How to Pipe a Two-Toned Frosting Rose + Video

Learn more about frosting cakes and cupcakes in my piping tips 101 post.

How to pipe beautifully unique frosting roses the easy way! Recipe and tutorial on

Welcome back to Sally’s Baking Challenge. And thanks for checking in on a weekend! I didn’t want to break from posting the challenge recipes on the 1st of every month. And no April fools jokes today, but I certainly laugh every time I hear my voice on a recording or video. Can you listen/watch yourself talk? It’s definitely a weird torture unlike any other. (Video is below!)

We’re not exactly focusing on a recipe for the challenge this month. Rather, a decorating technique that looks super fancy and beautiful but is secretly SO UNBELIEVABLY EASY. I’m actually shouting that because this is the easiest way to pipe frosting on cupcakes! We’ll be working on two-toned frosting roses using my basic vanilla frosting recipe.

I’ve been dying to chat with you about frosting designs/piping tips for ages and this month, we’ll be covering a lot of that ground.

How to pipe beautifully unique frosting roses the easy way! Recipe and tutorial on

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. They remind me of the roses in my bridesmaids’ bouquets! (1st picture right here) 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 stunning! *Almost* too pretty to eat.

Here are the tools you’ll need:

The piping tip is obviously the most crucial and either listed above work for this design. For the two-toned look, you can choose any colors you like. I swear by using gel colors in frosting as liquid colors could alter the texture. The Americolor brand, linked above, is what I typically reach for. 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, red, whatever… would be equally as gorgeous. I’m going to explain things a little more in a second, but want you to watch this video first so you know exactly what I’m doing/talking about.

This video explains everything!

The tip I show is labeled 1M, but I believe it to be an older model. It must be 10 years old at this point. It’s a closed star, like the 2D piping tip, but these days the 1M is an open star tip. Like I listed above, either tip will give you a rose pattern. 🙂

Also, do you like my trick for hiding the ugly spots? Swear by it!! Piping roses is literally just swirling the frosting on top. It takes zero special talent, I promise. And getting two colors in the piping bag is nothing complicated either. Line the bag with your color, then fill the rest with your white frosting like I showed in the video above. The first rose you pipe may have all colored frosting, but after that one– you should begin to see the white frosting come out. Here’s the first of the batch I piped:

How to pipe beautifully unique frosting roses the easy way! Recipe and tutorial on

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

Then after I got going, here are the rest:

How to pipe beautifully unique frosting roses the easy way! Recipe and tutorial on

Of course none of this would be possible without a dependable vanilla frosting recipe. I include my favorite vanilla frosting recipe with the tutorial instructions below. 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. Feel free to reduce the recipe down if you need less frosting.

vanilla buttercream

For the cake, I used my favorite white layer cake recipe.

How to pipe beautifully unique frosting roses the easy way! Recipe and tutorial on

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

Vanilla cupcakes on

I chose to share something like this for the challenge in April because I want you to get in the kitchen and try something new. 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 HEY it really isn’t that hard at all, my confidence got a lil’ boost and now I can decorate a beautiful rose cake almost as fab as the pros.

I also chose this as the challenge this month because I want you to be the creator. Use your favorite cake/cupcake recipe, any color frosting you like (a pink + blue together maybe?), decorate part of a cake, a whole cake, mini cupcakes, 100 cupcakes (can I come over?), whatever.

How to pipe beautifully unique frosting roses the easy way! Recipe and tutorial on

If you’re not into today’s recipe, here is the alternate April Baking Challenge:

After you made the baking challenge recipe or alternative, share your photos throughout this month using #sallysbakingchallenge on Instagram or email me, tweet me, or upload a photo of your recipe to my Facebook page.

I’m excited to see all of your unique colored roses and decorated frosting masterpieces! Let me know if you have any questions. And if you’re curious, the sprinkles in these pictures are from Sweetapolita. They’re called “Sugar Fairy Twinkle Sprinkle Medley” 🙂


Two-Toned Frosting Roses

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 2.5 cups
  • Category: Frosting
  • 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 ColoringPiping Bags1M Frosting Tip
  3. Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking the BEST cupcakes before you begin!

Keywords: cupcakes, frosting

How to pipe beautifully unique frosting roses the easy way! Recipe and tutorial on


  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!

      1. This is what I was going to ask, because I’m making a carrot cake for Easter with cream cheese frosting. Would it be too weird to pipe some vanilla frosting roses on top of the cream cheese frosted cake?

      2. You could use the cream cheese frosting to pipe these. Put it in your bag , refridge it for a little bit , then make the roses. Do not leave your tip in the piping bag , it draws to much cold and will clog. Refridge , put on tip, then pipe.

    2. Glad this question was asked bc I’m planning to use this technique on my Easter carrot cake.  I think I’ll frost it with cream cheese frosting and then make a small batch of vanilla buttercream for the roses just to be safe!

  2. Hi Sally. I love the technique you used to achieve the two-tone look, I’ve never seen it done that way before (much easier than trying to get the two colours side by side in the piping bag). Time to whip up some cupcakes and give this a go! I’m sure I will find some willing taste testers among my work colleagues. Cheers. 🙂

  3. Ooohhhh pretty!!! I’m going to try this! I know my four year old daughter will go bananas over those flowers! By the way, your baking challenges: SO FUN!!! 

  4. I suck at cake decorating so just don’t do it. You have inspired me to give it another try! Thank you. Your frosting looks and sounds delicious. I loved looking at your fabulous wedding pictures. What a personalized and classy one too! Love your blue shoes and Jude! So, before I get off track, would a bakery frosting using Crisco instead of butter work in the piping bag too? The woman who made my wedding cake…. actually one of the best cakes I have ever eaten, was generous enough to share her recipe with me. Every year for our anniversary I make our wedding cake….. that’s 36 years now.  Thank you again and I really enjoy your blog.

