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Let me teach you how to pipe a beautiful two-toned frosting rose. Using my classic vanilla buttercream, stunning frosting roses are the simplest design to pipe on cakes and cupcakes. Follow my video tutorial and success tips below to create your own unique buttercream roses!

cupcakes with pink frosting roses on top on a cake stand

I always used to be scared of creating beautiful decorations with frosting– it’s extremely intimidating. Do you feel the same way? Bored with my usual swirl and knife-swiped frosting looks, I began playing around with different piping tips. Once I started, I realized how easy it was. And, as I started becoming more familiar with piping designs, my confidence shot up. (When you get a little more confident, try piping sunflower cupcakes.) Practice, practice, practice!

Today, we’re focusing on a decorating technique that looks super fancy but is secretly so unbelievably easy– two-toned frosting roses. Using my favorite vanilla buttercream recipe, I’m showing you how to create stunning frosting roses for decorating cakes and cupcakes. I love using two colors of icing for ombre style roses. A frosting rose is the simplest design to pipe and I’m excited for you to try it!

Piping a Frosting Rose is Easier Than You Think

If you haven’t tried it yet, piping roses is easier than you imagine. And adding that second color to create a two-toned appearance really adds something special. It’s a gorgeous design for weddings, bridal showers, and baby showers. These frosting roses remind me of the flowers in my bridesmaids’ bouquets! Speaking of, these buttercream roses would look absolutely stunning on a homemade wedding cake.

Each frosting rose you pipe is completely unique with lighter and darker shades of each color. This makes it really fun and your baked goods have never looked more extraordinary! *Almost* too pretty to eat.

overhead image of a cake with frosting roses on top

3 Tools You Need for Frosting Roses

These are affiliate links to products I personally use and love.

  • Piping Tip: This is the most crucial tool for creating a frosting rose. You can use a 1M frosting tip or 2D frosting tip (closed star)– either tip will give you a rose pattern. And, the 1M frosting tip is one of five tips included in my piping tips 101!
  • Food Coloring: For the two-toned look, choose any colors you like. I swear by using gel colors in frosting because liquid colors could alter the frosting’s consistency. The Americolor brand is what I typically reach for (I used the fuchsia shade in these photos). I like to keep some of the frosting white because the color + white really pops. I went with white + pink for these photos, but a purple, blue, orange, green, etc. would be equally gorgeous.
  • Piping Bag: Use a disposable or reusable piping bag in either 12 or 16 inch size.

Two-Toned Frosting Rose Video Tutorial

As you see in this video, piping roses is literally just swirling frosting on top of cupcakes or cakes. And getting two colors in the piping bag is nothing complicated either. Line the bag with one color frosting, then fill the piping bag with the other color you’re using, as shown in the video below.

The first rose you pipe may be all one color frosting but after that one, you should begin to see both colors come out. Here’s the first of the batch I piped:

overhead image of cupcake with pink frosting rose on top

See a little white starting to come out at the top?

Then after I got going, here are the rest:

cupcakes with pink frosting roses on top on a cake stand

Best Buttercream To Use for Frosting Roses

None of this would be possible without a dependable vanilla frosting recipe. I include my favorite vanilla buttercream recipe below– it’s a lot like my original vanilla buttercream recipe, but we use a higher volume of ingredients so there’s more frosting that you can use to pipe these beautiful roses! You need a strong, sturdy vanilla frosting that will hold its rose shape. This one does the trick and tastes pretty incredible too. It’s enough for a 2 layer cake with some rose detail on top or for 24 cupcakes. You can always reduce the recipe down if you need less frosting.

vanilla buttercream frosting in a glass bowl

For the cake, I used my favorite white cake recipe. For the cupcakes, I used my simply perfect vanilla cupcakes recipe.

2 images of frosting roses on a cake and a slice of cake on a white plate with frosting roses on top

I encourage you to try something new with these! Perhaps something that’s intimidated you in the past? I’m definitely one of those bakers who ran for the hills when it came to decorating cakes and cupcakes. But after discovering that it really isn’t that hard at all, my confidence got a little boost and now I can decorate a beautiful rose cake almost as fabulous as the professionals.

See Your Two-Toned Frosting Roses!

collage of two toned frosting rose images

Many readers tried this recipe as part of a baking challenge! Feel free to email or share your recipe photos with us on social media. 🙂

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cupcakes with pink frosting roses on top on a cake stand

Two-Toned Frosting Roses

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 2.5 cups 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Learn how to pipe a two-toned frosting rose with this recipe and video tutorial. It’s easier than you think!


  • 1 and 1/4 cups (2.5 sticks; 287g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 5 cups (580g) sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (or use clear imitation vanilla extract for stark white frosting)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • gel food coloring (your choice color; I used fuchsia)
  • sprinkles for garnish


  1. In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar, cream, vanilla extract, and salt with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 full minutes. Add 2-3 more Tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar if frosting is too thin, 1 more Tablespoon cream if frosting is too thick, or a pinch more salt if frosting is way too sweet.
  2. Spoon 1/3 of the frosting into a separate bowl. Stir in a couple drops of coloring, depending how dark you want the color. I used 2 drops fuchsia.
  3. Spread the colored frosting around the edges of a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1M tip or Wilton 2D tip. See video above for a visual. Spoon the uncolored vanilla frosting in the center. Twist the open end shut and squeeze the frosting down to the tip.
  4. Squeeze a bit of the frosting out onto a plate until both the colored and the white frosting are coming out together– or just do this on a cupcake. It will be mostly colored frosting!
  5. Place the tip directly on top of the center of the cupcake. Using steady and medium pressure, pipe a tight spiral around the cupcake. Lessen some pressure as you come to the end. Place some sprinkles on top of the end if it turns out messy. It happens, trust me! Each of your roses will be unique, showing beautifully designed “petals.”


