Have you ever gawked at a well decorated cake or cookie in awe or envy? You wish you could create such masterpiece but feel quite inadequate. Don’t fret because with some cake piping bags and nozzles, you too can create beauty with icing sugar.
Cake piping bags are usually accompanied by couplers and nozzles or tips. However we would first of all help you understand the different types of cake piping bags. Then we’ll move on to the important factors to look out for before making a purchase.
Understanding the Different Types of Cake Piping Bags
Cake piping bags also referred to as pastry bag are circular shaped with pointed ends. The pointed end is where you cut the bag to fit the tip, while the wider opening is for putting the icing in the bag. The piping bag holds the frosting for decoration.
One of the reasons why it is also called a pastry bag is because it can be used for other baked goods. You can use it to pipe out chocolates, butter icing, royal icing and some other soft pastry recipes.
There are two broad categories of cake piping bags; the disposable piping bags and the re-usable piping bags.
Piping bags are also made with various materials and listed below are the different types of piping bags, their advantages and disadvantages.
As we said earlier, there different types of cake piping bags ; let’s look at them one after the other:-
These are the most commonly used piping bags. They are made of clear food grade plastic. Some of the advantages include:
(i) Ease of cleaning – It’s quite easy to clean; well you don’t clean them, you just trash after use.
(ii) Sanitary – They are the most sanitary because you don’t reuse so there’s no risk of contamination.
(iii) Ease of use – Since these disposable bags are made of clear plastics, you can easily see the color of icing you are working with. Furthermore, you can cut them to fit piping nozzles/tips of any size.
(iv) Saves Time – It saves time because you can fill different bags with different colors to work with at once. Once that’s done, you just pick up required color without having to look into the bag. You can also store your icing in the bag before cutting the tip.
(v) Portable – They are said to be portable because you can use them for projects outside your kitchen or cake shop. No need to carry around a used piping bag that has to be cleaned/washed.
These disposable bags also have some disadvantages which include the following: –
(i) Expensive – Though they are cheap for the short term, they are not cost effective for the frequent user.
(ii) Not Durable – Disposable bags cannot bear up under rigorous use (they weren’t meant to though). They can also split if filled with thick consistency icing or recipe.
(iii) Gets Slippery– It gets slippery after a while because it’s made of plastic; this might make piping difficult for a beginner.
Canvas Piping Bags
Canvas piping bags are made of canvas (obviously). They can be considered professional grade piping bags; they have some advantages and disadvantages.
(i) Heavy Duty – They are strong and very ideal for working with recipes of thick consistency.
(ii) Durable – Due to the material it is made of, canvas piping bags can last for a long time.
(iii) Heat Resistant – It can withstand heat which makes it capable of handling hot recipes.
(iv) Biodegradable – This makes it an environmentally friendly product unlike plastic that’s not.
(i) Porous – This is also due to the nature of the material used. The fats and oil in the recipe leaks through the bag making it messier to use.
(ii) Slippery to Hold – When the contents of the bag seep to the outside, it makes the piping bag slippery to hold. This can also make working with it difficult for a beginner.
(iii) Difficult to clean – The cloth-like nature of the piping bag makes it difficult to clean.
(iv) Difficult to use for different colors at once – These kind of bags may slow down your work if you fill different bags with different colors. This is because you have to keep looking into each bag to ascertain the color before use.
Plastic Coated Fabric Piping Bags
This kind of piping bags are made of either print cloth or canvas with an inner lining made of plastic. They are also professional grade; ideal for use in bakeries and cake shops. They have their pros and con as stated below.
(i) Can handle heavy duty projects – They are great for working with dough and recipes of thick consistency.
(ii) Non slippery to handle – The plastic lining on the inside keeps the fats and oils from seeping outside the bag. This makes it easier to handle and gives the user a more secure hold on the bag.
(iii) Ease of cleaning – The plastic lining also makes it easier to wash off after use.
(iv) Eco-friendly – It is made with biodegradable material which makes it environmentally safe
(v) Durable – The material used to make it helps it to last for a long time.
(i) Not Heat Resistant – The plastic lining cannot handle hot recipes. It might begin to leak if exposed to hot items.
(ii)Not flexible – It can get stiff and this makes it more difficult to use.
Polyurethane or Nylon Piping Bags
They are made of polyester sheeting and different models come with different coatings of polyurethane. The advantages and disadvantages of this material include the following:
(i) Long Lasting – Piping bags made of this material lasts for a long time.
(ii) Handles Heavy Duty Tasks – They withstand long and rigorous use and are ideal for heavy duty jobs.
(iii) Dishwasher Safe – They are dishwasher safe which makes them easy to wash.
(iv) Flexible – The flexibility makes it easy and convenient to use.
(v) Environmentally Safe – The biodegradable nature of the material makes it an eco-friendly product
(i) Expensive – The cost of initial purchase is high which makes it expensive in the short term.
(ii) Can Get Slippery – This can present a level of inconvenience to the user.
