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Chocolate Rose Cupcakes are moist chocolate cupcakes, topped with a beautiful swirl of red frosting and a sweet white chocolate rose. Learn how to make these hand-formed edible roses, and use them on cupcakes, cakes, and so many more desserts!
When it comes to Valentine’s Day desserts, there are a few standards we can always count on. You’re guaranteed to find chocolate goodies, and red velvet cake, and heart-shaped treats as far as the eye can see. What other traditions could possibly be left?
Riiiiiight, the flowers! I’m too practical (some might say heartless) to be a big fan of roses as gifts—I’d rather Jason take that money and buy me something that won’t die in a week. But that doesn’t mean I’m opposed to gifting myself a bunch of these edible rose cupcakes. Sistas are doing it for themselves! And by “it,” I mean “baking chocolate-rose cupcakes and frosting them with rose-vanilla bean buttercream and topping them with edible white chocolate roses.” And that is why I usually just say “it.”
I’ve been thinking about adding rose water to chocolate cake ever since I read about this Chocolate Cranberry Cake on Brave Tart. Stella added a bit of rose water in addition to cranberry juice to a chocolate cake, and it just sounded like the most dreamy combination. The rose flavor in these cupcakes is subtle, and if you’re not looking for it you might not even notice it—but when you do notice it, you’ll appreciate how it rounds and smooths out the chocolate flavor.
Never satisfied with subtlety, I topped the chocolate-rose cupcakes with a rose and vanilla bean-flavored Swiss meringue buttercream in bright swirls of pink and burgundy. Roses and vanilla work so well together, and instead of clashing, their floral flavors blend and balance the dark, bittersweet cupcake.
But let’s talk about the real showpiece of these cupcakes, the edible white chocolate rose on top. They’re made with something called “chocolate plastic,” which is literally just chocolate and corn syrup mixed together. It couldn’t be easier to make! You could also make them with fondant or gumpaste, but I think that the white chocolate plastic has the best flavor of three, so this is one decorative topper that people might actually want to eat. (That doesn’t happen very often in the realm of fondant decorations.)
They’re not too tricky to make, although the first few might be a little “unique” as you get comfortable with the technique and learn what works best for you. Any truly tragic specimens can just be re-rolled, though, so there’s no downside in experimenting and giving them a try! I do recommend making them a day or two ahead of time, to give them time to firm up so they keep their shape on the cupcakes.
More Flower Desserts You’ll Love
- Fondant Flower Cupcakes
- Spring in Bloom Cake
- Strawberry Swirl Bundt Cake
- Giant Rose Cake
- Rosette Cupcakes
Easy Chocolate Flower Cupcakes
Don’t miss our collection of Fun Valentine’s Day Dessert Ideas – see the whole web story here!
Chocolate Rose Cupcakes
For the Chocolate Rose Cupcakes:
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, (7.8 oz)
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, (3 oz), good-quality
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sour cream, full-fat, at room temperature
- 2 TBSP water
- 6 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar, (4.75 oz)
- 2/3 cup brown sugar, (5 oz), lightly packed
- 2 large eggs, large, at room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 TBSP rose water
For the Rose Buttercream:
- 14 oz granulated sugar, (2 cups)
- 9 large egg whites, room temperature
- 1 lb unsalted butter, softened but still cool
- pinch of salt
- 2 tsp vanilla paste , or 1 1/2 TBSP vanilla extract
- 2-3 TBSP rose water, to taste
- pink gel food coloring – soft pink, and/or red and burgundy food coloring
For the White Chocolate Roses: (made 1-2 days in advance)
- 8 oz white chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 1/4 oz light corn syrup, (1/4 cup)
To Make the Chocolate Rose Cupcakes:
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 16-18 cupcake cavities with paper liners. (If you’re not using the large rose liners, you might get up to 18 cupcakes from this recipe.)
- In a bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl or large mixing cup, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and water.
- In the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugars until they’re light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the vanilla extract and rose water.
