
I hope this post helps demystify the rosette technique. Let me know if you've tried this one or have questions about it - I'm always happy to help!
Happy eating, y'all!