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What Are Cake Piping Nozzles?
Cake piping nozzles are part of the most basic but essential cake decorating tools.
They are referred to as so many things which include: piping tips, icing tips, frosting tips, cake decorating nozzles and piping nozzles.
With this simple tool you can turn your cake and baked goods to stunning works of art.
In the course of this write up, we shall discuss how you can use cake piping nozzles effectively. But let’s first start by discussing the two types of cake piping nozzles.
Types of Cake Piping Nozzles
Like we mentioned earlier, cake piping nozzles are made of either metal or plastic.
Metal Cake Piping Nozzles
Metal cake piping nozzles are more accepted and commonly used by professional cake decorators. These types of piping nozzles are made from food grade metal and have been in existence for like forever. There are also some that are made from nickel and coated with stainless steel.
These metal nozzles are the tips of choice for many because of the following:
- They give a more explicit definition to shapes piped.
- Metal piping nozzles work well with most cake piping bags.
- With metal piping nozzles, you can safely work with hot recipes or mixtures.
- They are easy to wash.
Some of the disadvantages of metal cake piping nozzles include the risk of getting chipped or bent out of shape. They could also rust if not properly taken care of.
Plastic Cake Piping Nozzles
Plastic cake piping nozzles are new to the market compared to the metal ones. They are commonly made from polycarbonate and are sometimes transparent.
The advantages of plastic cake piping nozzles include the following:
- Durability – They last for a long time because they rarely chip or end out of shape; neither do they rust.
- Transparent – The transparency of the tips allow you to see the air bubbles and remove them.
- Microwave and Dishwasher Safe – You can easily wash them and also leave them on if you have to reheat recipes in the microwave.
Although some upcoming cake decorators love to use plastic piping nozzles, they have the following disadvantages:
- Some brands cannot be used for hot recipes – Although some brands of plastic piping nozzles are dishwasher and microwave safe, majority are not.
- Hard to wash – Plastic piping nozzles that are not dishwasher safe are hard to wash because they retain more grease than the metal ones.
Cake piping nozzles are grouped into different categories based on their shapes and sizes. Every piping nozzle in that category is marked a specific number and would produce the same kind of decoration. If you look at a piping nozzle, you would see a number like 2, 3,4 and so on.
These numbers might be a product category number or the size of the nozzle. So if you want a nozzle of a particular size and are nor familiar with the brand you might need to measure the tip to be sure.
We’ll give examples of these tips hoping that this would give you a better understanding of the nozzles and their categories.
Cake Piping Nozzles and the Primary Designs they Form
Highly skilled or adventurous decorators can use these tips to form other decorations than the ones we’ll discuss. The shape a piping nozzle would form all depends on the angle the user holds the piping bag and the pressure applied.
Every cake decorator uses the star tips. They most often use it to form stars, shells, rosettes, flowers and fleur-de-lis.
Plain or Round Tips – These are used to form dots, flower centers, outlining details, lace work, writing and lattice.
They also come in different sizes.
Basket weave Tips –With these tips, you can pipe basket weave designs. The designs piped can either be serrated or smooth.
Tips with multiple holes (dot-like holes) – You can use these tips to create a grass or hair effect. You can also use them to pipe a bunch of strings, scallops and beads.
Leaf Tips – The most commonly formed design using these tips are leaves of every kind.
Rose/flower Tips– You can use these tips to make flowers like roses, daises, carnation and pansies.
Drop Flower Tips– it produces flowers with different petals in one squeeze. The number of cuttings in the tip is what determines how many petals the flower would have.
Ruffle Tips– You can use the ruffle tips to pipe swags, ruffles, ribbons, streamers and similar designs.
Specialty Tips – As the name implies, you can use specialty tips for specialized effects such as hearts, Christmas trees and snow flakes.
These tips are by no means a complete list of all the cake piping nozzles that’s available. Brands produce new piping nozzles and specialty tips on a daily basis. You may not be able to keep up with each new piping nozzles that’s produced.
Do You Need All These Cake Piping Nozzles?
With these myriads of piping nozzles that abound, how would a beginner know what to buy?
Seeing that all these nozzles produce different designs, should the beginner go out and purchase all that’s available in the market?
We know that’s not possible but even if it was, that would be a huge waste.
The truth of the matter is that you don’t need all the piping nozzles.
Here’s a suggestion of three cake piping nozzles you could start with; they are the round tip, the star tip and the leaf tip.
Let’s tell you why
The round tip– There’s a lot you can do with this very versatile tip; you can pipe straight lines, write, make dots, and a host of many other designs.
The star tip – Cake decorators can use this tip to decorate a cake in different designs. You can also pipe upright stars, borders on cakes, and all sorts. Like the star tip is quite versatile.
With just a round tip, a star tip and a piping bag, you can create amazing works of art.
The leaf tip – Although this tip is not as versatile as the first two, it can help jazz up your designs.
The leaf tip allows you to pipe leaves. You can use the star and round tips to create flower-like designs and then add that authentic look with a leaf.
