Baked goods displayed in bakeries and bake shops look awesome and we often wonder how these works of art were created. Though most of them don’t taste as awesome as they look, the decorations draw us in. With a cake piping set, you too can create awesome works of culinary arts. And what’s more, your baked goods can taste as awesome as they look.
A cake piping set helps every cake decorator to share their imagination with others. Baked goods can be served without frosting and piping on them but why stop at the ordinary? With just a basic cake piping set, you can always wow with your cakes and baked goods.
Components of a Cake Piping Set
A basic cake piping set comprises of piping bags/piping guns, piping nozzles, couplers, flower nails and templates. You can buy these components in a set or you can decide to buy them individually.
There are also some other items that comes in handy when decorating a cake; they include a cake turntable, a straight and an offset spatula and an icing scraper.
We are going to give you tips on how to choose the best of these components. We’ll also throw in a few tips on how to use and care for them.
A piping bag is the most important item in a cake piping set. You can’t use any of the other items without a piping bag but you can use a piping bag without the other items. The piping bag determines the size and type of the other items that you’ll require.
That said, here are a few things you need to bear in mind as you go shopping for a piping bag. These tips apply whether you are buying a cake piping set or just a piping bag.
Tips for Choosing the Best piping Bags
Type of Recipes You Make Often
The type of recipe you make often is an important issue to consider before you buy a cake piping set. This is because piping bags are made of different materials; these materials include plastic, silicone, fabric and nylon.
There are materials that don’t deal well with hot items. If you’ll be making a lot of hot recipes, then you’ll best consider silicone and fabric piping bags. Reusable piping bags are a no no for items such as hot fudge and mashed potatoes. They are not heavy duty enough to withstand the heat of the recipe.
Ease of Use
Disposable piping bags are easy to use especially for professional cake decorators. But for those who are just learning the ropes of piping, a piping gun is usually easier to use.
Fabric or canvas piping bags can be a pain to use because of the way grease oozes out of the body of the piping bag. This makes these bags ideal for less greasy recipes; they are also ideal for hot recipes.
There are piping bags that have nylon coatings. No matter the outer material, the coating would determine the type of recipe it would work best with.
You may never know off hand which piping bag is easiest for you to use because of personal preferences. Tips and tutorials only make it easier for you to know which type of piping bag to start off with.
Ease of Cleaning
The easiest to clean piping bags are the disposable bags. Ha! Of course they are because they are disposable lol. Just fill your piping bags, pipe away and toss when you are done. Yeah they are easy to use but in the long run, they are not cost effective.
Disposable piping bags may be great for people who use them sparingly. If you do a lot of piping, you best buy the reusable piping bags.
Fabric/canvas piping bags are the most difficult to clean because they retain more grease than other types. The easiest reusable piping bags to clean are the nylon coated ones. However all types of piping bags can be cleaned properly with warm soapy water.
Functionality and Cost
There are piping bags that you can use for more than piping frosting or icing. If you would be using the piping bag to make things other than icing or frosting, look for heavy duty bags. If you buy lightweight piping bags, you’ll not be able to use them for heavy recipe.
Though some heavyweight piping bags are more costly than the lightweight ones, the functionality makes the cost worthwhile.
It is better to buy top quality piping bags that would withstand heavy duty use and all kinds of recipes.
Piping nozzles are made of metal or plastic and there’s a wide variety of these piping nozzles. They are also categorized by the design that they produce. Thus you have piping nozzles that are known as round tips, star tips, shell tips and so on.
Types of Piping Nozzles
Metal Piping Nozzles
Most professional cake decorators like to use metal piping nozzles. They argue that metal nozzles have more defined details than the plastic ones and are easier to clean. Metal piping nozzles also come in a wide variety of tips and sizes.
One other advantage of the metal nozzles is that they can withstand heat and so are appropriate for hot recipes.
The disadvantages of metal nozzles include being susceptible to rust and getting bent out of shape.
Plastic piping Nozzles
Plastic piping nozzles do not rust or bend out of shape; this makes them last for a long time. However, they are quite difficult to clean; they retain grease and dirt more than the metal ones. They are also transparent, a fact some decorators find to be an advantage.
Though some brands of plastic piping nozzles claim to be microwave safe, plastic piping nozzles are not heat resistant. This means that they are not ideal for piping hot recipes.
No matter the type of piping nozzle you choose to use, it’s best to get the basic piping nozzles that come with a cake piping set.
Russian Piping Tips
Russian tips also known as flower tips are all the rage these days. They are usually large sized and are used to make novelty designs. These specialty tips are ideal for piping on cupcakes and other baked goods.
They are usually packaged in sets of 12,24,30 , 50 or as the manufacturer desires. They do not come as part of a cake piping set; like being part of a set with piping bags, couplers, small tips and other cake decoration tools. We mention them here because they are a wonderful piping accessory.
These tips make piping flowers of any variety a delight. There are some that are used to make flowers in one squeeze and they are called one squeeze tips. There are others that are known as the petal tips and they can be used to create any size of petal or flowers.
The Russian tips create stunning 3D flowers and other decorations. You can only use large piping bags for Russian tips; this is because they are large sized tips. The options of what can be piped with these tips are endless.
Additional Thoughts on Piping Nozzles
When you get a piping nozzle that you don’t know the exact design it would give here’s what to do. Get a practice board and pipe out designs using different angles and pressure. This exercise would let you know what kind of design you would get at the different angles and with a certain amount of pressure.