    1. A shortening-based frosting would be great. It’s definitely sturdy enough! Thanks for the compliments on our wedding photos 🙂

  5. I’m so excited to try this; the cupcakes and cake of yours came out so beautifully! Watching that video, I realized what two things it is I’ve always done wrong when trying to frost cupcakes: 1, I always pipe from the outside in, but the inside to out does make more sense now that I see it in action. 2, I always try to put half the coloured frosting in the bag and the other half non-coloured frosting in the bag, but just lining the bag with the coloured frosting works so much better! Thanks for trying to teaching us something new this month, Sally. I think I’m going to try this trick out & make cupcakes for Easter 🙂

    & happy Saturday!

  6. Sally greetings. Your baked are stunning and delicious. I log on daily to view your recipes. When will you be baking us a blue velvet cake so looking forward 2 that. Happy baking

    1. To make blue velvet cake, just add blue instead of red in the red velvet cake. You don’t need a separate recipe. 

  7. I love this! I’m totally inspired to make your white cake and try the two-toned roses on top! My husband’s office will be very very happy. 🙂

  8. Hi Sally, 
    Didn’t know two toned frosting is this simple! Thanks for the video, good to see you do the talking, compared to seeing just your hands and baking stuff as in other videos
    Loooove your beight yellow top! 

  9. Hi Sally! It always cracks me up when I pipe cupcakes with roses or swirls, and people think I slaved away. Actually the total opposite – it’s sooo much faster to pipe than spread with a knife! I’ve never done a two-tone, so I’m excited to try that next. I’ve been using your vanilla buttercream recipe for forever now, and everyone I know raves about it!

    1. YES! so much faster than spreading with a knife. Which actually takes me quite long because I want it to look pretty, you know? Let me know how the two-toned roses turn out!

  10. Awesome video! You make it look so simple I am going to give it a try. Thank you. Love the baking challenge each month.

    Wishes for tasty dishes,

  11. So excited for these!! I’ve been trying different cheesecake recipes for a while now, but I havent been very happy with the results. I think that a Classic Cheesecake would be perfect for next month’s challenge!! 

  12. Hello Sally. Newbie here. I’ve followed you , used some of your recipes and love them.just wanted to let your followers know , you can buy a split bag with a double coupler for this also. I started out by putting each color in plastic wrap , then stuffing them into my large piping bag. Then I bought the split bag and coupler. I know have a three bag coupler I’m learning to drive. Thanks for all your tips and recipes. I do love that you try and then perfect your recipes , you make baking easier and fun.

  13. sally these are so beautiful that i can’t believe they’re THAT SIMPLE to pull off! seriously!!! when we were shopping around for our wedding cake, a bakery was going to charge me $1 extra for each rose & now that i see this i’m so happy i didn’t go with them. i LOVE the 2-toned look & can’t wait to try this out…wish me luck! xx

  14. I am new to making my own buttercream. How do you apply the gel to the noncolored frosting? I have seen some techniques to use a toothpick, and want to know roughly the amount to do. Is it a few toothpick “dips”? Do you ever drop the gel directly into the frosting? Do you hand mix it once gel is added?

    1. Great question. And I’ve done it both ways. If I don’t want too much color, I use a toothpick. I dip the toothpick into the gel bottle and then into the bowl of frosting. But for this pink shade, I wanted a saturated and dark shade– so I just dropped a full drop directly in. Then I use my mixer to mix it in, yes. You could also stir it in.

  15. These cupcakes look so gorgeous!

    I’ve tried your perfect vanilla cupcake recipe twice before and LOVED them each time – going to give piping roses a go as soon as I get my hands on gel colour 🙂

  16. Just a quick note: When you introduce your alternate challenges above you have March instead of April 🙂 Sorry I am a grammar Nazi!!!!!!!!! I can’t wait to pipe my heart out– I love the layer cake with the roses on the side. Where did you get your pretty blue pearl sprinkles?

    1. Thanks! And the sprinkles are from Sweetapolita called Sugar Fairy Twinkle Sprinkle mix. I have a link above the recipe 🙂

  17. This is great timing Sally! I’m bringing the dessert for a friend’s baby shower later this month & was already considering cupcakes. I can’t wait to impress my friends with this neat trick! If I get ambitious I may try making my own fondant decorations too because who doesn’t love duck cupcakes!

  18. Hi Sally! I’m looking forward to trying these roses, but I’m confused about the piping tip. The one in the video looks like the Wilton 2D tip (which is more closed up, if that makes sense), and the 1M is an open star tip (I followed the link). Am I just not seeing it correctly in the video?

    1. Hey Kristin! The piping tip I use in the video is the 1M (maybe an older version?) I actually don’t own the 2d, so it’s definitely 1M 🙂 You can absolutely use the 2D tip to make roses too.

  19. Your cupcakes are dreamy and I am definitely going to give your method a try! But I would also like to share that I have successfully piped two toned roses by placing two bags of different colored icing (with the tips cut off) inside a third bag with the piping tip on it. With this method it is easy to refill the individual piping bags if necessary. On the other hand, I suppose your technique creates more realistic roses as the colors won’t be as uniform and will sort of fade out. I do have a question which you may have answered in the recipe instructions. What is the secret to getting really white icing? Mine always has a buttery color. Is it the clear or imitation vanilla that makes is so white? I’ve heard of adding in purple food coloring and even adding titanium dioxide but I’ve never tried either and not sure about the health effects of titanium dioxide. Thank you Sally. I am learning so much from you and have enjoyed absolutely everything of yours that I’ve cooked and baked!

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally