Cake Piping Kits – A Newbie’s Guide

What is a cake piping kit? 

A cake piping kit is a compilation of tools that are needed to pipe designs on cakes and other baked goods. These tools are piping bag, piping nozzle or tips, coupler set, piping bag ties,flower nail and flower lifter.

A cake piping kit is an important tool set for any cake decorator worth his/her salt . There is no way one can properly decorate a cake without at least  3 out of these tools in a cake piping kit.

Although many veteran cake decorators can improvise and work without some of these tools but it is best for a beginner to learn and practice with the right tools.  Then as your skills improve, you can begin to experiment and improvise.

There are so many cake piping kits out there that making a good choice might prove difficult.But  we would help you know what to look out for in order to you make the right choice.

The factors to look out for include: (a) understanding the components of cake piping kits (b) what’s absolutely necessary (c) the things that would be nice to have and (d) the things that aren’t really necessary.

Components of A Basic Cake Piping Kit

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A basic cake piping kit contains the following: piping bags or a piping gun, piping nozzles, a coupler and ring and maybe piping bag ties.

Let’s just give you a brief description and uses of these components.

Piping Bag or Piping Gun  

Piping bags are also called pastry bags and they are used to hold the filling or icing that would be used for the  cake decoration. These simple yet highly important tool can be made of different materials. These materials  are plastic, canvas, nylon and silicone.

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Some kits have the piping gun or syringe as some call it. A piping  gun or syringe performs that same function as the piping bag only that it is in form of a cylindrical gun or syringe. These piping guns are either made of plastic, metals or silicone.

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We can actually say that the piping bag/gun is the most important component of a cake piping kit. Without the piping bag, you can’t do any cake decoration or filling of pastries. This is like the “foundation” of the kit.

Coupler set

A coupler set is what is used to attach piping nozzles/tips to either the piping bag or the piping gun. It makes it easier to switch nozzles when piping with one piping bag or gun.

A coupler set is an essential component to have in the cake piping kit but may not be absolutely necessary.This is because (a) there are some tips that don’t work with a coupler set and (b) some decorators have found hacks to work with just piping bags; with or without tips.

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Cake Piping Nozzles or Tips

Cake piping nozzles or tips are used in conjunction with a piping bag to form the desired designs, shapes or figures. There are different sizes and designs of piping nozzles/tips and each tip is built to form specific shapes and designs.  Additionally, piping nozzles can be made with plastic or metal and each material has its advantages and disadvantages.

The icing is squeezed through the piping bag/ gun and passes through the nozzle to the cake or baked goods.

Piping nozzles or tips are essential for fast and efficient decoration of large cakes and large scale projects. Without them you would not have as much control as you need.

Although it’s true that some decorators can work without the tips but it’s really for small projects.

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Piping Bag Ties

Piping bag ties are small elastic rings that are used to tie the top of the piping bag. This helps to keep the piping bag tightly closed and prevent icing from spilling over.

This is something that’s just nice to have in the kit but not absolutely necessary.

You can keep icing from spilling over from the top by (a) not filling the piping bag past halfway and (b) twisting the piping bag tight and holding it well.

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Pros and Cons of The Different Components of a Cake Piping Kit

Piping Bags versus Piping Guns

Piping Bags

The advantages and disadvantages of a piping bag include the following

Pros of Piping Bags

(i) They offer more control to the user and are easier to manipulate and maneuver.

(ii) They are more versatile as you can use them alone, with a coupler and piping nozzle or with just piping nozzles.

(iii) Piping bags come in various sizes that allow you to work with myriads of nozzles.

(iv) They are easier to clean; if they are disposable, you just dump after use.

(v) Good quality piping bags can handle thicker icing consistency.

 Cons of  Piping Bags

They create more mess while in use. This is especially for beginners who have to keep trying to hold the icing from spilling out the other side.

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Piping Guns

Piping guns have the following advantages and disadvantages

Pros of Piping Guns 

(i) They create less mess while in use.

(ii) Piping guns offer more stability

(iii) They are good for practicing cake decoration and gaining more confidence in working with icing.

Cons of Piping Guns

(i) They are more difficult to wash because unlike the pasty bags they have many moving parts. You have to dismantle the cylinder, the trigger, and the head of the gun, the coupler and the tip. Then you wash each of them carefully by hand.

(ii) You have less control and maneuverability than with the piping bags.

(iii) They have limited piping nozzles that they can work with.For what it’s worth; there are recipes that would work better with the piping gun than with piping bags.

(iv) Beginners  and kids usually find it easier to work with piping guns than piping bags. However with professional cake decorators, piping bags seem to be the way to go.

