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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 Bluprint Instructor 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

Bluprint 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 Bluprint Instructor 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 Bluprint instructor Liz Shim

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

Piped Buttercream Cactus And Succulents by Liz Shim | Erin Gardner | BluprintImage via Bluprint Instructor 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 Bluprint Instructor 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 Bluprint instructor 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 Bluprint Instructor Erica O’Brien

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

Not-So-Basic Buttercream Decorating Ideas

FREE Guide for Creative Buttercream Decorating

Get insider tricks & inspiration to make one-of-a-kind buttercream goodies in this FREE PDF guide, available exclusively on Bluprint.Download the FREE Guide


Ruth Richardson

Beautiful Flowers.

Nellie Brissette

love buttercream flowers great advice and classes love your site


Was there a guide to “download”…or is it this blog posting? I ask b/c when I click on “Get the Free Guide”…it goes back to this blog posting…so I am not sure? Is the link incorrect for the “…free guide”?

Erin Gardner

Oh no! I just tried and it did the same thing. I’ll let the blog administrators know. I don’t actually insert the links myself. I’ll post when it’s up and running. Thanks!

Dorothy Brown

I like what I see.

Dolly Wade

I would love to make flowers out of Buttercream.


Where is the tutorial for these floral buttercream? Would luv a full tutorial focusing on such floral piping techniques!

Erin Gardner

Hi Lucie! This post was just about the trend in general, not as a tutorial. Craftsy does have some buttercream classes that focus on piping flowers. This one, Unbelievable Buttercream Techniques, teaches roses, ranunculus, succulents, camellia, sunflower, hydrangea, and more. You can check it out here at a discount with my affiliate link –


Hi Erin ! Love your blog!!! Thanks so much for sharing all this great tips 🙂 . I need to ask ; what type of buttercream do you recommend to use in a warmer weather ? I live in Texas 🙂 , the cake will be white must of it, with some black buttercream decoration ( not to much ) , but I’m thinking about the mayor cover; that will be all white and it will be for a birthday party in a night club 🙂 so it needs to be very firm . Thanks Erin for your advise

Erin Gardner

Hi! Well, it’s probably good to keep in mind that no matter what kind of buttercream you use, it will eventually suffer some effects from high heat. I would suggest using a shortening-only American buttercream for the exterior of the cake if you’re worried about heat. A great hi-ratio shortening to try is Sweetex. Many people enjoy it’s flavor and durability. Then, I would just be sure to keep it as cold as possible before displaying it. Hope this helps!


I too would like to download the Free Guide but where is it? Cannot locate it. Pls email me yr Free Guide. Thanks


hi.can we flavour the buttercream before making flowers?


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