What Are Cake Piping Nozzles?
Cake piping nozzles are cake decorating tools used in adding designs and decoration to iced cakes. They are referred to as so many things some of which include: piping tips, icing tips, frosting tips, cake decorating nozzles and piping nozzles.
Piping nozzles are made of either metal or plastic. There are two ways of using cake piping nozzles; using them directly with the piping bag or using them with a coupler.
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
There are two major types of cake piping nozzles and they are differentiated by the material they are made of. Cake piping nozzles can be made from two major materials and we would be exploring both of them below.
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.
Advantages of Metal Cake Piping Nozzles
The advantages of metal cake piping nozzles include the following:
(i) They give a more explicit definition to shapes piped.
(ii) Metal piping nozzles work well with most cake piping bags.
(iii) You can safely work with hot recipes or mixtures with metal piping nozzles.
(iv) Metal piping nozzles are easy to wash.
Disadvantages of Metal Cake Piping Nozzles
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.
Advantages of Plastic Cake Piping Nozzles
The advantages of plastic cake piping nozzles include the following:
(i) Durability – They last for a long time because they rarely chip or bend out of shape; neither do they rust.
(ii) Transparent – The transparency of the tips allow you to see the air bubbles and remove them.
(iii) Microwave and Dishwasher Safe – You can easily wash them and also leave them on if you have to reheat recipes in the microwave.
Disadvantages of Plastic Cake Piping Nozzles
The disadvantages of plastic cake piping nozzles include the following:
(i) Some brands cannot be used for hot recipes – Although some brands of plastic piping nozzles are dishwasher and microwave safe, majority are not.
(ii) Hard to wash – Plastic piping nozzles that are not dishwasher safe are hard to wash because they retain more grease than the metal ones.
Understanding Cake Piping Nozzles
This segment is all about understanding the basics of cake piping nozzles.
Cake piping nozzles are grouped into different categories based on their shapes and sizes. Every piping nozzle in that category is marked with a specific number and would produce the same kind of decoration. This number differs from one manufacturer to the other.
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 not familiar with the brand you might need to measure the tip to be sure.
Measuring the tip of a piping nozzle is not possible when you are making an online purchase. For this reason, 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
Every cake piping nozzle has the primary design that they form and that is what we want to show you in the next few paragraphs.
That being said however, note that 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 at which the user holds the piping bag and the pressure applied.
Primary Designs That Star Piping Tips Form
The primary designs that star tips form include stars, shells, rosettes, flowers and fleur-de-lis.
There are three types of star tips and they are the french star, open star and closed star tips. These tips are in different sizes and are numbered as the manufacturer pleases. Like we mentioned try to find out whether the numbers stand for size or just product number.
Primary Designs That Plain or Round Piping Tips Form
The primary designs that plain or round piping tips form include dots, flower centers, outlining details, lace work, writing and lattice. These piping tips also come in different sizes.
Primary Designs That Basketweave Piping Tips Form
The primary design that basketweave tips are used to form are basketweave designs. These designs can either be serrated or smooth. These piping tips also come in different sizes.
Primary Design That Piping Tips with Multiple Holes (dot-like holes) Form
Piping tips with multiple holes are used to create grass or hair effect. They can also be used to pipe a bunch of strings, scallops and beads.
Primary Designs That Leaf Piping Tips Form
The primary design that leaf tips form is basically leaves. However, they can still be used for other designs; this depends largely on the imagination of the user.
Primary Design That Rose/flower Piping Tips Form
Flower piping tips are used to make flowers such as roses, daisies, carnation and pansies.
Primary Designs That Drop Flower Piping Tips Form
Drop flower piping tips form flowers with different petals in one squeeze. The number of the petals in the flower is determined by the number of holes in the tip.
Primary Designs That Ruffle Piping Tips Form
Ruffle piping tips are used to create swags, ruffles, ribbons, streamers and similar designs.
Primary Designs That Specialty Piping Tips Form
Specialty tips can be used to form uncommon designs such as hearts, bells,Christmas trees, cane and socks,snowflakes and flowers.
As the name implies specialty tips can only be used to form the design that is on the tip.
What Are Russian Piping Tips ?
Russian piping tips are also specialty piping tips but they are used to produce large sugar flowers in one squeeze.
Russian piping tips come in different sizes( some larger than others) and have a wide range of designs that you can choose from. These piping tips come in handy for decorating cupcakes and other baked goods that require large sugar/buttercream flowers.
These tips we have discussed so far 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?
There are several things that can help a beginner determine whether they need all the cake piping nozzles we have talked about or not.
If so, how would a beginner know what to buy with these myriads of piping nozzles that abound? Should a beginner go out and purchase all that’s available in the market seeing that all these nozzles produce different designs? We know that’s not possible but even if it was, that would be a huge waste of money.
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.
Why You Don’t Need All the Piping Nozzles
You do not need all the piping nozzles that are available because you can always improvise with just a few piping nozzles, Below are the basic piping tips that you must have:-
The Round Piping Tip
There’s a lot you can do with the round piping tip as it is a very versatile tip. You can use a round piping tip to pipe straight lines, write, make dots, and a host of many other designs.
The Star Piping Tip
The star piping tip comes in handy for decorating cake in different designs. You can also use star piping tips to pipe upright stars, borders on cakes, and all sorts. Like the round piping tip it’s quite versatile.
You can create amazing works of art with just a round tip, a star tip and a piping bag.
The Leaf Piping Tip
The leaf piping tip is very useful for creating leaf accents on cakes with flower designs.