- With the mixer running on low speed, add a third of the dry ingredients. When it’s mostly mixed in, add half of the liquid ingredients. Continue to alternate adding drys and liquids, ending with the dry ingredients. When the drys are almost all mixed in and only a few streaks of flour remain, stop the mixer and finish mixing by hand with a spatula. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl.
- Scoop the batter into the lined cupcake pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-23 minutes, until the tops of the cupcakes spring back when lightly pressed. Cool completely.
To Make the Rose Buttercream:
- Combine the egg whites and the granulated sugar in the bowl of a large stand mixer, and whisk them together. Choose a small saucepan that lets you fit the base of the stand mixer snugly into the top of the saucepan—this is your makeshift hot water bath. (Alternately, you can use a different bowl or an actual bain marie and then transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl once it’s heated.) Add an inch of water to the bottom of the saucepan, and bring the water to a simmer.
- Place the mixing bowl on top of the saucepan, making sure that the bottom isn’t in contact with the water, and heat the egg white mixture. Whisk frequently so that the egg whites don’t cook. Continue to heat the whites until they are hot to the touch, and when you rub a bit between your fingers, you don’t feel any grittiness from the sugar. Once the whites are hot, transfer the mixing bowl to your mixer and fit it with a whisk attachment.
- Beat the whites on medium-high speed until they are no longer warm to the touch—feel the outside of the bowl, and make sure that it is around room temperature. Depending on your mixer and the temperature of your environment, this may take 10-20 minutes, or more. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the softened but cool butter in small chunks, a tablespoon at a time, making sure to wait in between additions. It may separate or look a little gloopy at this point—fear not. Once all of the butter is added, increase the speed again and whip until it comes together and is light and fluffy. If, after 5 minutes, it hasn’t come together, refrigerate the mixing bowl for 5-7 minutes, to cool the mixture down, and whip it again.
- Add the salt, vanilla paste, and 2 tbsp rose water, and mix until well-blended. Taste the buttercream and add more rose water or vanilla paste if desired. Add any food colorings you’d like—to get the multicolored effect I did, divide the buttercream into two or three batches and color them different shades of pink and burgundy.
- The buttercream can be made in advance and kept at room temperature if you’re going to use it the same day, or refrigerated. If it’s been chilled, let it sit at room temperature until it softens, then re-whip it to get the fluffy texture back before you use it.
- To assemble the cupcakes, fit a large pastry bag with an open star tip. Fill it with the buttercream—if you’re using different shades of frosting, spread equal amounts of the different colors along the sides of the bag, so that they all squeeze out at the same time. Pipe a large swirl of frosting on top of each cupcake, and top with a white chocolate rose. Store the cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature, and enjoy within 3-4 days.
To Make the White Chocolate Roses: (1-2 days in advance)
- Place the white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave the chocolate until melted, stirring after every 30 seconds to avoid overheating the chocolate. Remove the melted chocolate from the microwave, and stir until smooth. Add the corn syrup and stir until the mixture is thoroughly combined. It will get thicker.
- Spoon the chocolate onto a large sheet of plastic wrap, and wrap it securely. Allow the chocolate to cool and solidify at room temperature, for at least 6 hours or overnight.
- Dust your hands and work surface with powdered sugar, and knead the hardened chocolate until smooth and pliable. If it’s very hard, microwave it in short 5-second bursts until it becomes soft enough to work with, but don’t overheat it, or it will be too soft to roll and shape.
- Work with half of the batch of chocolate at a time, and keep the other half well-wrapped to prevent drying. Dust a rolling pin with powdered sugar and roll the chocolate out into a very thin layer, less than 1/8” thick. Use a small (1 or 1 1/2”) round cutter to cut circles from the chocolate. For one full-sized rose, you will need nine circles, and for rosebuds, you will need 4-5. The size of the circle cutter determines the size of your finished rose. A 1.5” cutter will yield a full-sized rose that is approximately 3” wide.
- Begin by forming the center of your rose: take one of the cut circles and roll it into a cylinder. Leave a small hole at the top of the cylinder. Take another circle, and use your fingers to flatten one end of it until it is paper-thin. This will be the top of the petal, and it helps give the rose a more delicate look. Wrap your petal around the cylinder, making the top of the petal level with the top of the cylinder, pressing it at the bottom to adhere the chocolate.
