Things You'll Need
Pastry bag coupler
Reusable or disposable pastry bag
No. 12 pastry tip
Wax paper or parchment paper cut into 2-in. squares
Styrofoam or halved potato
No. 104 pastry tip
An ornately decorated cake with buttercream frosting frills and flowers can be expense. Not only do you pay for the cake ingredients, you also pay for the pastry chef's time and talent. The more ornate the cake, the wider you must open your wallet. Learning to make buttercream roses that adorn a homemade confection provides you with a sense of accomplishment as it saves you money.
Insert the coupler into the pastry bag so the narrow end peeks through the tip of the bag. Screw the No. 12 tip onto the coupler.
Fill the pastry bag about half-full with frosting, scooping it into the bag with a spatula.
Add a small dab of frosting to the top of the pastry nail and affix a wax-paper square to the nail using the frosting as glue. Hold the pastry nail in the hand you do not regularly use. If you do not want to hold the pastry nail as you pipe, insert it into a piece of Styrofoam or a potato placed on its flat end.
Hold the pastry bag at a 90-degree angle above the center of the flower nail so the tip points directly to the nail. Squeeze the bag to release the frosting, keeping the tip hidden in the frosting and creating a teardrop-shaped bud. This will be the center of your rose.
Stop squeezing and pull the bag away from the center bud. The base should be about 1½ times as high as the center opening.
Remove the No. 12 tip and replace it with the No. 104 tip. Hold the bag at a 45-degree angle to the pastry nail and angle the tip so it would read about 4:30 if it were the hand of a clock. (If you're left-handed, it should read 7:30.) The narrow end of the tip should lean inward so it is lined slightly above the center of the bud. As you squeeze the bag, turn the flower nail 360 degrees and squeeze a ribbon of icing around the top, ending at your starting point while moving down the bud. Hold the bag steadily as you allow the turn of the nail to complete the bud. Stop squeezing and pull the tip away.
Create the first petal by placing the tip about halfway down on the bud with the narrow end pointing straight up. Turn the nail by a third as you squeeze the pastry bag in a gentle up-and-down motion. Ensure that the wide end of the tip finishes the base of the rose petal by attaching it to the bud, stop squeezing and pull the bag away. The top of the petal will not attach and will flare out slightly.
Create the second petal by slightly overlapping the wide end of the tip over the first petal and creating the same motion as you did for the first. Repeat the motion again to create the third petal, rotating the nail by a third.
Make the next row of five petals by angling the narrow end of the tip out slightly more than you did for the first row, rotating the nail very slightly, or by one-fifth, as you create each petal. The last petal should overlap the first.
Create another row by piping seven petals. Make the last petal overlap the first petal and hold the narrow end of the tip out farther than you did for the five-petal row.
Remove the wax paper and rose from the nail, taking extra care to keep the rose intact.
Use the pastry bag properly by firmly squeezing it at the middle of the bag and slowly and evenly moving the tip while applying an equal amount of pressure.
It may take a few practice roses to perfect the technique so ensure you have more than enough frosting.
A flower nail is an extra-large head nail used by pastry chefs. They create piped flowers and designs on the wide head as they twirl the nail.