  1. Quantity: Yields enough for a 2 layer cake with some rose detail on top or enough for 24 cupcakes. Feel free to reduce the recipe down if you need less frosting.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer, Americolor Gel Food Coloring, Reusable Piping Bags or Disposable Piping Bags, and 1M Frosting Tip
  3. Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking the BEST cupcakes before you begin!

Keywords: frosting rose

overhead image of cupcakes with pink frosting roses on top with sprinkles

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Would the roses work with cream cheese frosting? I want to make your lemon blueberry cake and add blue and white roses with small blueberries in the center of the roses. Thanks!

    1. Unfortunately, cream cheese frosting isn’t stable enough to hold the rose shape over time. You can try, but I never have much luck with such a precise pipe!

  2. I loved this challenge. The buttercream was easy to make, had great flavor and was a dream to pipe.  I liked your sprinkles so I ordered some.  The roses made the cupcakes elegant for sure.

  3. I made these with vanilla and caramel frosting and they are so good. I am thinking of decorating a cake with the roses.

  4. Do you have a recommendation for how to do this with 3 colors? Have you tried the technique where you put the different colored frosting into plastic wrap rolled up and put the 3 rolls into a piping bag?

    1. Hi Bre! I actually don’t usually use that plastic wrap technique, though I’m sure it works wonderfully. If I want to swirl more than 2 colors, I just alternate the colors I’m spooning into the piping bag.

  5. How long can this frosting sit out without refridgeration? I want to make the Rose cupcakes for my daughters class valentine party, but they will have to sit on the counter till the end of the school day. Was planning to use my favorite Martha Stewart buttercream recipe (3 sticks of butter, 2 lbs of p. sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla), but am afraid it won’t be stiff enough to hold the flower shape. Contemplated Swiss meringue buttercream, but feared it won’t be stiff enough either.

    1. This is my favorite buttercream recipe and it holds it’s shape beautifully. They will be fine sitting at room temperature for one day!

  6. Hi There! Do you have a link to the cute sprinkle cake plate? Have searched and cannot find…thanks!

    1. Hi Teri, My sister-in-law actually made it for me in a ceramics class!

  7. Hi Sally!
    These roses look so beautiful! I tried making them just now, using the tip you recommended, but unfortunately they didn’t work out. Any special tips for making them?

    1. Hi Grace, What exactly went wrong with them? My best tip is to make sure you are working with a strong, sturdy frosting that will hold its rose shape. If your frosting is too thin you can add more sugar to it to thicken it up. Be sure to watch the video tutorial above for more help!

  8. Hi Sally,
    The frosting defiantly had a great consistency, but when I piped, the roses wouldn’t form- or rather, they just looked like circles. I made sure I used the right tip, and I also watched your video.

  9. Do you think I could try using a 30 tips instead, since the one you suggested didn’t seem to work for me? 30 has a similar shape.
    Thank you!

  10. Hi,
    I made these cupcakes and the frosting doesn’t seem to be holding a rose shape, I’m not sure if the icing was too warm or too “whipped”, not sure what the problem was… I have used your buttercream before to frost and it has worked perfectly but that was the cream cheese frosting so possibly thicker.

    1. Hi Josie! When frosting gets warm, it won’t hold its piped shape. If you feel this happening, just let the piping bag sit in the fridge for 10 or so minutes to firm back up.

  11. Hello your videos are absolutely outstanding ..God bless you have amazing talent I am wondering would this two-tone technique also work for royal icing I am working on unicorn cookies and the mane has to be a two-toned but I have to use royal icing because they have to be packaged and delivered thank you again for your wonderful tutorials!

    1. Hi Cindi! We’ve never tested this two toned technique with royal icing. It would be more difficult as the royal icing colors could run together in the piping bag, but let us know if you give it a try!

  12. Do you think this could work with Swiss Meringue frosting? I want to make a #1 shaped cupcake cake for my daughter’s first birthday but I am worried American buttercream will be too sweet for her first time trying cake 🙂 Excited to do a practice run this weekend!

  13. I cook a lot but I’m not great at decorating. I used this recipe and tutorial to make pink and white roses on cupcakes for my daughter’s 18th birthday. The frosting was easy to make, not overly sweet and really smooth, the perfect consistency for piping.

    The two-color method came out gorgeous and they turned out beautifully. Thank you for such a great recipe and tutorial Sally!

  14. How long ahead of time can l make this recipe if l keep them refrigerated. How long does buttercream keep?

    1. Hi Litsa, buttercream can be covered tightly and stored for up to 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer. After freezing, thaw in the refrigerator then beat the frosting on medium speed for a few seconds so it’s creamy again. After thawing or refrigerating, beating in a splash of heavy cream or milk will help thin the frosting out again, if needed.