Roses are one of my favorite flowers. In the late spring, one of my favorite things to do is walk around the Rose Garden in downtown Portland. It’s amazing all the variety of colors and shapes in this one, rather large, garden. I also like to see which ones are the oldest, (next to the bush there is a plaque with the name, variety, and year it was planted), and it amazes me that the gardeners can keep a few 100-year-old rose bushes alive. I wish I had that kind of patience with a shrub. I’m lucky if I can remember to water my indoor plants. (In in my school classroom, forget about it. I have fake plants instead.)
That’s why I stick to buttercream roses. They are a lot less maintenance, and, of course, they’re edible, which in my eyes, makes it that much better. To make buttercream roses, you’ll need 3 piping bags, red food coloring, and a 1M tip. And since the flavor is vanilla, use real vanilla extract. It’s the star of the show, so let the real, intense flavor shine through. (I love Neilson-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla. It makes the biggest difference!) If you think you’re frosting won’t be white enough, you can tint it white, but I like to just leave it the way it is. To see a visual tutorial on getting the two-tone coloring, click here.
Basically, to make these, instead of piping the frosting from the outside in, you go in a circle from the inside out. Take your piping tip and start at the center of your cupcake, and as you squeeze out the frosting, go in a circle, (in either direction), until you reach the edge. And that’s it! You’re done. I get requests for these vanilla cupcakes all the time. They are moist, tender, and full of subtle vanilla flavor. I’d eat all twelve if I wasn’t worried about my waistline. You know, it’d be mean not to share with my spouse or friends. After all, it is almost Valentine’s Day. Enjoy! xoxo
Makes 12 vanilla cupcakes
1 ½ t baking powder
1 c cake flour
½ cup flour
1 cup sugar
¼ t salt
½ c (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
½ c milk
2 t pure vanilla extract
Pre-heat oven to 350, and line muffin tin with cupcake liners.
Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, pour dry ingredients into the bowl and mix on low for 2-3 minutes, until well combined. Add the cubed softened butter, and mix on low speed until the butter is well-coated and pieces are small and crumb-like, about 20-30 seconds. Add eggs, one at a time, until combined. (The egg yolk is dissolved.) Slowly add the milk and vanilla—scrape down bowl to get all ingredients combined.
Fill cupcake liners (in tins) about 2/3 full, and bake 17-20 minutes, or until tops are golden brown and toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Take cupcakes out of muffin tin and transfer to a cooling rack.
Cool before frosting.
enough to frost 12 cupcakes
¾ c (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 ½ t pure vanilla extract
red food coloring (preferably Americolor brand)
1M piping tip
3 piping bags
Beat butter with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium. Add sugar, ½ cup at a time, beating for 2 minutes after each addition. Add vanilla and beat until buttercream is smooth.
Transfer the frosting into two bowls, making sure there are equal amounts of frosting in each bowl. Tint one of the frostings deep red. Place white frosting in one piping bag, and the red frosting in another. Using the third piping bag, cut off the end and screw on the coupler and tip. Cut off the end of the filled piping bags and place inside the third bag. Going from the middle of the cupcake to the edge, pipe frosting in a circle.
Store any leftovers in an air-tight container up to 3 days.