Wedding Cake Recipe: The Perfect White Rose Cake

13 May 2015

Ombre is an enduring bridal fashion in 2015, and what better way to include it than with a homemade dip-dye look wedding cake?

Inside this White Rose Cake, from the newly-released Decorated recipe book by April Carter, is a rose flavoured cake that uses mostly egg white, giving the sponge a pale shade which lends itself well to being coloured.
Photography by Danielle Wood

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April Carter lets us inside the recipe book Decorated: Sublimely Crafted Cakes for Every Occasion (Haride Grant, £20),to share the secrets of this picture perfect DIY wedding cake.

You will need a 2 x 13cm (5 inch) round, deep cake tins and a cake board or stand.


The Cake:
125g unsalted butter
250g caster sugar
1 medium egg and 3 medium egg whites, lightly beaten
225g plain flour
2½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
180ml whole milk
1 teaspoon rose extract

The Rose Buttercream:
375g unsalted butter
600g icing sugar
150ml double cream
2–3 teaspoons rose extract
Pink paste or gel food colouring

To Decorate:
Pink and white crystallised rose petals - FIND THE RECIPE HERE



  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius (Gas Mark 3). Grease the cake tins and line with baking parchment. Using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs to the mixture a little at a time, until they’re well incorporated. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into bowl.
  2. Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until just combined. Add half of the milk and the rose extract, continuing to beat, and then add the remaining flour and milk.
  3. Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared cake tins. Bake in the oven for 45–50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of each cake comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes in their tins, then turn them out on to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
  4. While the cakes are cooling, make the rose buttercream. Using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, beat the butter for 3–4 minutes until pale and creamy. Add the icing sugar and cream and continue to beat for another 2–3 minutes until smooth. Add the rose extract gradually to taste. Level the cakes by cutting off the domed tops and split each layer in half so that you have 4 layers in total. Fix the bottom layer to the cake board or stand with a small amount of buttercream and spread with a generous amount of the buttercream. Add the second layer and repeat, and repeat again with the third layer, finishing with the final cake layer. Cover the cake with a thin layer of buttercream and chill for 30 minutes or until firm.
  5. Split the remaining buttercream into 3 bowls, leaving half of the buttercream white and colouring a quarter deep pink and a quarter pale pink. Spread the white buttercream over the top and halfway down the sides of the cake. With a clean spatula, spread the deep pink buttercream around the bottom quarter of the cake. Spread the pale pink buttercream between the white and deep pink colours, clean your spatula and smooth the cake, removing excess buttercream as you go. Decorate with the crystallised rose petals.


Decorate with Crystallised Rose Petals, which you can learn how to make HERE.


How to fill and cover a cake with buttercream or chocolate ganache

Start with smooth, cool, room-temperature buttercream. If you’re working with a particularly fragile cake, chill the cake layers first, wrapped in cling film, to make them a bit more sturdy. If you’re not putting the cake directly on to a cake plate or stand, using a thin cake board makes it easier to move the filled and covered cake around. Attach the first layer, bottom side down, to the board, plate or stand with a small amount of buttercream.

Steps-by-step guide to applying buttercream or ganache

You will need:
Angled palette knives in 2 sizes
An ice cream scoop
A rubber spatula   
A small bowl   
A cake board (same size as your cake)
Baking parchment or a cake turntable

  1. Brush away any crumbs from the surface of the cake layer. Use an ice cream scoop or large spoon to portion out your buttercream for the first layer. I find that 3 scoops work well for an 18 cm (7 inch) cake.
  2. Pile the buttercream up in the centre of the layer and spread it to the edges using smooth paddling motions with your small offset palette knife.
  3. Gently press the second cake layer on to the buttercream.
  4. Portion out the second layer of buttercream using the same number of scoops.
  5. Spread the buttercream to the edges of the cake as before.
  6. Continue to build up the layers, finishing with the bottom of the second cake facing upwards. If you are making a ‘naked’ cake without buttercream on the sides you can stop here, tidy up the buttercream with a clean palette knife and add a final layer of buttercream, or dusting of cocoa powder or icing (confectioners’) sugar, on top.
  7. Spread a very thin layer of buttercream over the whole cake. This is called a ‘crumb coat’ and helps to seal in the crumbs so that your final coating is beautifully smooth and crumb free.
  8. Scrape any excess buttercream into a separate bowl so that you don’t mix any crumbs in with your clean batch. Once you have scraped off the excess buttercream and wiped the cake board, stand or plate clean, chill the cake for 30 minutes or until firm.
  9. Now that your cake is chilled, with all of the crumbs sealed in, pile a generous amount of buttercream on to the top of the cake and work it down the sides using a small offset palette knife. It can be quite messy at this point.
  10. For a rustic look, finish your cake by using your small offset palette knife to make short circular motions, scraping off any excess buttercream as you go.
  11. For a smooth finish use a large offset palette knife held to the side of the cake at a 45-degree angle. Turn the cake while keeping your hand still and scrape off the excess buttercream as you go – wipe off your palette knife each time you bring it back in contact with the cake.
  12. For the top, work from the sides into centre of the cake, scraping off the excess buttercream and cleaning your palette knife as you go. To make the finish really smooth, dip your palette knife into warm water, dry it off and smooth around the sides and top. Neaten up the plate that your cake is sitting on.


For more sublime cake recipes, purchase April Carter's Decorated.

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