Saturday, 9 March 2013

Rose Flavoured Victoria Sponge & How To Make Sugarpaste Rosebuds

I made this cake for the Reading Clandestine Cake Club event in February which was nearly 3 weeks ago now and it's almost time for the next event already but better late than never. The theme for February was 'made with love' so to my mind that meant something with a Valentine's theme. After thinking for a little bit I decided that I wanted to do something with roses, as they are typically associated with love. I bought a bottle of rose extract not long ago which I've already used in some rose flavoured meringues and the next idea was to use it in a cake of some description. I also made a few sugarpaste rosebuds to decorate the cake with and these are actually to easier to make than you might think. I tried making some ages ago before I started blogging by following instructions in a magazine which came with a set of rose petal cutters and they were terrible. I think it was because even with pictures I couldn't quite visualise how I was supposed to be making them. Those first terrible roses didn't go to waste though, my boyfriend quite happily ate them, any opportunity to eat some icing and he's there.

Last year I was watching a TV show hosted by Fiona Cairns, the lady who made the royal wedding cake, where she was teaching 2 other people (can't remember who) how to make roses from modelling chocolate. This is when I had that 'a-ha!' moment and realised the mistakes I had made first time around. I've tried to find a link to that episode but it doesn't help that I can't remember what else was in that episode or even when it was broadcast. However there are plenty of you tube videos online which demonstrate the technique. Once you've watched someone else do it, they're quite easy to make. I didn't manage to take detailed step by step photos of making the roses as I was concentrating quite hard on getting them to look right, a task that proved futile as they got a bit squished by the top of my cake tin by the time I got to the venue. But I do have a couple of photos that will hopefully give you some idea of how to make them. 

For the cake I made a rose flavoured sponge filled with vanilla buttercream and covered in white sugarpaste. I was originally going to do a rose flavoured buttercream as well but after tasting the cake mix and getting my boyfriend's opinion as well I decided that it would have been too much rose. Turns out this was the right decision, not everyone who was at the CCC that night was a fan of rose, some thought it was quite subtle and enjoyed it but others found it overpowering, proof that you can't please everyone's tastebuds all the time.


For the cake:
230g caster sugar
230g butter
230g self raising flour
4 eggs
1 tsp rose extract - not rosewater

For the buttercream:
75g butter
200g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
red food colouring - I used Sugar Flair paste in Christmas Red

To decorate:
500g white sugarpaste/ready to roll icing
small amount of red sugarpaste approx 50g

  • Preheat the oven to 180C and grease and line the bases of 2 x 20cm sandwich tins. 
  • In a mixing bowl beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg. Next add the rose extract and give the mix a quick stir before folding in the flour. Divide the mixture evenly between the 2 tins, if you want to be really precise you can weigh each tin to make sure the layers will be the same size. Make a slight dip in the centre of each cake to prevent it from peaking and then bake for around 25 minutes until the sponge bounces back when lightly pressed and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Turn onto a wire rack and leave to cool.
  • To make the buttercream, beat the butter until fluffy and then gradually beat in the icing sugar until you get a smooth icing. Mix in the vanilla extract and add a tiny bit of red food colouring until you get a pretty shade of pink. When the cake is cold fill with about half of the buttercream and then use the rest to cover the cake in a thin layer, this gives the sugarpaste something to stick to. 

  • To cover the cake put it onto a plate or cake board and then roll out the sugarpaste to about 5mm thickness, then carefully drape over the cake, gently smoothing out any air bubbles and then trim around the base to tidy it up. Don't worry if you get a few small cracks, these can be smoothed out by gently rubbing the icing. I found that rolling out the icing on a silicone mat was quite easy and avoided the need to cover the kitchen in icing sugar to prevent sticking. Otherwise a little bit of vegetable oil rubbed onto the worktop and rolling pin also works quite well and doesn't dry out the sugarpaste like icing sugar can.
  • For the roses you will need petal cutters in graduated sizes and it also helps if you have a sugarpaste bone tool as well although it's not essential. Start by rolling a small piece of red sugarpaste into a cone then roll out the rest of the sugarpaste as thin as you can without breaking it and cut out 2 petals of each size to make each rosebud. So to make the 4 rosebuds for this cake you will need 8 petals of each size in total. Take the first smallest petal and rub around the edge with the bone tool or gently with your fingers to thin the edge, next wrap this petal around the tip of the cone so it is almost completely covered. Repeat with the second petal of the same size, wrapping around from the opposite side and pressing gently to join. Then repeat the process with the next size of petal and continue adding petals until you have a rosebud you are happy with. Trim the base of the cone and pinch the bottom of the rosebud before leaving on a plate to dry for a few hours. You can stick the rosebuds to the cake using a drop of water rubbed onto the icing. I hope this makes some kind of sense and that the pictures help, I am by no means an expert in this sort of thing and all I can say is that practice makes perfect! It doesn't take long to make these though, I think it took me about 20 minutes to make 4.


  1. Looks lovely Jen - the roses are great. I think I'd definitely agree with 'less is more' on the rose flavouring - too much and it would be too perfumed for me. Would be perfect for Valentine's or Mother's Day. :)

  2. Looks lovely, I made Turkish delight cupcakes recently but used rose water and that was a really very subtle flavour. This looks great, and the sugar roses are fab, practice definitely makes perfect with these things x

  3. Really pretty Jen and a lovely tutorial on making sugar paste roses:-)

  4. Looks & sounds lovely! I tried making sugarpaste roses and rosebuds for the first time yesterday. They're such an effective decoration, I think, and really simple to make. :)

  5. Your rosebuds look wonderful, Jen - I'm not sure I'd have the patience, but may be I'll give them a go sometime!


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