Recipe reprinted with permission from Coco Cake Land: Cute and Pretty Party Cakes to Bake and Decorate by Lyndsay Sung. True to Lyndsay’s warm personality, this book begins with the comforting reassurance that “even novice decorators” will be able to tackle her cakes. And lo and behold! I’ve included her simple American buttercream below, not trusting this tired mama with a Swiss meringue, but in my experience, the latter is a bit sturdier and easier to pipe, and if you want to give it a shot, you can find Lyndsay’s recipe for it over in this gorgeous post (along with a far more detailed tutorial on buttercream roses!) The great thing about Lyndsay’s recipe for American buttercream, though, is that it uses a bit less sugar than your normal recipe, and I find that a touch of rosewater here goes even farther in balancing the sweetness with a delicate floral note.
On the recipe: Lyndsay’s original recipe for vanilla buttercream calls for 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. If omitting the rosewater, up the vanilla extract accordingly. Also, other recipes for rose buttercream, like Molly’s, call for just a few drops of rosewater, so that may be all you need. I found that with my particular brand, even 2 teaspoons resulted in just a subtle touch of rose flavor in my buttercream, so I imagine that it can vary. I would start with 1/2 teaspoon and work your way up as needed.
If desired, you can go up to 5 cups confectioners’ sugar.
On piping: As you can see from my roses, these are thankfully pretty even if not perfect. I found that keeping everything cool worked better for me, which was easier said than done on a very hot August evening in LA. For the blush edges to the rose, I followed Zoe Francois’s tip on her Instagram Stories, here.