Sunday, October 3, 2010

Cake Decorating Basics - Part 7

This series has become a neglected child on this blog. Sorry about not having written this earlier. I haven't had a chance to decorate a cake for sometime now and I had no icing to even write anything like this. I made some icing just for this and I will use the same icing over and over again to write something about the use of basic tips in cake decoration.

You do not need to have all the tips they make. Couple of round tips, couple of star tips, a petal tip and a leaf tip will do most of the work. I am showing some of the borders you can make using a star tip today. I was piping on the wax paper on which, icing doesn't really stick and makes it slippery to pipe. And I have not colored the icing either so, please bear with not so nice pictures.

I used wilton icing made with all shortening. And I didn't use Meringue powder. It will be fine without that. I think it is a marketing gimmick to sell their meringue powder that the recipe has it added in it.
Here is the recipe for that:

Stiff consistency: (Used for roses, some string work and sweet pea)
Shortening - 1 cup (I used crisco, but a transfat shortening is recommended)
Powdered / Confectioner's sugar - 4 cups or 1 lb.
Water or Milk - 2 TBSP (I used water)
Vanilla/almond/butter extract - 1 tsp
Salt - a pinch (optional)

Medium Consistency: (Used for Borders, stars, petals)
All of the stiff consistency + 1 TBSP of water or milk

Thin Consistency: (Used for writing, leaves, dots)
All of the medium consistency + 1 TBSP of water or milk

If you are going to attempt trying what is written in this post, I am assuming you know how to make the icing. Just whip all together till smooth.

Now coming to piping. I have used a wilton star tip number 21. You can use 16, 17 also. I used 21 so that the piping will be bigger and more visible. And I have used medium consistency icing.
Stars - See how first couple are small and they are getting bigger to the right? I used more pressure to show that you can control the size. You don't have to stick to the size that tip give you. You could cover the design with stars, or make the border of stars. Use more than one color to get a pattern of your own. Hold the bag at 90 degrees (straight from the surface).
Same tip can be used to make zigzag pattern or a border. Just go up and down close enough to make a zig zag pattern. Bag needs to be held at 45  degrees from the surface.
This is not really a border, but you could use this and place some other piping in the curve to make a pattern. You could just place a dot or couple of dots or a star or a drop flower.
Coming to the rope border. Hold the bag at 45 degrees angle top of the bag pointing to 3 o' clock position. Pipe a 'S' which is sleeping. You will see 'S' if you turn it by 90 degrees. Pipe it close and place the tip on the inside of the 'S' and pipe one more sleeping 'S'. (I can't think of any better way to explain this) I have two pictures to show you what I mean.
Now coming to the famous and old Shell border. Bag position is at 45 degrees. Squeeze the icing and let icing lift the bag and then lower it down to the surface and stop squeezing. It was very hard to pipe on wax paper. Look at the top row. Bottom one is the zig zag which was already shown.
Reverse shell - Pipe a star and keep continuing to make it go around it closely and then shape it as a 'S'. Do the same but take the round in the opposite direction to get a reverse 'S' alternately leaving a tail and starting the next piping from the tail. Bag position is at 45 degrees from the surface.
Rossettes - Pipe a star and without breaking go around it to make a circle. Another variation can be made by starting at the outer side of a circle and bringing to the center. I like the first way better, but have shown you both. Bag position for both is 90 degrees.
Another border can be made by piping 'e' with the star tip. Bag position 45 degrees.
You can make a variation of the same above 'e' pattern to get something like this..
Puff Garland - Use a zigzag motion closely and increase the pressure in the middle and decrease the pressure towards the start and end. This used to be very famous many decades back. I have seen them in old wilton year books, but haven't seen anyone using it anymore. (I haven't seen all the cakes out there though so don't claim myself to be an expert) Bag position is 45 degrees.

Bottom line is, you don't have to have all fancy stuff to make something work. Couple of the things and a little creativity from your end will take care of basic stuff.

That's all for now. More in the next post of this series which, I promise will be sometime this week itself.

For those who have missed the series, here is a recap..
Cake Decorating Basics Part - I
Cake Decorating Basics Part - II
Cake Decorating Basics Part - III
Cake Decorating Basics Part - IV 
Cake Decorating Basics Part - V
Cake Decorating Basics Part - VI 

Have a great Sunday!! Pin It


  1. some great effort on your part to do all this..interesting to read but i am not a gr8 fan of icing:(

  2. you have done it with such a ease ... Its of great help for a novice baker like me ..great job

  3. thanks will be waiting for the next post

  4. love anything artistic and creative...use to bake and decorate almost everyweek when in india...seems all my creative stuff is lying way back as busy busy with my naughty toddler...great info though...keep up the good work...

  5. hey! i have recently came across your blog.. i must say its amazing... i have bookmarked loads of recipes.. with so much information for newbies..

    Thanks! Keep up the good work!!

  6. This is a great chapter. I would love to try my hand at this, but am not a big fan of over the top sweet icing. Maybe I will do cream cheese frosting as you suggested in other posts. Or maybe chocolate frosting.... that is yumm :)

  7. hellluuu...please tell me a perfect frosting.....i want to make roses and other decorations but i dont like to make frosting out of dalda coz ....i think it will not taste good and i think shortening is dalda right in india ?? so please tell me a good recipe to make roses and other decorations.. please please actually i tried making roses out of only butter but was not able

    1. You can refer to Cake decorating basics part 3 for various frostings. You can pipe pretty much anything with 1/2 butter and 1/2 shortening without any issues. But if you want to use all butter, it will be hard. Try using 75% butter and 25 % shortening. Add about 1/4 cup of corn starch (not corn flour) to the recipe where you use 1 pound butter plus some shortening. You will get better control to pipe roses. Also, adding some corn syrup as part of the liquid for frosting helps you get a smooth frosting while piping.


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