Brush up your techniques for writing and piping on cupcakes with some of your most frequently-asked cake decorating questions.
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Don’t be afraid of giving piping bags for decorating cakes a go. They are easy once you’ve had a few goes and they give you the wonderful opportunity to add messages and free-hand designs to your cakes and cupcakes.
What equipment do you use at The Hummingbird Bakery to pipe on cupcakes?
For hygiene, we use plastic piping bags, which can be fitted with plastic couplers and metal piping tips.
Reusable piping bags are also available for home bakers, as well as duo colour piping bags for swirling two kinds of frostings at a time on your cupcakes.
What can you use to pipe on cupcakes?
You can use buttercream coloured with gel food colouring or you can also use cream cheese frosting coloured with gel food colouring.
How do you fill a piping bag?
Place the piping bag into a decent sized empty container and fold the edges down over it. We like to use Marshmallow Fluff tubs, but you can also use a large glass or beaker. This holds the piping bag in place as you use a rubber spatula to fill with your frosting. You can also create a ‘C’ shape with your hand and fold the piping bag around it if you’re more confident that you won’t drop it.
If you’re just using a piping bag with no tips, just cut the end off to create a nozzle.
Don’t fill the piping bag much more than two-thirds full. You can then twist the bag to keep the frosting tight and tie the bag at the top to secure.
What is a coupler?
A coupler is a two-part small plastic nozzle that fits inside a piping bag so that you can change icing tips with ease.
You can use icing tips with no couplers, just push the tip inside the bag and cut the end off, allowing just the end of the tip to stick out. The bag will keep it nice and secure. Be careful not to cut too much of the bag away.
How do you fit a nozzle onto a piping bag?
Before filling the piping bag, place the coupler inside the piping bag at the tip.
You can then fill the bag with frosting. Push the coupler right into the tip of the bag and smoosh the frosting down behind it to remove the air before snipping the plastic end off the bag.
Place the metal icing tip over the bag to join with the coupler and twist on the plastic ring part to secure it in place.
How do you pipe icing in a line?
Squeeze the piping bag tightly until the icing reaches the tip of the nozzle and try to apply consistent pressure so that the line is the same thickness.
Be careful not to pull the piping bag up away from the cake before the icing has had a chance to settle or you risk breaking the line.
How do you pipe icing dots?
Squeeze the piping bag to draw the frosting to the tip of the nozzle and create a dot with the bag vertically over the cake. You will need to press the icing to the surface of the cake to help it stick.
Hold for longer to release more icing if you want to create a bigger dot.
To release, just push the nozzle into the dot slightly and then draw it away quickly to create a neat finish.
How do you get better at icing using a piping bag?
One tip from our baker Jo is to use supermarket mayonnaise. It sounds crazy, but it works!
Put spoonfuls of own-brand mayonnaise into a piping bag and use this to practise with and get a feel for the correct pressure to apply.
Have laminated sheets of paper printed out with designs on in dark ink, such as letters and numbers or shapes. You can trace the patterns with mayonnaise in your piping bag and when you’re done, scrape the mayonnaise back into the piping bag and start again.