How to Pipe Icing onto a Cake
Knowing how to pipe icing onto a cake properly can mean the difference a masterpiece and a master-flop. The following ‘how to’ will help you design the ultimate finish for baked centrepiece goodness.
1- First get the consistency right. Add dry or wet ingredients to ensure that you get the consistency of the icing right. It should hold its form in the bowl. Too thick and the icing will crack and be difficult to pipe, too thin and it will not keep its shape.
2- Always pipe onto firmly set icing so that you can scrape off any errors easily. If you are writing text onto your cake, use a toothpick to mark out the letters as a guide before you pipe. You may find that you need runnier icing for fluid lines and letters.
3- Create pearls. To create simple pearls, use a small plain nozzle. Hold the bag upright, nearly touching the top of the cake. Squeeze gently from the top of the bag. Stop squeezing before you move the piping bag away. The same technique can be used with a star-shaped nozzle to create stars.
4- Do your edging carefully. Edging on cakes can be created by holding the piping bag fitted with a star nozzle at an angle to the cake. Squeeze out a generous star of icing. As you lower the tip, stop squeezing and pull toward you to create a pointed ‘tail’ of icing. Repeat until the edge of the cake is completely covered.
5- Create spirals. For a more elegant border, squeeze from the top of the bag to create a small clockwise spiral. Release the pressure at the bottom of the spiral. Overlapping this “shell”, pipe another spiral anti-clockwise. Continue, overlapping the shells.
Think carefully before considering colourings. You often need a hell of a lot of colouring for vibrancy. This may affect taste and texture. It’s better to choose lighter, more subtle colours.