Experience and interaction has shown that most beginners find it easier to use cake piping guns. For this reason most beginners’ cake piping kits come with piping guns instead of piping bags.

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Piping Nozzles/Tips

There are myriads of piping nozzles that are available in the market. From the most basic ones to the professional specialty tips; there are so many varieties to choose from.

Cake piping kits come with different piping nozzles but there are some that are most commonly found in these kits. These common piping nozzles are star tip (at least two sizes), round tip (at least two sizes too), leaf, petals and drop flower tips.

Almost every beginner starts out with the star tip and round tip for borders around the cake. These tips can also be used to decorate the whole body of the cake and you can also use them to write messages on the cake.

There are really no pros and cons with piping nozzles.

The only thing is that you may get some nozzles in a cake piping kit that you’ll never get to use. You might use some once or twice out of curiosity. There are others however that you reach for almost every time you have to decorate a cake.

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Coupler set

From experience, there are basically three sizes of couplers; small, medium and large. That said however, each brand has different sizing of small, medium and  large  coupler set.

That’s one reason why getting a coupler in a cake piping kit is the best way to go. This is because the tips from that brand would have been sized to fit the couplers.

The major advantage of using a piping coupler is that it allows you to change your piping tip easily.

We are still researching to find the disadvantage; if we do, we’ll surely let you know lol.

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Flower Nail and Lifter

A flower nail is an important part of a cake piping kit that allows you to pipe flowers of different shapes and sizes. The flower lifter is vital for lifting and placing your finished buttercream flower on a cake without damage.

Most kits would include instructions on how to use the flower nail. But if not there are video tutorials that would help you learn to maximize your flower nail.

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Is a Cake Piping Kit Really Necessary?

This is a question that beginner cake decorators sometimes fail to ask before buying their tools. It is really exciting to go browsing and see all those glossy pictures of awesomely decorated cakes. These by the way are usually accompanied by either pictures or links for must have cake piping kits.

Now, is it really necessary to have a complete cake piping kit before you can create picture perfect cakes? We’ll say YES and No

Why  Is A Cake Piping Kit Necessary?

A cake piping kit is necessary because if you don’t really know what to buy for your cake decoration, a cake piping kit would give you the basics (or more!). With some cake piping kits, you may not need to buy any more piping tool for a long while. This is because the brand had already thought of all that a newbie would need and packaged in one kit.

Furthermore, with  a cake piping kit you also avoid the mistake of getting ill fitting parts e.g. coupler and piping nozzles.

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Why Is A Cake Piping Kit Not Really Necessary?

Buying a complete cake piping kit may not be necessary because some cake piping kits are just all glitz with no functionality. You might be better off buying all the components of a cake piping kit individually. That way, you are more in control of what you get. You wouldn’t end up with useless parts (especially nozzles).

So now that you see why we said that buy a complete cake piping kit may be either necessary or not , let’s move on to a short buying guide.


Factors to Look Out For When Shopping For a Cake Piping Kit.

Despite some misgivings, we still think cake piping kits are the way to go especially for a newbie decorator. You would avoid a lot of heartache and waste of money if you buy a good cake piping kit.

There are definitely factors that would help you make the right choice and they include the following:

Features of the Components of the Cake Piping Kit

Before you decide on buying a cake piping kit, you have to research well to find out the features of its components.

What materials are the parts made of? This is an important question because it would affect every other consideration.
For example, is the piping bag made of plastic, nylon, cloth/canvas or silicone?

What about the piping nozzles? Are they plastic or metal? Do they have piping bag ties included.

These are questions that need to be answered before you make a purchase. You can get these answers from verified buyer reviews, friend’s experiences and recommendations.


The material used to make the parts determine how durable the kit would be.

Kits with piping bags made with reusable materials such as nylon , canvas and silicon would surely last long. However kits with disposable piping bags would require that you replenish your stock frequently.

Plastic piping nozzles lasts for long unlike metal piping nozzles that might bend out of shape, rust or chip.

Ease of Use and Cleaning

As we earlier said, piping guns are easier to use for beginners while the pros prefer piping bags. The piping guns are also less messy to use. So dear newbie, consider a kit that has a piping gun instead of bags.

However, note that cleaning of the piping gun is more difficult than cleaning a piping bag.

On a second thought, if you are a really determined learner you can go with the piping bags. This would save you the hassles of washing the piping gun. Disposable piping bags make life easy all the way!

