How to make a Rose Cake…

When I worked for Ron Ben-Israel Cakes, Pastry and Baking magazine asked us to submit some “How to” cake stories.   I worked with my fantastic co-worker and Ron’s artistic director, Sarah Baldwin in coming up with 6 “how to” cake projects.   I was going through my hard drive the other day and found this great Rose Cake story that I photographed with Ron Ben-Israel for the magazine.  This is one of my favorite style cakes that Ron creates and I thought it would be fun to share it with you to make for Valentines Day! (this is a long tutorial so hang in there!)  To see more of Ron’s amazing work, you can check out his website.


Ron Ben-Israel’s Rose Cake

1. Adhere a vanilla cake layer to a rigid circle with some butter cream, and spread filling evenly on top.
2. Top with a chocolate cake layer, lightly moistening each layer with simple syrup.
3. Repeat stacking alternate cake layers and fillings. Our final cake measures 12” round, 4.5” tall, and is composed of two layers of chocolate cakes, two layers of vanilla cake, blackberry butter cream and blood orange butter cream.
4. Using a serrated knife, carve around the sides to achieve a dome shape.
5. Using a sharp pairing knife, carve out a hollow cone at the top and remove.
6. Apply butter cream all over the dome, using a flexible scraper to smooth it out. Chill the cake to harden.
7. Knead a small amount of Red Satin Ice rolled fondant into White or Ivory fondant to achieve a pale pink.
8. Roll out fondant on a smooth surface, with a small amount of powdered sugar. We use PVC pipes as rolling pins.
9. Once the fondant is between 1/8” to 1/16” thin, transfer onto the cake, using the rolling pin for support.
10. Smooth with hands or a plastic smoother, and trim edges under board. Chill until ready to decorate.
11. Tint Satin Ice gum paste light pink. Roll out thinly and cut out tear shapes for rose petals. Keep adding white gum paste to lighten, and cut out larger and lighter shapes.
12. Thin the edges of each petals using a ball tool; roll back top edges with a knitting needle or a skewer. Partially dry the petals on curved surfaces, such as spoons or plastic fruit-trays. They are ready for assembly while still flexible, but holding their curved shape.
13. Apply the petals to each other in concentric circles using gum glue (gum glue = diluted gum paste with water); starting from the center of the rose, each row gets lighter petals, and increased size and number of petals. Our final flower has 36 petals. Let dry overnight.
14. Apply petals to the cake with a dab of butter cream. Starting from the outer edge we used a row of 26 petals. We than followed by three more overlapping rows, using 20 petals, 15 petals, and 11 petals. A total of 72 petals.
15. Insert the pre-made rose into the top cavity. Touch up the edges of the petals with dry powdered pigments.
16. Attach sugar leaves and enhance with “dew drops” (glucose)
17. Cut and serve slices with a sugar rose petals on each plate. (Plate and fork courtesy of the St. Regis Hotel, NYC.) Our 12” domed cake serves 36.

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