- Thin out the edge of another circle to add a second petal to your blossoming rose. The trick to getting a lifelike rose is to slip the second petal underneath the edge of the first one. Add a third petal whose edge starts just under the second one to complete the first layer of petals. If you want to make a rosebud, your flower is now complete. To make a full rose, continue adding pedals, thinning the top edges as before, and sliding the edge of each new petal under the previous one as with the first layer. Curl the outer petals back slightly to make your rose bloom. Pinch off any extra chocolate at the base of the flower, and re-roll it with the scraps to create more roses.
- Allow the roses to sit at room temperature and dry for 24 hours. Once set, they can be stored in an airtight container indefinitely.
Our recipes are developed using weight measurements, and we highly recommend using a kitchen scale for baking whenever possible. However, if you prefer to use cups, volume measurements are provided as well. PLEASE NOTE: the adage “8 oz = 1 cup” is NOT true when speaking about weight, so don’t be concerned if the measurements don’t fit this formula.Click here to learn more about baking measurements and conversion.
THE BEST VALENTINE’S DAY CUPCAKES
27 cute and delicious Valentine’s Day cupcake ideas — click here to get all the recipes!
Chocolate plastic! Now I’ve heard everything. What will you school me on next?
Also, thank YOU for such a lovely site and all the work you put into it. You are so rad-tastic. (And excuse me while I cancel your flower delivery–ooops, next time I will know!)
I hesitated to call it chocolate plastic, because it sounds so wrong (but tastes so right.) You are the best! In lieu of flowers I will accept chocolate, gift cards, or funny lip-syncing youtube videos. <3
Thanks God I’m finally able to go into your blog! It the page wouldn’t load for me for days aahhhhhh :–(
So glad I didn’t miss these. They look beyond beautiful. You’re so talented, girl! How do you always get to make food this pretty? I’m in awe!
Have a wonderful weekend <3
Oh no!! I wonder what happened? Do you think it was on my end, or were you have trouble with other sites? So glad it’s finally working for you again–I’ve missed you! 🙂
Beautiful! I wish I was chomping into one right now. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Thanks Jill–happy Valentine’s Day to you too!
You seriously make the most delicious looking cupcakes! You are so talented! I have one heck of a time making a buttercream rose, but I think these look a little easier.
Thanks Miranda! And I do think these might be easier than BC roses–probably not as fast, but simpler to master for sure. Let me know if you give them a try!
These are beyond beautiful!! I love the taste f modeling chocolate (that is the name I know..). I love that you used rose water, I watched a video the way the day how to make it 😉 because I don’t think we can get it here… I agree with all the comments above! Thanks for all your hard work but even more for he kind of person you are!! xoxo
Sorry for the spelling mistakes..blame it on the spell checker on my phone!!
I’ve heard it called modeling chocolate, but when I was taught it was “chocolate plastic” and that’s a hard habit to break. But your version definitely sounds more appetizing! It’s a shame rose water isn’t available to you (I’m obsessed!) but hopefully it’s not too hard to make, so you can enjoy some rose-flavored desserts!
These are insanely beautiful!
Thanks so much, Jen!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You are a wizard. I’m kind of disappointed that you haven’t come clean to me about it yet.
Sorry, Sarah, but we’re not allowed to reveal our secrets to Muggles. (Or are Harry Potter references totally over? I can’t keep track of what the kids are into these days.) Thanks friend! xo
You must be the most pinable blogger I visit!! Another gorgeous dessert. And now I have to make white chocolate plastic 🙂
Oh my gosh, you know that the phrase “most pinnable blogger” had my heart doing a little pitter-patter. That’s music to a blogger’s ears! Thanks so much, Liz. And YES, give the white chocolate plastic a try–I think you’ll be addicted! You can use it like fondant and also cover cakes with it, although it’s a little less forgiving.
Those roses are gorgeous! I’ve tried working with modeling chocolate before, and everything I made looked like an amoeba. You’re such a pro!
