Rum Rose Cake

This cake offers an easier way to pipe buttercream roses: Just one oversize star tip creates each bloom. The pastry bag is filled with two shades of frosting, half untinted and half pale pink. Underneath, four layers of sponge cake are brushed with a light-rum syrup and sandwiched with pastry cream.

  • Servings: 12

Photography: Jonathan Lovekin


For the Cake

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more, room temperature, for pans
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted, plus more for pans
  • 9 large eggs, separated, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • Rum Syrup

For Assembling


  1. Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-by-2-inch cake pans; line with parchment rounds. Butter parchment; dust with flour, tapping out excess. Whisk egg yolks and 1 cup sugar in a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a pan of simmering water until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm, 3 to 4 minutes. Add vanilla and salt. Remove from heat. With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk until mixture is pale and thick enough to hold a ribbon on its surface, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.

  2. In a clean mixer bowl, whisk whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, beating until stiff, glossy peaks form. Fold one third of egg-white mixture into yolk mixture. Fold in remaining egg-white mixture. Fold in flour, then melted butter, until just combined. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Turn out cakes onto a wire rack to cool.

  3. With a serrated knife, split each in half horizontally. Place bottom layer on a cake stand or platter. Brush top with some syrup; spread with one third of the pastry cream. Repeat with 2 more cake layers, brushing each with syrup and spreading each with one third of the pastry cream. Top with final cake layer; brush with remaining syrup.

  4. Spread a thin layer of buttercream over cake to form a crumb coat; refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Spread a second layer of buttercream over cake, smoothing with an offset spatula.

  5. Tint half of remaining buttercream pink with food coloring. Fit a pastry bag with an oversize open-star tip, such as Wilton #1M. From tip to cuff, fill half the bag with untinted buttercream; add pink buttercream to the other half. Pipe roses onto cake: Hold bag at a 90-degree angle to the cake, and pipe a tight, continuous spiral, decreasing pressure as you release. Serve immediately, or refrigerate, uncovered, up to 2 days; let cake come to room temperature before serving.


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