(iii) Difficult to Use for Several Colors at Once – Due to the fact that it isn’t transparent, you have to check to ascertain the color inside always before use. This can slow user down and make the work tedious.
Silicone Cake Piping Bags
Silicone Cake Piping Bags are the most recent of all the piping bags, they are professional grade bags. They come recommended by a number of top chefs and they have the following advantages and disadvantages.
(i) Durability – These cake piping bags lasts for like forever! It is elastic and smooth which allows you to fold and twist it better than other cake piping bags. The material keeps it from tearing or splitting.
(ii) Heat Resistant – They can hold recipes with high temperature and this makes them ideal for working with cooked sugar and chocolate. It can also be reheated in the microwave.
(iii) Non –slip Grip – The inner lining is smooth, allowing icing to flow nicely while outside is textured to give user a firm grip.
(iv) Doesn’t Stain easily and Doesn’t Retain Flavors – These bags are not easily stained nor do they retain flavors. This makes them versatile and allows you to use them for different purposes other than cake decoration.
(v) Dishwasher Safe – This makes them easy to wash and maintain.
(i) Retains Air Pockets – The balloon like nature makes it have air pockets from time to time. This can slow down your piping speed.
(ii) Not Good For Recipes of Thick Consistency – It stretches too much when you try to push out stiff icing. This makes it a bit difficult to use.
Tips on How to Use a Cake Piping Bag
No matter the different materials all these piping bags are made of, they are used the same way. Here we’ll give you tips on how best to use your cake piping bags.
For the bag that requires a coupler, you put the coupler into the piping bag. The part of the coupler that looks like a funnel should be facing the tip of the bag. Cut the bag to fit the coupler and then insert the desired tip and lock in with the coupler ring. If your piping bag doesn’t require a coupler, just throw in the tip and cut the bag to size.
Open the top of the bag over your hand and fill the bag halfway. Note that filling the bag too much would make it harder to handle.
Twist the bag to close it and ensure that all air bubble is out of the bag. Push out a little icing to a plate to ensure that there are no air bubbles.
Position your hand to pipe by holding the piping bag with one hand and using the other to guide the tip. Ensure that you keep twisting the bag at the top to keep it closed.
This is just a brief summary; there are numerous videos on YouTube that would help you master the use of a cake piping bag.
Further Hacks and Tips for Using Cake Piping Bags
What to do when you have to use many colors to decorate but have limited piping bags
In this situation, use an icing plug.Here’s how; get a sheet of cellophane and spread it out on your countertop. Put the quantity of icing you want and then wrap the cellophane until it looks like a sausage.
Put your coupler into the piping bag and then put the sausage-like wrapped icing into the bag. Ensure that the tip of this your icing “sausage” passes through the coupler then cut off the tip. Attach your piping nozzle/tip and lock in with the coupler ring.
Prepare all the colors in different sausage-like wraps and all you have to do is keep changing the icing and tip. No mess to your cake piping bag, easier clean up and no need to buy multiple cake piping bags.
Here’s what to do when you have difficulty filling your pastry bag
Place the prepared bag into a tall glass or mug and fold the extra around the edges of the glass. This would help you get your icing into the bag without much hassle and mess.
How to Wash Your Cake Piping Bag
Ensure that you wash piping bags that are not dishwasher safe with warm soapy water immediately after use. Hang your piping bag to dry if it has a loop; if not, find something to hold it up (tip-side) to dry.
Ensure that the bag is fully dry before putting it away or else it might become moldy.
For cake piping bags that are dishwasher safe, also wash immediately after use following instruction on product.
What To Look Out For When Shopping For Cake Piping Bags
Cake Piping Bags may appear to be basic but if you don’t know what to look out for, you might make a wrong purchase. You may be able to use whatever you bought but it might not be the best cake piping bag for you.
Here are some things you should consider before making a choice:
This we have discussed extensively and from our discussion, you can deduce which one would work best for you.
Disposable cake piping bags are best for a beginner. However as your skills grow and the frequency of use increases, consider the reusable ones.
Also in checking out the material, ensure that whatever product you choose is made with food grade material.
It is ideal for you to have more than two piping bags but if you can’t or don’t want to then look for a generic size.A reusable bag between 14 and 16 inches would do just fine.
If you have a larger size it would be more difficult to handle. A smaller size would require that you refill it quite often in the course of decorating.
Ease of use and cleaning
Some piping bags are more flexible than others, some have better grip while others are slippery.
Check out the features and find out how easy it would be to use and clean. Read a lot of buyer reviews for the product you are thinking of buying.
One other factor to consider if you have already decided not to buy disposable piping bags is durability.
Canvas bags would last a long time but they have a few disadvantages. Nylon bags also last for long likewise silicone bags.
Each of these materials has its own pros and cons; check out what works for you and what your own deal breakers are.
We sincerely hope we have been able to furnish you with all you need to know about cake piping bags. You can also click here to read our article on cake piping bags and tips for more information.