Peony Cake

Practice piping and painting with this stunning buttercream design from Queen of Hearts Couture Cakes.

With these great tips on painting with palette knives, making a stunning peony cake has never been simpler!

Practice painting and piping with this design by Valeri and Christina from Queen of Hearts Couture Cakes.

Content continues after advertisements

You will need

For the cake

  • 20cm (8in) diameter x 15cm (6in) tall cake smoothed with a Queen of Hearts Cake Cloth

To decorate

  • tinted buttercream in colours of your choice. We used Spruce Green, Gooseberry, Claret, Autumn Leaf and White


  • palette knife painting set
  • seamless piping bags
  • scissors
  • Wilton nozzles: 97L and 352

For the buttercream

  • 227g (8oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 113g (4oz) vegetable shortening, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla flavouring
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 550-600g (1lb 3oz-1lb 4oz) sifted icing sugar


To make the buttercream

Beat the butter on a medium speed until soft and pale, approximately 1-2 minutes.
Add the vegetable shortening, then beat on a medium speed for about 30 seconds.
Add the water and vanilla, then beat on a medium speed for about 30 seconds.
Add in the icing sugar and do an on-and-off beating. When the ingredients are slightly incorporated altogether, beat on a medium speed for about 30 seconds to 1 minute until everything is combined and you achieve a good consistency.

To decorate

Pipe the flower centres. Pipe two small 'C' shapes facing each other for the centre of the peony. 
Using a narrow tip palette knife, glide the tip over the buttercream to create a nice texture, cleaning the palette knife after every stroke.
Pipe the petals. Repeat the same process as before, piping bigger 'C' shapes as petals over the top. Choose a colour of your choice and repeat the palette knife strokes again.
Add more petals around the edges using varying tinted buttercream.
Repeat the strokes for all the petals.
Add the other flowers. Space out the rest of the flowers using the same techniques and a variety of shades. 
Create the leaves. Using two shades of green for the leaves, pipe squiggly lines where you want them to be. 
Use the same technique as before and spread them using a wider palette knife. 
Space out all the leaves and repeat the strokes to create beautiful textures.
Using the 97L nozzle, hold the piping bag straight down onto the flower nail and squeeze until you build up a mound.
Place the wide end of the piping nozzle on the top centre of the mound, tilt the nozzle inwards, then continuously squeeze the piping bag as you turn anti-clockwise until two ends meet and create a cone-shaped centre.
Place the nozzle in front and pipe arch-shaped petals by continuously squeezing the piping bag as you move the piping nozzle up and around the centre bud.
Pipe more petals, changing the angle of the nozzle as the flower becomes bigger. Start tilted inward to the bud, then straight, then tilted outward to give the impression of a bloomed flower.
Use any tinted buttercream in a plain piping bag and pipe a big mound on the top centre of the cake.
Place the flower. Use scissors to cut through the base of the piped peonies on the flower nail, then lift the flower to position it in a slanted position on the mound.
Pipe the remaining peonies. Pipe two more peonies and position them side by side.
Use Wilton nozzle 352 to pipe leaves by positioning one of the pointy ends of the nozzle on the surface and the other pointing up, then continuously squeeze the piping bag as you slowly pull away. When you reach the length that you like, stop squeezing the piping bag and pull the nozzle abruptly. Add more leaves to finish off the mini bouquet in the centre of the cake.
Last updated one year ago

Related cake decorating

More in Painting with Buttercream

Click here to view our range of subscription offers!

Click here to view our range of subscription offers!