Update Your Buttercream: Discover Blooming Floral Designs & Must-Know Tips

Whether it’s smooth as silk or beautifully textured, buttercream-iced cakes are a popular request from clients and friends. Along with buttercream’s popularity is a resurgence in piped buttercream flowers. Cake designers are thinking beyond the supermarket bakery case and updating their piped flowers by using modern colors and floral varieties.

Piped Buttercream Flowers by Bluprint Instructor Liz ShimImage via Liz Shim

Before you whip out the piping bag and start building your delicious blooms, here are a few tips (plus some amazing inspiration) for piped buttercream flower success!

Piped Buttercream Flowers by Miso Bakes | Erin Gardner | Bluprint Image via Miso Bakes

Buttercream types

Craftsy instructor Erica O’Brien has a very useful chart on her blog outlining the different types of buttercream, their uses, pros and cons. Here’s a brief roundup in terms of how each type works when piping buttercream flowers.

    • Store-bought: Great for practice, but doesn’t firm up as well as other types of buttercreams. Easy to color. Difficult to move flowers once they’ve been piped.
    • American: Very easy to adjust the thickness as you go. Can have an ivory tint if your recipe contains butter, making it a little more challenging to color. Easy to move flowers once they’ve been piped and have crusted over. Since the buttercream crusts, the flowers will have a little crunch to them once set.
    • Swiss Meringue: Very smooth and easy to pipe with. Sets up quickly in the fridge. Easy to move flowers once they’ve been piped. Needs some time to return to the perfect piping consistency if it gets too warm or too cold. Isn’t pure white, so it’s a little more challenging to color than a shortening based buttercream.
    • Italian Meringue: All of the same attributes of Swiss meringue buttercream. It’s a little more difficult to make than SMBC, but it’s also a little more stable in warmer weather.

Smooth Buttercream And Piped Flowers by Erica O'Brien | Erin Gardner | BluprintImage via Erica O’Brien

Tips for updating your buttercream designs

Start with a beautiful base

Give your buttercream flowers a gorgeous backdrop. Start with a perfectly smooth finish — that means a crumb coating under your buttercream or fondant, people — then add texture to really make your blooms pop. Or, use a contrasting color to add interest.

Piped Buttercream Flowers by Liz Shim | Erin Gardner | BluprintImage via Liz Shim

Piped Buttercream Flowers by Erica O'Brien | Erin Gardner | BluprintImage via Erica O’Brien

Think beyond the rose

Successfully piping a buttercream rose is a rite of passage for all cake decorators. And while the rose is still certainly a piping staple, cake designers are adding to the mix interesting piped varieties like billy balls, succulents, anemones and ranunculus.

Piped Buttercream Succulents And Flowers by Erica O'Brien | Erin Gardner |BluprintImage via Erica O’Brien

Piped Buttercream Cactus And Succulents by Liz Shim | Erin Gardner | BluprintImage via Liz Shim

Use a modern color palette

Go bright and bold with strong, saturated colors. Or go soft and monochromatic, creating a subtle ombré effect with gradients of the same color.

Piped Buttercream Flowers by Miso Bakes | Erin Gardner | BluprintImage via Miso Bakes Soft Monochromatic Buttercream Flowers by Liz Shim | Erin Gardner | BluprintImage via Liz Shim

Work in layers

Traditional buttercream piped cakes can sometimes appear a little flat in terms of design. Modern buttercream florals more closely replicate how florists work with real flowers. To create this kind of design you’ll need to pipe your flowers first and allow them to set up before placing them onto your cake in layers.

Start with larger flowers, allow flowers to overlap each other, and pipe on smaller buds and leaves towards the end.

Layered Buttercream Florals by Liz Shim | Erin Gardner | BluprintImage via Liz Shim

Location, location, location!

Think of creative spots to place your buttercream flowers. Dress up a monogram with a few piped blooms, allow your flowers to drape over the sides of your cake, or fill in the edges of a tiered cake with piped florals.

Cake by Erica O'Brien, Image from Eric Brushett | Erin Gardner | Bluprint Image by Eric Brushett via Erica O’Brien

Tiered Cake With Buttercream Flowers by Miso Bakes | Erin Gardner | Bluprint Image via Miso Bakes

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