Parades, Roses, and Ginny

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Parades, Roses, and Ginny

By Paula Deen

Y’all, I’ve always had a thing for parades. One of my sweetest memories is tuggin’ on my daddy’s pant leg as a little girl, just as excited as all get out, and pointing as he and I watched the floats rolling by in our small hometown parades. I used to dream about being one of the princesses atop those floats, slowly waving to the other little children, wearing a long flowing dress and just grinnin’.

That’s why when I found out that I was elected to be the Grand Marshal of the Tournament of Roses in Pasadena, well, I just about cried- out of happiness of course! You see, believe it or not, this has got to be one of the highlights of my career, and I mean that sincerely. I am so truly blessed to have been honored in such a marvelous way.

Having the opportunity to go behind-the-scenes of the parade was so special. I loved every minute of seeing just how the floats were assembled, and y’all- they call it the Tournament of Roses for a reason. There were so many roses and rose petals; it nearly took my breath away!

But y’all, I guess the real reason why it means so much to me is because of my grandbaby, Jack; he calls me Ginny and every time I see him, I just hug him to pieces.  I imagine that years from now, when he’s an adult with children of his own, he’ll be looking through old family photos, and he’ll pull out one of me waving atop that float, decorated to the hilt with roses of every color. He’ll remember tuggin’ on his daddy’s pant leg on that day, just as I did, and think to himself, “I am so proud of my Ginny.” That thought alone means the world to me.

In order to properly celebrate this honor, I created this extra-special recipe, my Sugared Rose Parade Layer Cake.

Paula’s Sugared Rose Parade Layer Cake
Click here to print recipe

For the Sugared Rose Petals:
50-75 petals (depending on size) from organically grown roses
2 egg whites, broken up with a fork
2 cups sugar

For the White Cake Layers:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 cups sifted self-rising flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Red Velvet Cake Layers:
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cup cake flour
1/2 lb (2 sticks) butter
2 ounces red food coloring
2 tablespoons cocoa
2 cups sugar
2   eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon vinegar

For the Frosting:
2 pounds cream cheese, softened
1 pound butter, softened
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6-8 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

A spectacular cake worthy of a Rose Parade Grand Marshal
Prepare Sugared Rose Petals one day in advance:

Line a baking sheet with wax paper and set aside. Pour sugar into a medium mixing bowl. Using a craft paint brush, gently brush all sides of each rose petal with the egg whites and dip each one into the sugar completely coating the petal. Place on lined baking sheet. Repeat until all rose petals are covered. Allow to dry at room temperature over night.

To prepare cakes:
Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Prepare four 10” cake pans with non stick cooking spray and set aside.

For the White Cake Layers:
Using an electric mixer, cream butter until fluffy. Add sugar and continue to cream well for 6 to 8 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour and milk alternately to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Add vanilla and continue to beat until just mixed. Divide batter equally among two of the prepared pans. Level batter in each pan by holding pan 3 or 4 inches above counter, then dropping it flat onto counter. Do this several times to release air bubbles and assure you of a more level cake. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until done. Cool in pans 5 to 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto cooling racks. Cool completely.

For the Red Velvet Cake Layers:
In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat egg and sugar. In a separate small mixing bowl, stir together cocoa and food coloring. Add cocoa mixture to the butter mixture and mix well. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour and salt. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Add vanilla and mix just to combine. In a small bowl, combine soda and vinegar and add to mixture. Pour into the remaining two prepared pans. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until tests done. Cool completely.

For the Frosting:
In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and beat on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.

To assemble cake:
Remove cakes from pan and place one layer of red velvet cake on a cake stand and top with a 1/2” layer of frosting. Top with one layer of white cake and top with 1/4” layer of frosting. Continue until all cake layers have been stacked and frosted in between, ending with a white layer. At this point, secure your cake in place with 4 wooden skewers pushed from the top to the bottom of the cake.

Apply a thin layer of frosting covering the entire cake and place in the refrigerator to harden slightly for 30 minutes. Remove from refrigerator and frost the entire cake again with a thick layer of frosting. Decorate cake with sugared rose petals and serve.

Servings - 10
PreHeat - 350°
Prep Time - 1 hr
Inactive Prep Time - 24 hrs
Cooking Time - 1 hour
Total Time - 26 hrs
Difficulty - Semi Easy

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Reader Comments:


Has anyone tried this receipe? I came across this one and I am soo excited to make it! Im sure it will come out Fabulous just like all her other dishes.

By Destiny on December 09, 2011


Keep those recipes coming.Paul dean I love ur desserts and also ur main dishes to many to keep track :*)

By gloria.rodriguez on August 11, 2011


really like the receipes.

By betty on February 27, 2011

Hello Paula,  This is the greatest news!!! My husband and I are celebrating our 45th anniversary and will be at the Tournament of Roses Parade too!  What a coincidence.  My daughter said it is fate… We will get to see you up close and personal. We have so much in common. I love to cook, eat and entertain as well. I feel we have so very much in common. My name is Rose - after my grandmother. And I have two granddaughters named after me—Savannah Rose and Erica Rose. And now we are going to the Tournament of Roses Parade and will get to see you as Grand Marshal. Congrats to you…This is the icing on the cake!!! Looking forward and counting the days to see you. Blow my husband and me a kiss. Love, Rose Mary

By Rose Mary Lindhorst on November 28, 2010

Paula, Way to go !!! How said southern charm doesn’t pay !!! God Bless and keep on cooking !!;o

By Kathy Goodin on November 07, 2010

Can Rose Petals Be Eaten?

Petals from roses that have been sprayed with pesticides or fertilized with chemical plant and rose food are toxic and should not be eaten.

