It’s time again for another installment in my newly-coined quarterly series, “Seasonal Buttercream Flower Cakes.” Okay, you got me, that’s not really a “thing.” (Should it become a “thing”?!) Anyway, I was so happy with the result of my Fall Florals Buttercream cake, that I decided to do it again – but, winterized! So, today I’m going to share with you how to decorate a unique square cake with buttercream flowers.
Since most cakes, these days, are round, the sharp edges of square cakes look super artsy! They really make a statement. Plus, you can’t beat a little cake comb striped-texture topped with bright buttercream flowers. This dessert really just bursts with vivaciousness. It’s the perfect pick-me-up for a dreary winter day.
So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Square Cake With Buttercream Flowers Video Tutorial
Take a peek at this quick video to gain a visual understanding of the decorating process. Then, the written instructions below will answer any remaining questions you may have.
Materials You’ll Need To Create A Square Cake with Buttercream Flowers
To get started, gather the necessary cake decorating materials, which are in the bolded text below! I’ve included links (the dark red text) with the items I use or recommend, some of which are affiliate links.
First, you’ll need to bake and crumb coat a cake – no surprise there! Here are some of my favorite recipes. However, keep in mind that you’ll have to use square cake pans. If that’s not an option, you can use large, circular cake pans, and then cut the round edges off with a serrated knife.
You’ll also need a solid buttercream recipe. Of course, you can use any flavor or style of buttercream that you’d like, but here is my trusted American buttercream recipe – it never fails!
Beat together two sticks of room temperature butter. Cup by cup, add a total of four cups of sifted powdered sugar to the butter, mixing well in between each addition. Then, add a tablespoon of your favorite flavor extract – I prefer vanilla. Finally, add in a few (up to three) tablespoons of room temperature heavy whipping cream, to thin and smooth out the buttercream (if necessary.)
This recipe makes enough buttercream to layer, crumb coat, and lightly frost one, six-inch circular cake. I always make a second batch to decorate a cake with buttercream flowers.
I’m not going to go into too much detail about leveling, stacking, or crumb coating cakes in this post, but if you click here, you can find plenty of more detailed tutorials on that. (And, on that note, be sure to see my note near the end of this post regarding my upcoming cake courses/classes!)
Then, to decorate the cake and create the flowers, you’ll need:
- Flower nail
- Piping bags, couplers, and the following Wilton (or equivalent) piping tips:
- Small round – 2
- Open small star – 14
- Small petal tip – 101
- Medium petal tip – 104
- Leaf tip – 352
- NOTE 1: See my diagram underneath this list for a helpful visual tip-to-flower comparison, including some additional tip/flower ideas. Please note that roses/rosettes (featured on my winter cake) are a common flower missing from this list. For those, you’ll also use a petal tip #101 or #104.
- NOTE 2: If you’re newer to cake decorating, instead of purchasing each of the tips separately, you can find most in a handy starter kit like this one.
- Off-set spatula, smooth and textured bench/cake scraper, and cake turntable (The most cost-effective purchasing is to buy in a set like this one. Please note, I purchased at a local cake store the comb I used in this wintery cake, so I failed to find it online, and cannot link the exact one.)
- 2″x2″ parchment paper squares (you can cut them from normal parchment paper)
- Food coloring gel
Square Cake with Buttercream Flowers – Tips & Tricks
For an in-depth buttercream flower tutorial, be sure to check out my Beginner’s Guide to Buttercream Flowers, too.
Today, I’ll be sharing more technical tips to build on an already-established cake decorating knowledge-base, so I may skip over some of the more basic techniques, like using a cake scraper, fitting the piping bags with couplers, and setting up a flower nail.
Be There Or Be Square (Cake)
So, once your cake is crumb-coated and you have your materials in order, it’s time to put a nice outer layer of smooth buttercream on the cake. Frosting a square cake isn’t much more difficult than a round one, but there are a few things to keep in mind.
For example, this may be left up to your own personal discretion, but after practicing both ways, I prefer to create my square cakes on the final cake stand. While round cakes necessitate the easy-spinning action of a turntable, the square cakes just don’t, by nature. Plus, considering the ultra-sharp and clean edges you can achieve on the bottom of each side of a square cake, it’s a lot easier to not deal with transferring the final cake over and accidentally ruining the perfect finish. (I learned this the hard way!)
On another note, you’ll want to apply extra buttercream near the edges, to help build up a sharp corner look. In addition to scraping the frosting in a side-to-side manner (like on a circular cake) I found that scraping down-to-up on each side of the cake helped define and smooth out each flat bottom and edge.
Notes on Leveling The Cake Top:
To finish the cake with a level top, I used my smooth bench scraper to pull in the excess buttercream from the outer top edges of the cakes. Use caution not to apply too much pressure, or scrape in more frosting than you need. Otherwise, your edge may start to look more rounded than sharp.
