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I know what you're thinking - why not just make buttercream roses? Well, back in high school when I first started decorating cakes, I did not own the tools nor have the money to buy the tools to make buttercream roses so I was looking for an alternative. Since I was (and still am) a sugar addict, I had a package of Starbursts handy and started experimenting with them. I eventually got the things I needed to pipe buttercream roses but I continued making these too because they were fun.
So the benefits of using these instead of buttercream roses is that you need less equipment, you can make multiple sizes without changing out a piping tip, they're less messy than making and coloring a batch of icing, they're more intuitive to make for a beginner cake decorator, they're easy enough for kids to get involved in the decorating process with you, and you can eat the leftover Starbursts when you're done.
The only downsides are that you're limited on color selection and they're really not great to eat. Especially if you want to keep all your teeth. Actually, I'd advise not eating them at all. After microwaving these and exposing them to air, they get rock hard.
I'm celebrating with cupcakes today because Eat Something Delicious is now five years old! Ok, so I celebrated last weekend because I knew it would take me a week to get the blog post up but the point is - cake.
I took the lazy way out too. Instead of making my own cupcakes, I bought some frozen cupcakes to decorate with my roses. There's a local-ish company called Marie Antoinette's Gluten Free Bake Shoppe that sells their products in a lot of grocery stores around here. I think most of their products contain dairy but they have some dairy free products too so I bought their assorted vegan cupcakes so I wouldn't have to make my own! They're actually really pretty, right? Especially for something I pulled out of the freezer. Yummy too!
Despite the shortcut, I almost thought this recipe wasn't going to happen. I let the bag of Starburst go stale before I could make these so I bought a replacement bag. A few days later, I realized the replacement bag had a big slit in it and all the new candy was stale. I also had already thrown away the receipt and determined that there was no way I was going to go out just to get another bag. Stale would have to do.
Usually when I make these, it only takes two or three seconds in the microwave to soften each Starburst. Since these were stale, it took more like 15 seconds and they were still difficult to work with! Since my hands got so tired from trying to work the stale candy, I didn't get as many made as I would have liked but it still worked out!
Learn how to make roses out of Starburst candies. Use these Starburst roses as a replacement for buttercream roses on cakes and cupcakes.
- Starburst candies in your preferred color(s) - quantity depends on how many roses you'd like. One candy makes one small rose or two large rose petals.
- Start by making sure your hands are very clean and dried on a lint-free towel since these sticky candies will pick up any little speck on your hands.
- Select the color Starburst you'd like your rose to be then unwrap one candy and place it on a microwave safe dish. Microwave for 2-3 seconds or until soft enough to knead. Use caution as these will get hot very quickly and the inside may be much hotter than the outside.
- Once the Starburst is at the right temperature, knead until smooth then pinch off a piece that will become the center of your rose. Using a small pinch will yield a tiny flower but use about half a Starburst to make the large flower.
- Use your fingers to form the candy piece into a wide flower petal shape then roll it up as shown in the photo.
- Grab another piece the same size as before and form into another flower petal shape. Attach this around the outside of rolled piece. It helps to place it slightly higher than the rolled piece since the petals will flare out. Additionally, if you shape the petal somewhat longer, you can form a stem to hold onto while you make the rose.
- Keep repeating this process until you have attached enough petals to form a rose. Flare out the petals to your liking and if you want, you can dip it in sugar to add sparkle. Use kitchen shears to cut off the "stem" (excess Starburst) from the bottom of the rose to make a flat base. Set the flower upright on wax paper or parchment paper until you've made all the roses you'd like for your cake.
- Once all your roses are completed, decorate your cake as desired. Keep in mind that although these flowers are a fun decoration to make, they are probably too firm to eat and could pose a choking hazard if served to a child (please see notes below).
- time is per rose
- Not intended for consumption - These roses can become very firm and difficult to chew after microwaving then being exposed to the air. Remove before serving the cake to a child as they could be a choking hazard.