Things to Consider Before You Go Shopping For Cake Piping Nozzles
We know how exciting it can get when one decides to take a hobby to a new level; or maybe even a commercial level. That’s why some folks would even buy all the tools that are touted as important.
But hold up! Don’t go spending all your money on stuff that you may not use or use only once in a long while.
Consider the following carefully before you start shopping:
- What are the most essential cake piping nozzles to have? – For a beginner, it’s a good idea to start with some basic cake decorating set. This would include piping bags, piping nozzles and coupler sets.The piping nozzles in these sets are usually adequate enough for practicing your piping and improving. As time and your skill progresses, you can then pick more advanced piping nozzles such as Russian tips.
- Does Price Matter? – While it is true that good quality costs a pretty penny, expensive is not synonymous with top quality.There are many factors that affect the price of a product and they include: popularity of the brand, quality of material, demand and sometimes celebrity endorsement.Products that have celebrity endorsement are by far costlier than those that don’t. Popular brands or those that have strong reputation would also have higher priced products. These two reasons are not enough for you to choose a particular brand of cake piping nozzles.Just do your research well to be sure that the product is worth the price.
Word of caution; run away from cheap cake piping nozzles. Remember that you get what you pay for.
- Ease of Use and clean up – Check to be sure that the cake piping nozzles you want to buy are easy to use. Can they fit generic coupler sets or do they need specialized couplers?This is why it is important that a beginner starts with a decorating set. That way you get the correct component of all you need.
Cake piping nozzles are better off washed by hand. This is because a dishwasher can distort the shape of piping nozzles. That said, note that some cake piping nozzles are harder to wash than others.
Plastic cake piping nozzles would retain more grease than the metal ones. However some cake decorators have argued that they are dishwasher safe and this makes them easy to wash.
Whether you choose the plastic nozzles or the metal ones, consider which ones would be more convenient for you.
- Material – Choosing a product made from top quality food grade materials is essential. A product made with poor quality material may be cheap but would make your purchase cent wise, dollar foolish.Do not buy cheaply made metal cake piping nozzles; why? Because piping nozzles that are cheaply made would either rust, or get chipped and bent out of shape.
- Durability – The material a product is made from greatly determines its durability. Products made from poor quality material would definitely not last long.
- Versatility – If you buy a basic cake decorating set, the likelihood that you would get the most versatile tips is high. However, if you decide to get only two or three piping nozzles, then consider the round, star and leaf tips. With these tips you can cover a whole cake with amazing designs and effects.
You may be wondering how on earth you would ascertain all these features before making a purchase. Thank goodness for the internet; read a lot of cake piping nozzles reviews.
Check out what verified buyers have to say about the product. You would save yourself disappointment and regret after the purchase.
Some Tips for Using Cake Piping Nozzles
Assembling a Piping Bag and a Piping Nozzle
Before you get to use a cake piping nozzle, you have to assemble it properly. You can accomplish this simple task in three quick steps.
For those piping nozzles that require the use of a coupler, first fit the coupler into the piping bag. Secondly you put in the desired piping nozzle and thirdly lock it in with a coupler ring.
Fill your piping bag with your frosting and your good to go!
Get the Right Icing Consistency
No matter how right or wonderful your cake piping nozzle is, you still need the right icing consistency. If you are following a particular recipe or instructions, ensure that you pay particular attention to the icing consistency.
You know your icing consistency is too stiff when you have to press extra hard for the icing to flow through the nozzle. The right consistency of icing has to flow through the nozzle without undue pressure.
Having an icing consistency that’s too thin is also a No! No! This is because a thin icing consistency would not hold up the shape you want to pipe. Thin icing consistency is just for lines, small dots and writing.
Mix Your Icing Properly
A smooth and properly mixed icing of the right consistency is a joy to work with. Do not be in such a hurry to start decorating that you do not take time to properly mix your icing.
The first step in getting smooth icing is to sieve your icing sugar. When you do this, it loosens the icing sugar and eliminate lumps. After this, ensure that you follow your recipe instructions religiously.
One of the reasons you need a smooth and properly mixed icing is that lumps can clog your piping nozzle.
A clogged nozzle is not fun especially when you are piping a design that needs continuous motion. The presence of lumps truncates your flow, disrupting your design and wasting your time. You would most likely have to start all over with the piping or try to repair the flawed part.
Unclogging a Blocked Cake Piping Nozzle
This might sound like a simple issue but if not done properly, you may distort the shape of your nozzle.
The best thing to do in this situation is the following: (a) First unscrew the nozzle from the piping bag(b) secondly, use a toothpick to remove the icing (c) then thirdly, use a sewing pin to poke through the nozzle. You may have even removed the lump in step two when you removed the icing.
Be careful never to use anything that’s thicker than the opening of the nozzle because this is sure to change the shape of your nozzle.
There’s so much to learn about cake piping nozzles, its importance, use and care. These things are not things you’ll learn in a day, it takes time and practice. As you continue on this journey, everyday would unfold new and exciting experiences. So enjoy the journey