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Check out the functionality of the kit. By this we mean that you should ensure that all the parts included are tools you would use. This is one of the reasons we’d advise that you start with a cake piping kit with the basics and a few nozzles

If you want more nozzles or tools, you can go buy them individually. Trust us when we tell you that there are many cake piping kits with unnecessary piping nozzles and tools. Some just end up being duplicates of designs.

Again buyers review would help you out in this regard.


Look out for a cake piping kit that would help you experiment. Don’t get a kit that would tie you down to one style.

You may be a homemaker who makes a lot of baked goods that require fillings. It is necessary that any kit you choose should work for all kinds of experiment with icing and fillings.

There are cake piping kits that come with both piping guns and piping bags. These are actually a good option for versatility.


Check out to be sure that your product of choice is worth the asking price. Do not be sucked in by the gimmick of celebrity endorsement.

While some celebrity endorsed products are really top notch, some others are not. Do your due diligence and be ready to pay for good quality.

Remember cheap products may not be cheap in the long run.

Frequency of use

Before you cough out top dollars for a cake piping kit, think of how often you’ll be using it.

If you are going into the cake decorating business then you sure would be using your kit often. For this reason you shouldn’t be stingy on how much you are willing to pay for top quality.

For the hobbyist or homemaker who just wants to up their decorating game, you may not sweat “top quality” Getting what works for you at the right price should be your concern because you may not use the kit often.


Cake piping kits can help make your decorating experience bliss. Choosing the right one would definitely increase your pleasure and output. So be patient and find out all there is to know about cake piping kits before you go shopping.

We believe we have started you on the right path so go on and have fun; while making the right choice. Click here to read one of our reviews on this subject. 

We also recommend that you read the following articles:-

Cake Decorating Tip Set by Chefast - Deluxe Kit of 20 Piping Tips, 5 Frosting Bags, 4 Bag Ties, Couplers, Nail Flower, Reusable Icing Bag, Brush and Gift Box - Great for Cakes, Cupcakes, and Cookies

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Cake Piping Kit – FAQs

What Can I Use Instead Of A Piping Nozzle?

There are a number of cake decorating tools you can use instead of a piping nozzle. If you are making a fondant covered cake, you may not even need to use a piping nozzle. But in the case where you want to pipe designs on a cake and you don’t have a piping nozzle, you can use a plastic bag; here’s how:-

(i) To get a round tip, just snip off a tiny bit of the tip of one end a ziplock bag. Then you scoop in some icing and push to that side where you have snipped off the tip. And there you have your piping bag and round tip.

(ii) For a star tip, snip off a bit of the tip of the plastic bag and then make about two triangle cuts from where you have cut off the tip.

What Two Angles Should You Hold A Piping Bag?

There are basically two angles at which a piping bag should be held and they are angle 45° and angle 90°. Angle 90° is when the piping bag is held horizontally (straight up) while angle 45° is when it is tilted to either the right or left.

Each angle helps you to achieve different designs and flow to your decoration.

You would notice that some ‘how tos’ on some cake decorating tutorials would emphasise the angle at which your piping bag should be held. It is important that you note and comply or else you wouldn’t get the expected result.

How Do You Organize Piping Tips?

Organizing piping tips just became easy! All you need to do is buy a drawer organizer ( there are many sizes and styles that would fit your space). Then follow these steps:-

(i) Sort out your piping tips according to similarity (especially if you have piping tips from different brands). They are not usually numbered alike so instead of using numbers use design. For example; star tips.  If you have many star tips, you can then sort them by size.

(ii) Next get a tape and write the identifications of the tips on it and stick on the drawers

(iii) Place each category of tips in the right drawer.

This would save you a whole lot of frustration and time when next you have to do some piping;  no more sieving through a whole bunch of piping tip just to find the one you need!

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Can You Pipe Canned Frosting On Cupcakes?

You can pipe canned frosting on your cupcakes but you must have to work on it a little bit. This is because store bought frosting usually comes in thin consistency which cannot hold up the shape of the design piped. So to get the right consistency for piping, you have to add some icing sugar.

Watch the quantity of icing sugar that you add so that you get the consistency that’s best for whatever you want to pipe.

You can also add flavour and other add-on ingredients to jazz up the frosting.

What Is The Easiest Way To Pipe Cupcakes?

The easiest way to pipe cupcakes is to use a large piping tip; if you have Russian piping tips, the better for you.  The reason is that you would get your piping done very fast and it would stand out on the cupcake very well.

With Russian piping tips, you can create special designs and large flowers in no time.  Another easy way of piping eye-catching designs on cupcakes and even your cakes is to use a tri-color coupler. This coupler would help you to attach three piping bags with different colors of icing to one large piping tip.