I like to microwave a bowl of water until it’s steaming and keep that and a clean towel next to my work station for this last part. Dip the cake scraper (as long as it’s metal) into the hot water, dry it off quickly, then use it as normal to smooth the top of your cake. This trick works to warm up the frosting just enough to provide an ultra-smooth finish.
Add Some Texture
To achieve the strip of texture on your cake, use a spatula to apply a fairly thick amount of frosting in the spot(s) where you’d like the accent to be. If your frosting isn’t thick enough, you run the risk of scraping your first layer of frosting away by mistake. Make the edges as perfect or not-perfect as you’d like. Though, since in this tutorial, we are covering them with flowers, it really doesn’t matter either way.
Hold your textured bench scraper on the edge of your cake stand for reference, and then slowly begin to scrape into the second layer of buttercream. Pay careful attention not to accidentally lean the cake scraper into your smoothed first layer of buttercream.
When smoothing out a cake, normally we hold the scraper as tightly to the cake as possible. However, I’ve found that, with certain textured scrapers, it helps to hold it at a slightly wider angle than normal. This helps dig the grooves in a little further and make the texture pop! Try yours out, gently at first, then make the necessary adjustments until you’re happy with the result!
Too, keep in mind that, just as it is with straight bench scrapers, you may need to repeat the scraping process multiple times until your second layer is perfectly smooth (textured) and even. This is why it’s important to keep one edge of your bench scraper on your cake stand at all times, so you always have an exact point of reference for repeating the scraping process.
Finish With Some Flowers
Decorating with buttercream flowers is one of my favorite techniques. And, lately, I’ve been obsessed with multi-colored flowers. To take advantage of this method, I simply fill my piping bag as evenly as possible with two (or more) colors of buttercream. I’ve found that using an ultra-skinny offset spatula (or even a butter knife!) works well, especially for the narrower tip-end of the bag. I almost “paint” the buttercream onto the side of the bag, leaving room on the other side for my next color.
Also, pay attention to the placement of your tip on the coupler in regards to the colors in your piping bag! When making rosettes, the thick end of your petal tip is placed near the bottom of the parchment paper, with the narrow end facing up. So, place the tip on the coupler with the larger opening facing the color you’d prefer at the bottom/center of your flowers. Whichever color of buttercream that protrudes from the narrow end will be the color near the “top” of the petals on your flower. You can use this method on a variety of different flower types (and even leaves) to create depth and dimension.
Buttercream Flower Application
Then, once your flowers are frozen enough to handle, work quickly. The buttercream tends to soften rapidly, so I prefer to work in batches, only removing a few flowers from the freezer at a time. This ensures sharp edges remain on all of your flowers.
Further, don’t be afraid to utilize a substantial amount of buttercream “glue,” especially for larger flowers. You can always cover up any excess in the last step.
Finally, finish your cake with some little details. This is where I like to get creative. To start, I use the leaf tip (one of the pointy sides must always be facing the cake) to add large leaves. Position them strategically to cover up any open gaps or extra buttercream “glue” on the sides of the flowers.
Then, get creative with your smaller tips to add further floral components. I love to go through with a small round tip and add/fix center stamen on the little flowers. I also love to use an open star tip to add little “bud” looking blossoms around the flowers. You can even use your smaller open star tip to pipe rosettes directly on the cake! I believe that the more detail you can add – the better!
Now, It’s Your Turn!
Want to replicate my Wintery Square Cake with Buttercream Flowers? Now, you can! Follow the tips above, and reference my guides below to get started on your own culinary masterpiece!
To see more videos/tips on frosting a cake and using a bench scraper to smooth the cake, check out:
- Nutty Orange Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Stripe Tutorial
- Gravity-Defying Chocolate Covered Strawberries Striped Cake Tutorial
For more buttercream flower instructions and inspiration, check out:
And, if you enjoy blog posts like these, but are still wanting more cake-instruction, you’re in the right place! I’m currently working on a comprehensive cake course, covering techniques in a very in-depth manner, ranging from beginner methods to advanced decorating techniques!
This course will include step-by-step, real-time videos to teach you the most important cake decorating techniques! I’ll walk you through methods, tips, and tricks in greater detail, so you can learn everything there is to know about cake decorating, FAQs, troubleshooting, and more.
If this is something you may be interested in, or if you enjoy blog posts like this one, feel free to enter your email below to join my notification list! I send out a quick email every once in a while to let you know I’ve published a new blog post. This is where I’ll also send a notification once my cake courses launch!
Don’t forget to find me on Instagram so we can keep in touch! I love to see what culinary creations you’re working on! 🙂
Take care guys! Until next time…
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