There are nine or so main types of icing/decorating tips, with each type having different sizes available. This week’s blog will take a look at the types tips and what they may be useful for – or how they could be used.
It’s handy to have two or three of the most used nozzles (ie. round, star) in the same size so you don’t have to worry about wasting icing and washing bags when changing colours. All standard size decorating tips can be used with a coupler.
A coupler is a two-piece plastic device that fits onto your decorating bag and holds the decorating tip in place. It’s great for when you want to change decorating tips without changing bags, such as when you are using different tips with the same colour icing. The coupler base goes inside the cut piping bag to hold the tip in place, while the coupler ring twists around the base on the outside of the bag to attach the tip. Just twist off the ring to change tips. It is important to keep tips clean and free from built up or crusted, old icing for crisp, neat piping. Metal tips that don’t dry properly may rust, so it is important to take good care of them – they will last a very long time if you do.
Round tips are used so frequently it is practical to have a wide variety of sizes on hand. This smooth, round nozzle is an essential in decorating as it can be used for outlining, writing, flooding, line work, stems of flowers, swirls, dots, balls, lacework…and the list goes on! They are even great in large sizes to quickly apply frosting to cupcakes in neat swirls.
Star tips come in two different types – open or closed. They can be used for decorative boarders, star flowers, rosettes, shells and for piping coloured icing onto a 3D sculpted cake; like a bear or car. Like round tips, large star tips can also be used to top cupcakes with mounds of frosting in a number of ways. The beautiful rose swirls on cakes and cupcake are achieved by using a large star tip.
The easiest flower to make with a piping bag, this tip will give you a pretty blossom with just one squeeze of the piping bag…and if you add a slight twist as you pipe, it will give you a different looking blossom with the same tip. The number of openings in the tip is equivalent to the number of petals on the flower. The post in the centre of the tip creates an empty centre and full, detailed petals.
Petal tips vary from having a long, tear-drop shaped tip to curved tear-drop shapes and narrow S shapes. They are wide at one end and narrower at the other. They can be used to create petals for roses, carnations, daisies, fan shaped petals and other blossoms.
Leaf tips are used to create realistic looking leaves, petals and poinsettias. V-shaped leaf tips, work well for leaves with fine pointed ends. Depending on how you hold and use the nozzle leaves can be plain or ruffled.
Basket-weave tips are wonderful for woven designs. These decorating tips have a smooth side for making smooth, wide icing stripes and/or a serrated side for making ribbed or textured, wide icing stripes. This tip is also good for ruffles, shell-like borders and ribbon effects – not just basket weaves.
Tips with multiple openings – like two or three holes, can pipe a number of parallel lines or dots at the one time. Great for saving time with an intricate design or even for getting music bar lines straight and even. A special tip in this category pipes bundles of piped lines at a time and is a great effect for hair, fur or grass.
Similar to the petal tip, the ruffle tips are tear-drop shaped nozzles that are thin, curved or keyhole-like. Good for creating ribbons, ruffles and covering cupcakes, they are also useful for boarders, edging, bows and scalloped edges.
There are several other tips that are available for various uses. The bismark tip, for example, is great for filling cupcakes with luscious, oozy centres. Chrysanthemum tips have a U-shaped tip that create long, cupped petals, and there are various other specialty tips that allow very precise, specific designs and decorations to be piped. These specialty tip pipe decorations like, hearts, crosses and trees. they are awesome to have, but compared to the other tips you might like to collect, they won’t be used as often (if you like goopy-centred cupcakes the bismark may actually be over used!)
I have found some video demonstrations on You Tube that I think show you a few good piping basics when decorating cupcakes. These are simple ‘everyone coulds have a go’ type techniques that will make your cupcakes look outstanding. They don’t show you how to make intricate piped details or piped flowers.
1. Xanthe Milton decorates cupcakes showing 3 types of piping
2. Sue McMahon (UK WW Editor) shows you how to pipe flower cupcakes (she even shows you how to make a fondant/flower paste butterfly)