If you grow your own roses and are certain that they are chemical free, or if you purchase organic rose petals from a whole foods or health foods store.

By Jessica Patrick on November 05, 2010

Go, Granny, Go!  Baby Boomers Unlimited!!!

By Susanna Martin on November 02, 2010

Can Rose petals be eaten?  It’s a beautiful cake but just wondering.

Thank you for anyone who can help me.

By Donna on November 02, 2010

Dear Paula,

Congratulations to such a lovely lady who deserves to be in this spotlight.  I vouch to say that everyone in America is enjoying your recipes and will continue to do so for many years to come. 

This rose petal cake is lovely, just like YOU.

From one who adores you,

Susan Davidson

By Susan Davidson on November 02, 2010

Greetings from Kentucky. Congratulations Mrs. Paula! I can’t think of any one else who deserves it more.  Steve and I will be watching for sure. Meeting you in May at the benefit was a great honor for us. I have to say,
Mrs. Paula, You will be the most beautiful Rose
of all in the parade.  What a way to start a New Year. Love to you and all the family.
God Bless you all.

Karon Cunningham (Pink Jersey Lady)

By Karon Cunningham (Pink Jersey Lady) on November 01, 2010

Congrats Paula!  You deserve the honor as you have given so many pure joy & continue to amaze us with your culinary contributions & sweet southern charm.  I’m saving this beautiful cake recipe for when my daughter gets engaged, its sure to be a festive hit as we celebrate-tks once again for sharing!

By Paula Feese on November 01, 2010

I was so glad you were picked as GM of the rose parade.  I love your show and have your cookbooks.  And we all love you.  You have always been a princess in our eyes!

By Marilyn M. Tant on October 31, 2010

Hey Paula I am so proud of you and everybody in Albany is too you were just all over the news - you deserve it all you have worked so hard - and you know I’ll always love you ! When i think of all those chickens you have fried - ok tell Jamie and Booby Lou i said Hey - you know how we do it - ok I hope to see you soon continue to “Shine ” - i love you lotts - Big Starr

By Billy Tatum on October 29, 2010

Congratulations!!! Reading your article here, I can hear the true joy that you must be feeling : ) I look forward to watching the parade on TV and seeing you there!

By Mona on October 28, 2010

Paula, I commented on this previously but I need to say it again…Your a princess to me!
When I read your letter above..I just cried..especially about the part about your grandbaby. Your soooo kind and thoughtful, and caring! When you had that dream.. (all those years ago) about being in a Parade ..waving to everybody….I want you to know..YOUR A PRINCESS TO ME….(NOT THE FAKE WANNABE… KIND…WITH THE PHONY SMILE) YOUR A “REAL” PRINCESS WITH THE HEART OF GOLD, SINCERITY..AND THE LOVE OF ALL! THANK YOU FOR BEING YOU, AND BEING SO WONDERFUL TO US ALL..AND SHARING THAT WONDERFUL CAKE WITH US! GOD BLESS YOU PAULA (PRINCESS)... AND KEEP YOU SAFE IN HIS LOVING CARE! DOREAS..IN VEGAS

By Doreas on October 28, 2010

Ms. Deen.1st-My nickname (with your permission) for you is “MIZ-BUDDA” LOL 2nd I’ve played “heck"tryin to communicate to you for your rose-parade honor. CONGRATS…CONGRATS…CRONGRATS to a gal that somehow i can’nt seem to find mine. And, Mr. Michael Grouver, “boy-howdy” what a dynamic person you are. I doubt if I can get to the parade. I am a disabled senior/vet; with two bummed up knees. So walking is quite out of the picture. Ya-all give me the pages of life on how to be. Take care..God Speed.. and the blessings of all the seasons be forever with you. Phil Kako

By PHIL KAKO on October 28, 2010

I was so excited to see that you are the grand marshall I called my husband at work and said we are going to the Rose Parade, He said what, you never want to go. I told him Paula Dean is going to be the grand marshall I will be the one screaming like a mimi! Love Anna

By Anna Marie Vazquez on October 28, 2010

I can’t wait to try thanks Paula!!! <3

By sandi on October 27, 2010

Congrats Paula! California Loves Paula Deen! show! They could not have picked a better person for the Parade! Your Happy Sun-shine face lights up the world! Small little town of Apple Valley, Ca. loves you! God bless you!

By Mrs. M on October 27, 2010

Yea-Haw!  Congratulations Paula!  How awesome is that?!  We lived in South Pasadena for a couple of years and I always dreamed my little girls could be Rose Queens.  My hubby promised that after we moved away that one year we would bring our children to see this amazing event—well, thanks to you THIS IS THE YEAR!

By Tara on October 27, 2010

They couldn’t have picked a sweeter “Rose” than you to be grand marshall .I was born and raised in southern California so I grew up watching the parade. Now live in the real south and I just love your show and everything you do. You inspire us all and we thank you for it.

By Sharon Ballentine on October 27, 2010

Congrats to you!! I love the Rose Parade! I told my hubby 3 years ago that this is one of those things on my “bucket” list to do before I croak. It’s my favorite parade except for the Sweet Potato Queens Million Queens March in the spring each year. I get to wear a tiara to that one. Beautiful photos (you and the cake!)

By Jan on October 27, 2010

Hi paula, My father was the umpire at the 1981 Rose Bowl. I was so proud of him and seeing all the floats and how they were made. My father has since passed and he asked me to finish his book in his honor. which i did The life&Times; Of A Big Ten Official. I have always admired you and my husband is a chef and we have always wanted to meet you but have never got the chance.

By Linda Davey Johnson on October 27, 2010

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