The Secret to Perfect Piping
Piping designs or writing on a cake can transform an ordinary treat into a super special treat. Here is the secret to perfect piping.
The consistency of the icing is important. If your icing is too thin, it will leak out of your pastry bag and you will have less control on how it goes on to your cake. If it is too thick, you’re going to exhaust yourself with all the extra squeezing you’ll have to do to get it out of the bag.
Buttercream and cream cheese icing are more on the fluffy side. Because of their high fat content, the heat from your hands can cause the icing to melt. This could change the consistency. Everything might start off smoothly but as your icing warms up, it could change how things are going.
The best and most commonly used icing for piping is Royal Icing. It is a fluffy icing so care should be taken to make sure air bubbles are removed. The icing is very easy to work with, has a smooth consistency and sets up nice. And because it is pure white, it’s easy to add some food coloring and tint. This will make the icing any color you prefer without affecting the consistency.
Recipe for Perfect Piping
Royal Icing – dry egg Royal Icing – egg whites
7 Tablespoon water 3 egg whites
4 Tablespoon meringue powder 1 pound powdered sugar
7 cups of powdered sugar 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Beat together water and meringue powder or egg whites. Sift together powdered sugar and cream of tartar. Place all ingredients into a mixing bowl. Beat 7 to 10 minutes or until icing holds a strong peak.
It is almost impossible to specify the exact amount of sugar that your recipe needs. This depends on the size of the egg whites as well as the moisture content of your powdered sugar.
Keep frosting covered with a damp cloth at all times to keep it from drying out.
Don’t overfill your bag. The contents of the bag should rest comfortably in the palm of your hand. You need to cup and guide the bag during the decorating process.
To keep a steady hand, rest your elbow on the table and support the wrist of your piping hand with the other hand. The more “grounded” your arms are, the less likely your hand is to shake.
Be sure to squeeze any air bubbles out of the bag. You don’t want a big plop of icing coming out and ruining your artwork.
Take some time to do a few practice pipes and get comfortable and familiar with different tips. (That is if you are using tips.) A great way to get a feel for your pressure and speed as you work on your control is to practice straight lines.
Watch out for…
- If your test line has gaps or spaces, you’re not squeezing hard enough and you’re moving too fast.
- When you find your test line is “squiggly” or wavy, you’re squeezing too hard and not moving fast enough.
- Take notice of the angle you are holding the bag. Adjust your angle as needed to get the desired finished result.
When doing lettering on a cake, it is helpful to mark the place of the first and last letters with a pin. This will help keep the writing centered and you won’t run out of room. If you want, you can lightly etch your lettering into the top frosting with a toothpick. Then simply trace over with your piping.
Here some tips if you’re nervous about piping letters straight onto a cake.
Pipe icing onto greaseproof paper first. Then freeze then slide the letters off onto your cake.
You can also pipe white icing onto white icing. Its easy to remove a mistake then. Just scrape it off, whilst the icing is still wet. Once you have a white base of piped letters, over pipe with a thinner tube. Chose your color for the icing. Now the raised white piped letter guide you along the way. This has a nice effect too and makes piping letters easy.
You can also purchase a cutter which allows you to roll out and cut a decorative shape in fondant. This must be big enough to contain your whole written message. Allow it to dry a little. Then pipe the letters onto the separate banner. If the lettering goes awry, you can always roll out and cut another banner to pipe on. Place the piped shape onto the cake with a dot of fondant icing and you are good to go!
So there you go – the Secret to Perfect Piping!
Piping is fun and can quickly take a cake from ordinary to extraordinary!
Get creative and enjoy!!
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