In my attempt to push my baking boundaries and try out new methods in the kitchen, I decided that this week I would attempt to make a buttercream flower wreath on top of a cake. For months, years even, I had seen pictures of “3D flower art” and buttercream wreaths on top of cakes streaming across my instagram feed, and every time I would be jealous of the ability and talent that went into making such a thing.
It was decided. I was going to attempt to be one of these talented people capable of making buttercream wreaths as well.
So I got all my ingredients and prepared to spend my Friday night (yeah I’m cool like that) in my kitchen piping roses to freeze overnight in order to make my wreath cake the next day. I got half way through making my buttercream when I decided that it would be a good time to go into the basement to dig the square parchment pieces and flower nail out of one of my baking boxes in order to pipe the roses.
I found my piping bags, my petal tips, my parchment squares….
…and NO flower nail.
Literally the whole ability to make this cake was based upon the assumption that I owned–and knew where it was–a flower nail. So I ran out to Michaels to buy a new one…only to discover that while their system said they had two the staff couldn’t find either of them.
Dejected, I returned home–too tired to go to greater lengths and too determined to just give up on my cake.
So I grabbed a glass from the cupboard and awkwardly piped half of my roses onto the bottom of the glass. It wasn’t great, but it worked in a pinch.
The next morning I ran to the Michaels in the town over in order to get a flower nail–which you can see me using in my video below–and was relieved to be able to pipe the remaining of my flowers on the nail! While all of the flowers turned out alright and most recipes say to refrigerate the buttercream flowers for about 20 minutes before using, I found the flowers which had hardened overnight to be much easier to handle while making the cake, and next time I would definitely make the flowers at least a few hours in advance–or maybe put them in the freezer if I were in a bind.
All in all, it was a great cake, and one I would definitely make again. Especially since I don’t like to make any recipe the exact same way more than once unless I absolutely have to or have a valid reason to–and with this cake you could change the colors and flavors and textures so much that it could very easily transform into something with a dramatically different feel.
I filmed some of how I piped the roses and put the cake together if you want to see any of the techniques I used:
This cake is definitely making me wish spring were here!
Buttercream Rose Wreath Cake
Chocolate Cake based on the Miette Double Chocolate Cake and Cream Cheese Buttercream based on remnants I found in my kitchen 😛
Double Chocolate Cake Ingredients
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup boiling water
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 olive oil
2 1/4 cups sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease and coat two 6X3″ cake pans with cocoa powder. Set aside.
2. Mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.
3. Put the chocolate in a small bowl and pour the boiling water over the top of it. Wait a minute and then whisk until the chocolate has melted. Set aside and let cool for about 10 minutes.
4. In a measuring cup, combine the buttermilk and the vanilla.
5. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the eggs on high until foamy–about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add in the oil, and whisk for another minute until completely combined.
6. With the mixer on low, add in the chocolate and then the buttermilk, and whisk until combined. Add in the sugar and whisk for about 2 minutes, or until the mixture is a smooth liquid.
7. Stop the mixer and fold in the dry ingredients by hand with a spatula, scraping down the sides as you go. As soon as the batter comes together, stop mixing, even if it looks a bit lumpy–thats okay!
8. Divide the batter between the two prepared pans and bake for 45-50 minutes.
9. Remove the cakes from the oven and let them rest for about 20 minutes in the pans before removing them from the pans and letting them cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Keep the cakes in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic wrap until ready to use.
Cream Cheese Buttercream Ingredients
1 cup butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
6 cups powdered sugar
1) Beat the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is light and completely combined.
2) Beat in the powdered sugar one cup at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition. Add in the vanilla and set aside until ready to use.
Simple Buttercream for Roses
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
4-6 cups powdered sugar
gel food coloring (wilton or americolor)
–> Make your buttercream, adding in additional powdered sugar after the addition of the gel coloring if need be.
–> Put the buttercream in a pastry bag fitted with a petal tip, and pipe roses onto squares of parchment paper on top of a pastry/flower nail.
–> Set the flowers on a cookie sheet and set in the refrigerator for at least a few hours, ideally overnight, before using.