Kentucky Derby rose cake
The second I saw the brilliant and easy rose cake tutorial over on i am baker, I knew I had to try it out. The technique is genius in conception and simple in execution — my favorite combination! I had the perfect occasion to make a rose-covered cake last night, in anticipation of tomorrow’s Kentucky Derby, so that’s just what I did. Red roses are an iconic symbol of the Derby, and I knew this cake would be perfect to share with friends during the event.
But before I decorated the cake, I thought about how I could add some leaves to really finish it off. Wanting to keep them edible, I decided to use green candy melts as my material.
And to make them as realistic as possible, I used real rose leaves (thoroughly washed and dried) as the molds.
Much like the cake, these leaves are really easy to make. After melting the green chocolate in the microwave, just set a leaf on top, making sure the smooth top of the leaf is face up and the vein-covered back is face down.
Remember — the chocolate needs to be on the BACK of the leaf in order to get a good impression from it, so make sure you put it in the right way. Then just grab the leaf by the rounded end and pull it up gently.
This puts a nice thick coat of chocolate on the back of the leaf. Don’t worry about it being particularly pretty or smooth, because it’s just the back.
Lay the leaf on a piece of parchment paper or a Silpat to cool and harden. You can stick them in the fridge to speed this up if you like.
And now for the really fun part… gently peel the leaf away, revealing the intricate chocolate below!
The leaf may tear as you do this, especially if you got chocolate on the other side, but you can pop off the edges easily with a fingernail or paring knife.
Isn’t this plate full of leaves awesome?
Next up was the cake itself. I mixed a big batch of red frosting and started by giving the cake a thin coat all over.
Anybody who has ever made large quantities of red frosting knows that much food coloring can leave a funny taste in the frosting, so I recommend using Wilton’s “no taste” red food coloring, which helps immensely. Then I equipped a disposable icing bag with a giant 1M star tip and started adding flowers to the side of the cake.
As shown in the original tutorial, the roses are really just giant swirls of frosting.
Start in the middle and swirl around and around until the area is covered. That’s all it takes!
When the sides are covered, move on to the top, adding plenty of giant rose swirls. Be sure to fill in the gaps between the roses with either tiny swirls or gentle swoops to match the nearby roses. You can definitely see why it was important to frost the cake red first — it makes the little gaps harder to notice.
When my roses were done, I tucked my chocolate leaves in around the bottom edges, which really finished it off.
I just love how this cake came out. What a fun and easy technique this was!