Many methods have emerged throughout the years for making edible roses for cake decorating. But the easiest most user friendly way I've found, is what I like to call the "Play Dough, method."
I know, I know I said the roses were edible and no one in their right mind would consider a diet that included Play Dough. I just call it that because it's something any woman, man or child, who ever played with Play Dough, is either already proficient at or can learn to master in a few tries.
First step: Purchase a package of white rolled fondant (the play dough). Granted it is a little pricey and you can make your own if you insist (click on Under the Nut Tree tab for the recipe). But believe me when I say, a pre-made package that is wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and bagged, will last for months. It will also produce flowers, leaves, bows, and almost anything else you might need to decorate SEVERAL cakes in the future.
So wash your hands and let's get started.
Begin the process by adding the desired paste food color to a handful of the fondant. Knead the color in until (1.) the color is bright and uniform ... or (2.) you have the color marbled beautifully through it. ... Actually it's nice to have a handful of both color types for roses or any other flower you're making. It'll add variety to the bouquet.
When your dough is colored and ready, don't forget to place each handful in a plastic sandwich bag to keep it from drying out.
... Here's where the fun begins:
Take a nickel-size piece of colored fondant and by rolling, pinching and squishing, form a cone, just as you have done hundreds of times before working with Play Dough. Place the cone on a cake board or plate or other work surface, pressing down slightly to attach it so it will stand up by itself.
Next form the bud:
Take a nickel-size piece of dough roll it into a ball, flatten it out thin between your fingers and then roll it tightly around the cone. The fondant attaches easily with just light pressure.
Three petals will now be needed. Use the same process as you did forming the bud, except flatten the petals to a "not as thin" upside down triangle, being sure to round the top. Attach each petal, equally spaced around the bud.
The last step requires five more petals, made exactly the same way as the previous three petals, equally spaced and attached.
... After the rose dries a little, you can safely pick each one up and with an ordinary pair of scissors cut off the bottom to a nice flat surface (makes it easier to attach to the cake).
Just one more tip: Although the roses will be drier and more firm with time, they'll remain chewy and delicious to the taste. And you can insert a toothpick through the bottom for easy attachment to the edges and sides of a cake.
Just have to share a photo of that finished SIMPLE wedding cake we've talked about for the past several days. It took four full days to bake, level, seal, frost, and decorate, weighed in at about 30 pounds, and is responsible for several sleepless nights, a sticky kitchen floor, and THE VOW ... which happens every time I make a cake. That is to never do it again! ... And then after a few months I WILL do it again because the look on the bride's face always makes it worth it,
As for the "family affair" story I promised I would share. One memorable rose making night starred me and all my kids seated around our giant snack bar. They each had their own handful of "dough" and were producing absolutely incredible roses. ... In fact I used most of them on the cake I was making at the time.
... Used most of them that is, except for the one my oldest son created.
"What's that?" I asked him as I looked at the thing he was molding. "That doesn't look like any flower I've ever seen. It looks more like the face of a really old person."
"Well, he said laughing so hard tears were forming in his eyes "You said to make a rose. And this is Rose from the 'Golden Girls'."
Happy cake making everyone. And may all your memories be every bit as SWEET!
♦ Hope you'll let me share your stories and photos here at my new residence "In a Nutshell." Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.