Piping tools are one of the most valuable things for a dedicated baker to have in their kitchen. A great piping bag and nozzle set will be of great value, and will help you make sure to present your cakes in the prettiest way possible.
The best way to use piping tools is to get a silicone piping bag with a set of interchangeable nozzles. Silicone piping bags are completely waterproof and semi-rigid, while still being completely malleable enough to easily pipe any shapes that you might want onto your bakes.
The best nozzles to use are, without a doubt, metal ones. They are very easy to clean, plus they typically hold their shape well, which increases the overall lifetime of the bag and nozzle set.
There is plenty more to know about the mechanics of the best way to use piping tools for beautiful cake decorating, however. Keep on reading to find the best bits of information from all across the internet that we’ve got right here for you!
As we said above, there is essentially one school of thought for buying a great piping bag: go for a silicone bag and metal nozzles.
A silicone bag is prized for its heat resistance, as well as how easy it is to clean. It is very unlikely to absorb any smells or flavors from anything that you add to it. Instead, it will just keep on piping for as long as you might need it to!
Furthermore, a silicone piping bag will be shaped like a piping bag. As odd as this sounds, a number of bags are remarkably hard to shape until you fill them, leading to spills and confusion. A silicone bag, however, will naturally spring back to a rough piping bag shape, making the whole experience much simpler for you.
Metal nozzles are, quite simply, perfect. Unless you’re exerting a great amount of force on them, they’re hugely unlikely to warp or break, which is ideal because it means that the shape of icing that they’ll produce is consistent and impressive. In turn, this leads to brilliantly decorated cakes which allow you to wow anyone that you serve too!
Piping is a basic skill to learn the first time around, but a very difficult skill to master! At the most basic level, your two hands have a slightly different purpose.
Your dominant hand will be sat on or near the nozzle of the piping bag and is used, essentially, to ‘write’ the icing onto the top of the cake. This is a great way to do things, as you can ensure neatness and repeatability by using your dominant hand.
Your non-dominant hand takes a back seat during piping. It sits at the open end of the piping bag, gently twisting the opening that’s left. This gentle twisting applies constant pressure which, when done correctly, means that you will easily and consistently top your cakes.
On the surface of it, this is a very easy skill to learn. Once you’ve got your hands around the positioning of your hands, the rest of it is particularly easy to master – it’s all a matter of practice!
The one tip that it’s really important to bear in mind is: keep the pressure consistent. This is the thing that is the trickiest to master, but if you can get it right, you’ll find the entire process much more easy. Inconsistent pressure will lead to uneven icing, and that will lead to a negative experience over the entirety of the cake.
As long as your nozzles are made of metal, they will likely be of a similarly impressive level of quality. The material they’re made from is the most important thing, so focus on that above all else. For example, a plastic nozzle might not hold up against a particularly stiff batch of icing, but a metal nozzle definitely will.
When buying a set of nozzles, it’s worth making sure that they contain, at minimum, a star nozzle, a circle nozzle, and a flat nozzle.
The star nozzles will come in handy when icing cupcakes. They allow you to make ridged mounds of icing which will surely make your cupcakes showstoppers! They also allow you to make sure that you create icing which has a texture that is interesting to eat, as well. The outermost edge of icing will become more rigid than inner layers, which means that star tips will allow you to create icing which is, albeit ever so slightly, crispy on the outside.
A circle nozzle will be very useful for creating spots and layered displays of icing on your cakes. This is an underappreciated skill for the creation of smooth-looking and straightforward cakes. A well-rounded batch of icing blobs on a cake can be topped with extravagant candles and lettering, only to make an impressive final product.
Finally, flat nozzles can be really important too. They’re more commonly used for more complex piping techniques, but they certainly do make for interesting displays when the technique is properly applied. The most visually striking use of these tips is in making rose-like fondant on top of a cake, which can be a real show-stopper on valentine’s day.
Budget Piping Bags
If you can’t afford to splash out on a brand new set of piping bags and nozzles at the moment, then we get it, we’ve been in that boat too.
A great alternative way to pipe without needing to sink the cash into the actual equipment that you might need is to use a small bag made from single-use plastic.
The plastic itself is completely waterproof, and very malleable, meaning that it can be easy to use, and be cleaned up by simply throwing the bag away. Of course, this isn’t very sustainable – but it’s a great choice in a pinch.
The way that this piping method works is that you fill the bag with fondant, only to trim off the corner, making a small hole. By squeezing the rest of the bag, you force the fondant through the hole, creating a basic piping bag.
It is worth bearing in mind, though, that if you choose to pipe this way, you’ll only really be able to pipe circles rather than any more fancy shapes. You can control the diameter of the circle, however! Simply cut the corner of the bag closer to or further from the ultimate corner – the circle will change diameter as you move up and down the bag itself.
There are a number of different tips and tricks out there online which could help to make the process of piping easier and allow for greater overall designs. The two which stick out in our minds, though, are: practice on baking paper and learn two or three techniques really well.
Making sure that you practice your piping skills on baking paper is sure to mean that your cakes turn out great. If you find the time and the spare paper, you’ll be able to perfect your skills far in advance of the day that you have to pipe onto a cake.
Plus, practicing on baking paper means that you can feel free to try out new, more experimental techniques, without the added pressure of needing to make sure they’re pretty enough to be served at an event.
Learning just two or three techniques exceptionally well is worth massively more than learning a huge number of skills to a more mediocre level.
This is because people will almost always be more impressed by the finished look of something than the effort that went into it. Therefore, make sure to polish your skills up, and people will be blown away by your bakes without you having to go to extreme effort.