edible food colouring paste (we used Claret and Party Green)
200g ready-to-roll icing
a little solid vegetable fat, for rolling (see Know-how below)
edible lustre (we used a shimmery pink), optional
edible sparkles (we used bright pink), optional
Start with the roses. Knead a little of the colouring paste into 150g of the icing until pale and even. Break into three balls, then add a little more colouring to two, giving three varying depths of colour. Keep under cling film. Rub a very thin layer of fat over a smooth work surface. Roll out one of the balls of icing thinly, about 1-2mm, then trim into a rectangle about 8 x 20cm. Cut off a 1cm strip of icing widthways, keeping the rest covered.
Carefully roll the icing up and around itself. For a more realistic rose look, start rolling slightly skew-whiff so that the outside edge of the finished rose sticks out further than the middle. With about 2cm to go, start to guide the end of the icing down and under to make a neat rosebud. Pinch to shape, then cut or pinch off the bottom. Set aside for at least 1 hr until firm. Repeat with the rest of the icing.
For the leaves, colour the remaining icing green. Pinch off small pea-size pieces, roll into balls, then flatten a little. Pinch one end to make a leaf shape. Leave to dry.
Once the roses are dry and firm, dust a little lustre onto each rose using a paintbrush or your fingertip. Sprinkle with sparkles, if using. Position the roses onto the cupcakes in clusters of three, following with three leaves. You’ll need 36 leaves and roses for 12 cakes.