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
There are several things to consider before you go shopping for cake piping nozzles and we would share them with you in this segment.
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 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?
Here are the most essential cake piping nozzles to have as a beginner. This set 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 When Considering The Piping Nozzle To Purchase?
Price matters when it comes to buying the best piping nozzle for you as a beginner. 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:
(i) Popularity of the brand – Brands that have gained popularity among cake decorators are more likely to have good quality cake piping nozzles. This would in turn make their products more expensive than other less popular brands.
(ii) Quality of material – The quality of materials used to make the cake piping nozzle is a great criteria to use when selecting a product to buy. This is because it would determine the durability and performance of the product. This would also as a matter of course affect the price of the product.
(iii) Demand– Products that are more in demand are most likely to more expensive than those that are still struggling to break into the market.
(iv) Celebrity endorsement– Products that have celebrity endorsement are by far costlier than those that don’t.
However, these 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 of Cake Piping Nozzles
The best cake piping nozzles to buy are those that are easy to 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?
That’s one of the reasons why it is important that a beginner starts with a decorating set. This is because you get the correct component of all you need when you buy a complete set.
Cake piping nozzles are best washed by hand. This is because a dishwasher can distort the shape of piping nozzles. That said however, 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 to use and clean up.
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.
The material a product is made from greatly determines its durability. Products made from poor quality material would definitely not last long.
The likelihood that you would get the most versatile tips is higher if you buy a basic cake decorating set.
However, if you decide to get only two or three piping nozzles, then consider the round, star and leaf tips.
You can cover a whole cake with amazing designs and effects with these tips.
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.
Here are some other great articles on cake decorating essentials:-
- Cake Boards – Covering the Bases
- Fondant Decorating Tools-Next Level!
- Cake Piping Kits – A Newbie’s Guide
- Gum Paste Flowers –Edible Decorations
- Cake Turntable: A Decorator’s Best Friend
- Gum Paste Flower Cutters- Creating Edible Flowers
Some Tips for Using Cake Piping Nozzles
Below are some tips for using cake piping nozzles
Assemble the Piping Bag and a Piping Nozzle
Assembling a piping bag and a piping nozzle is the most fundamental step in using 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. These steps are:-
(i)Fit the coupler into the piping bag
(ii)Put in the desired piping nozzle
(iii) 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 consistency of your icing.
You will know that 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
Always 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
Knowing how to unclog a blocked cake piping nozzle is an essential skill for any cake decorator.
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:
(i) First unscrew the nozzle from the piping bag
(ii) Secondly, use a toothpick to remove the icing
(iii) 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!
Cake Piping Nozzles – Related FAQs
How Do You Fit A Nozzle Into A Piping Bag?
Fitting a nozzle into a piping bag is a very simple process. All you have to do is follow these simple steps:-
(i) Place a coupler into a piping bag and push it to the tip of the piping bag.
(ii) Measure off the position of the opening of the coupler in the uncut piping bag and mark properly.
(iii) Bring out the coupler from the piping bag and cut the piping bag open at the marking.
(iv) Place the coupler back into the piping bag. At this point the opening of the coupler is exposed at the tip of the piping bag.
(v) Then fit in the piping nozzle onto the coupler and attach with the coupler ring.
Can You Use A Piping Bag Without A Nozzle?
You can use a piping bag without a nozzle. There are many reasons why one would want to use a piping bag without a nozzle and they include the following:-
(i) Piping fine lines, scrolls, swirls or wordings on a cake.
(ii) Piping out puff pastries or other such baked treats.
(iii) Situations where a piping nozzle is not readily available.
(iv) Piping innovative designs for which one does not have a piping nozzle.
All you have to do to use a piping bag without a nozzle is to cut the tip to the design that you want. If you want to use a piping bag for fine lines, scrolls, swirls or wordings on a cake, just cut a tiny bit off the tip of your piping bag. Ensure that you cut off just enough to allow the icing to pass through.
You can also fold the tip of the piping bag in different ways before cutting to get different designs.
Can You Use A Piping Bag Without A Coupler?
You can use a piping bag without a coupler by taking the following steps:-
(i) Get a fresh piping bag and place the piping nozzle that you want to use inside it. Push the nozzle to the uncut tip of the piping bag.
(ii) Measure off the tip of the piping bag to expose just the opening of the nozzle. Ensure the mark the point properly.
(iii) Bring out the nozzle from the piping bag and then cut the tip of the piping bag from the point that you mark.
Place the piping nozzle back into the piping bag and push to the tip that you have cut.
What Is The Best Piping Nozzle For Cupcakes?
There’s no one piping nozzle for cupcakes. But there are some particular piping nozzles that are best for decorating cupcakes. These piping nozzles are round piping nozzle, star piping nozzles, drop flower piping nozzle, rose/flower piping nozzle, leaf piping nozzle and specialty piping nozzles such as Russian piping tips.
Here are a few reasons why the piping nozzles we mentioned above are considered best for cupcakes:-
(i) The round and star piping nozzles give you freedom to be versatile with decorating your cupcake.
(ii) The drop flower, rose/flower piping nozzles would help you pipe beautiful flowers on your cupcake.
(iii) The leaf piping nozzles would help you accent the flowers on the cupcake and give it a life-like look.
(iv) The Russian piping tips make decorating cupcakes very fast because they pipe out large flowers at once.
So you best start out with these piping tips that we have mentioned if you specialize in making cupcakes. Your cupcakes would always come out looking great.