The first and arguably most important part of making your buttercream roses is having the right frosting. You want a good, sturdy frosting that will hold the rose's shape but that you can still pipe with ease. I have tendonitis in both hands, so if I can make a couple dozen roses with this frosting recipe before I have to rest my fingers, you should be fine!
2 1/3 cups shortening
2 lbs. powdered sugar
A pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla*
2 teaspoons almond extract
Water as needed
*Note: If you are making pure white roses, leave out the vanilla. The brown color of the vanilla will tint the frosting making it off-white. If you are adding dye to the frosting then vanilla away! It tastes better!
Combine the shortening and powdered sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until thoroughly mixed and fluffy. Add in the salt, vanilla, and almond extract. Pour in *small* amounts of water, if any, until it has reached the desired consistency. You will have to pour in a little more if you left out the vanilla extract. You want the frosting to hold its shape when you make little peaks with a spoon on it but isn't so firm that it is hard to stir.
Time to build the rose!
Cut out a wax paper circle that is the size you want the base of your rose to be. When in doubt, go bigger. Then take a wooden dowel, chop stick, shish kabob stick, or basically anything thin and pointy, and stick it through the center of the wax paper circle. You only want about a half inch of the stick coming out of the wax paper. I only did more than that in this picture so you could see it better.
Also get out a cookie sheet and place a large piece of wax paper on it. You'll see what this is for later!
Squeezing the bag consistently, pipe a tall tube around the stick - starting at the wax paper and ending above the stick. If you made your frosting right it will have no problem standing above the stick*. Make sure that the tip of the frosting tube is pretty, as it will become the center of your rose.
*If your frosting cannot stand or hold its shape then put it back into the electric mixer and add in more powdered sugar until it is sturdy.
After your tube is to your liking start piping on the petals! This is tricky and takes some practice to get right, but you can do it! I don't care how good any cake decorator is or how naturally gifted they are - they had to practice these a few times before they got them right.
You want the petals to be smaller and facing up more in the center of the rose. Then, as you work your way out, you want the petals to gradually face downward more and to get larger. Start building your petals off of the top of the frosting tube and then make your way down. If you are having trouble grasping how to make the petals look, either get a real rose or look up pictures of them to base your frosting rose off of. You'll get it!
When I was learning how to make these I literally sat down for an hour and just made rose, after rose, after rose, until I could make them without messing up. Practice makes perfect, so don't give up - just keep trying!
Once your rose is complete, gently hold the bottom of the wax paper and slide the rose off of the stick. You can either use scissors or your fingers to do this. I'm admittedly lazy so I just use my fingers. Haha!
After you have taken it off of the stick, very carefully place it on the cookie sheet covered with wax paper. After you have made all of the roses you need, place the cookie sheet in the freezer. I usually let it freeze over night, but I'm sure the roses would be frozen after a couple hours as well. Frosting doesn't take long to freeze.
Once the roses are frozen and you are ready to place them on your cake, gently pick them up, peel off the wax paper circle from the bottom of their bases, and place them on the cake. You will want to work quickly because the frosting will start to melt from the warmth of your hands. Don't feel so rushed that you don't take the time to place them properly - just don't lollygag! I use an off-set or something of that sort to help me place them so my hands aren't touching them as long.
There you have it! The perfect, easy to move, buttercream rose. It may take a few tries before you get it, but if I can do it then anyone can! Besides, if you mess up you can just eat it, right??
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