Haha, thanks Natasha! Maybe the trick is to only make science-themed cakes, so amoebas are totally appropriate?? 🙂
Ok…so, these are insanely gorgeous. Happy belated Valentine’s Day to you!
Thanks Maggie! Every day should be Valentine’s Day in our hearts, right? Or something like that? (Or is that just a lie the greeting card companies told me?)
they are gorgeous. you’re so artistic!
Thank you, Dina!
So so pretty. And you know? I’d be totally happy eating just the chocolate plastic roses. Go figure. I like eating plastic. 😉
Haha, you big weirdo! Where does plastic rank on your list of favorite foods–above or below “old person tastes”? 🙂
Wow these are too pretty to eat!
Thanks so much, Mallory!
What a talented pair of hands you have! Amazing looking cupcake!
Oh, thank you Mariana! That might be the nicest thing someone’s ever said about my hands!
Pinned 🙂 I love those cupcakes!! And I love the idea of the chocolate roses!! I never was a big fan of fondants so thanks a lot for sharing this recipe!
Thanks, Margo! I think you’ll LOVE the chocolate plastic–it’s not as easy to work with as fondant (if you want to cover cakes) but there is no comparison with the taste!
Dear Elizabeth, I hope you can help me… I was trying to do those fantastic chocolate roses but I have a problem with the corn syrup…I live in Switzerland and I can’t find it anywhere…tried to do my own syrup but didn’t work out too good…Do you have any idea how I could substitute the corn syrup? Thanks a million!!!
Hi Margo, Do you have access to glucose syrup? That should be a good substitute for corn syrup. You can also try using golden syrup. I haven’t tried golden syrup myself but my guess is that it should work–it might add a stronger flavor and a more golden color to the chocolate plastic, though!
Oh Thanks a lot!! Yes I can buy here the golden syrup so will try with that 🙂 Will let you know how it goes!!! Thank you!!!
These are beautiful! I can’t wait to try this! What did you use to make the circles? Thank you for the post!
Thanks, Michele! I used a circular cookie cutter that is part of a set. I believe it was either the smallest or second-smallest one of these cutters:
Hope this helps!
just gorgeous and thank u for sharing. Please share the technique of applying the buttercream..did u begin on the inside or outside and is this design a double layer?
Thanks Pam! It is a double layer–I start at the outside of the cupcake and make one spiral into the center, then do a second layer, swirling up to the top. Hope that makes sense!
Can you “paint” the “chocolate plastic ” like you can with fondant? The cupcakes look fantastic and I’m hoping to make some really good looking roses for my grandmother’s typewriter cake for her 82nd birthday a week from Monday.
Hi Heather, the answer is yes, but it’s not quite the same as fondant! I’m including a link below that’s a really comprehensive overview of painting chocolate plastic. Let me know how they turn out if you give them a try! And I’d love to see pictures too. 🙂
I tried to make the chocolate roses. I used Bakers white chocolate, melted it, added some red gel food coloring, mixed in the corn syrup, wrapped it up and let it sit. 8 hours later I grab it to roll it out, but it is super oily! Any idea why? I live in the south and my kitchen is in the mid 70s but I feel like the chocolate plastic shouldn’t be melty at that temperature.
I kneaded the plastic, wrapped it back in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge
Any words of wisdom?
Can I use sugar syrup or cane sugar syrup instead of corn syrup??
Hi there! I am new to modeling chocolate (chocolate plastic). I am going to be making a wedding cake and figured these would be much more beautiful and easier then piping buttercream, especially since she wants them to cascade… Can I add gel color to make them different shades of violet?? Thanks
I tried to make the chocolate roses but when I went to roll the small circles my chocolate crumbled…any thoughts?? Yours are beautiful by the way!
These cupcakes looks so beautiful <3 Gonna give it a try soon
Hey Marie, I am so glad to hear it! I would love to hear how it goes, thank you for the feedback!
I was wondering how well, the chocolate plastic holds up. Living in the south I’m concerned they may melt. Any words of wisdom?
Thank you for this recipe. The cupcakes was awesome. I used this mould for making the cupcakes.
Really liked how it turned out.
I’m so glad to hear that!