red rose cake


i got accepted into the university of edinburgh! in scotland! yay! i’m so happy to have gotten into one of my top choice schools. my other top choices are tufts and northwestern, which i won’t hear from until april, so it will be a long time until i make a final decision. but i’d really love to go live in scotland for four years.

i wrote my application essay for edinburgh about my love of robert burns’ work, namely his poem “A Red, Red Rose.” i remember it being read at the burns suppers my parents would host when i was young (a burns supper is basically a big dinner party where everyone eats haggis, drinks whiskey, reads robert burns’ poems, and plays music) so it’s associated with some good memories.

aside from its nostalgic value, the poem is just really beautifully written. i hope it’s reflected in the cake.

this cake is dedicated to my grandma rose! she’s the reason my name is lena rose, and i love her very much.


  • 1.5 oz chopped semisweet chocolate
  • 3/4 cup hot coffee
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt


  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream
  • red and green gel food coloring
  • white chocolate melting wafers and silicone rose mold (optional)


for the cake, preheat oven to 300º. grease two six-inch pans and line with parchment paper. mix the chocolate with the hot coffee and set aside (don’t stir). whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and powder, and salt. in a stand mixer, beat eggs until thick and lemon colored. add the oils, buttermilk, and vanilla. stir the chocolate-coffee mixture and add it to the wet ingredients. add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat for twenty seconds. divide the batter between the pans and bake for 30 minutes. let cool for five minutes in the pans, then turn out onto a rack and let cool for at least an hour (or stick it in the freezer for 15 minutes).

for the frosting, beat all ingredients together in a stand mixer until fluffy, about 7 minutes.

to assemble, level one round of cake and place it on a cardboard cake round. spread with frosting and top with the other [leveled] cake round. crumb coat and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes. frost and chill again. place the cake on a cake stand. fit a piping bag with a small round tip and fill with frosting, then use it to pipe a border around the top and bottom edges of the cake. dye some frosting green and put it into a ziplock bag. snip the corner and pipe vines on the top of the cake. fit a piping bag with a wilton no. 65 leaf tip (if you have one) and use it to pipe leaves onto the vines. if you don’t have one, this video shows how to pipe leaves using a ziplock bag. for the roses, if you’re using a silicone mold, melt the wafers in the microwave and dye red with the food coloring. pour into the molds and let set in the fridge. when they’ve set, place them on top of the piped vines and leaves. if you’d prefer to do buttercream roses, dye some frosting red and watch this video on how to pipe roses (you’ll need a wilton no. 104 tip and a rose nail).

3 thoughts on “red rose cake

  1. I wrote a college rec for this student and she gave me this cake as a thank you today. Her blog gets 2,000+ views a month.

    Say what you will about teacher salaries…today I got paid!

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