Remember that there are a wide variety of piping nozzles and they come in various sizes. What this means it that you have to note the size of the piping bags you’d use the nozzles with. This is especially important if you are buying the nozzles independent of the piping bags.
Couplers are those rings and screws that are used to attach piping tips to piping bags. They come in basically three sizes and these sizes would fit almost all kinds of piping bags. Although some decorators can use a piping bag without tips, piping tips provide more control and details.
When you use a piping bag with tips, couplers help to hold the tips in place. They come in handy when you have to decorate with more than one tip. You can easily change the tips fast and conveniently if you use couplers.
Couplers are made of plastic and are mostly white in color or translucent; no that the color has anything to do with the performance.
Tips for Cake Flower Nails
There butter or royal icing flowers that need to be piped petal by petal in a continuous circle. A flower nail makes that easier and fast. You hold the nail in one hand and use the other hand to hold the piping bag and pipe the flower.
A flower nail is an essential item in a cake piping set especially if you don’t have Russian tips. Although you can make small flowers with Russian tips, there are some delicate flowers that can best be achieved by using small tips. So when you are using these small tips, the flower nails come in handy.
Flowers nails are not complicated in design and are also easy to use. All flower nails have one design (a nail with a wide head) ; the only difference in each may be the size.
Flower Nail Templates
Piping icing flowers on flower nails go better with templates especially if you are new to piping flowers.
Flower nail templates are convenient stickers that serve as guides when you are piping icing flowers. They help you to get the right placement and size of your petals. There are templates for all sorts of flowers such as roses, lilies,tulips and sunflowers.
All you need to do is to stick a template on your flower nail, put a clear paper square over it and trace the pattern. This would guide you to get the right shape and size of flower that you need.
When you are done piping, you remove the paper square from the nail to a platter or tray. You can also decide to move the flower directly from the nail to your cake. You can do this with a flower lifter.
The flower lifter is a scissor like tool that allows you to lift off the icing flower without damaging its petals. They are most often made with plastic. If you are getting flower nails and
, you might as well get a flower lifter.
It won’t do to damage your finished flowers in the course of transferring them to the cake or baked goods.
Straight and Off Set Icing Spatulas
Icing spatulas are made up of blunt metal blades that are attached to a wooden or plastic handle; they have rounded tips. Icing spatulas come in two varieties and different sizes.
There are straight spatulas and offset spatulas. The offset spatulas are angles towards the handle side. The size of spatulas range from 5 inches to 14 inches. This size refers to the blade alone.
Both types of spatulas are ideal for different kinds of tasks and feel different to handle to different people. They are used to spread batter in cake pans, scoop icing/frosting and spread icing on cake
It is recommended that a cake decorator has at least two of each type of icing spatula.
Factors to Consider When Buying Icing Spatulas
The size of a spatula determines the kind of task you can efficiently accomplish. When you are frosting cupcakes, small cakes,rectangular or square cakes up to 9 inches, 8 inches straight and 5 inches offset spatulas would work fine. For bigger cakes , the longer icing spatulas would work better.
So consider the size of baked goods you make often as you make your purchase.
The flexibility of an icing spatula depends on individual preference.
some people have more flexibility in their wrist while others have more rigid wrist.
You might have to try out different products till you find out what works for you.
Alternatively, you might just have to rely on reviews and cake fora to help you make the right choice.
A cake turntable is a stand that revolves. This stand has a flat surface on which you can place your cake or baked goods as you work.
The revolving feature allows you to frost and pipe on your cake without stress.
A cake turntable is especially useful when you have to pipe continuous patterns on the border of your cake. You do not have to keep turning around to get around the cake. The turntable does the revolving for you while you hold your piping bag steady and firm.
You can frost and decorate a cake without a cake turntable but ease and effeciency comes with using a cake turntable.
If you are a serious cake decorator or intend to bake for business,then you need a cake turn table.
Tips for Buying the Right Cake Turntable
You have to consider the size of cakes you bake most often. this would help you determine whether you want a plastic or metal cake turntable.
If you bake large cakes, you would require a heavy duty turntable. Although there are plastic turntables that are heavy duty, metal turntables are more guaranteed to be heavy duty.
Ease of Rotation or Flexibility
Check to be sure that the turntable you want to buy is flexible. this means that it rotates smoothly. what good would a stiff turntable do you? None.
the essence of a turntable is to have something that would spin smoothly and allow you to reach all sides of your cake without moving around.
There are many designs of cake turntables and each is ideal for different types of decoration.
Read reviews of the product you are thinking of buying to find out how best each design works.
Buying a Cake Piping Set or Getting Individual Components
There are some pros and cons to getting cake piping sets or buying the components individually.
For a beginner cake decorator, your best bet might be to look for the most basic cake piping set. With a beginner cake piping set, you are sure to get the requisite tools you need to do your piping and decorations.
As your cake piping skill improves, you now have better insight as to the kind of tools you need in your cake piping set.
For professional cake decorators, cake piping sets might not be the way to go. Chances are that you might not need most of the tools in the basic cake piping set. Buying components of the cake piping set individually allows the user to have more options.
This option however would only be useful if you really know what works best for you.
If you want to try your hands at piping and cake decoration, there are many resources both offline and online. We believe that with these few tips that we’ve shared, you have gained an understanding of cake piping sets. You can also check out tutorials to know how to use cake piping sets or which of the components works best for you.