Stocking up for Cake Decorating Part 1

I am not now nor have I ever been a professional cake decorator.  I have decorated my fair share of cakes when taking classes & practicing, but I just want to clarify I’m not a professional.  I’m not a beginner either.  Let’s say Amateur.  Does that work?

I just thought I would share a few tips with you on how to make your life easier when decorating cakes.  Things I’ve learned that work for me, whether I came up with it on my own or the teacher I had showed me.

Let’s start out with the basics – that would include bags, tips, & couplers.

Ok first off – Piping Bags.  You have many choices out there.  These reusable bags are fabulous, however you can see sometimes they get a little dingy looking.  As long as you clean them, they’re great.  Dawn used to make a foaming soap, it worked great at cleaning them.

Next you need to choose size.  Generally a 10in is the best bet for the more intricate work you are doing.  If you watch Cake Boss, he has huge bags, well I’d love to learn his method but until he teaches me, this is what I use :).

Your next two options happen to be a 16in bag which is great for icing the cake.  You’ll need the big tip which I’ll show you in just a bit, but it works miracles when initially icing a cake.  One thing though, seems like it uses a bit more icing so you have to be prepared :).

Then you have the disposable bag option.  I like this option personally.  It makes for quick and easy clean up but sometimes depending on how many you use, it can get expensive :).  Just keep in mind and use what works best for you.  I keep both on hand because they all have their handiness (is that really a word?)

Next a good Rose Nail.  This helps you in making those fancy dancy roses to top your cake and make it look pretty.  Back in the day I sat and made 30 roses out of icing just to practice and then brought them to work for co-workers to eat on top of graham crackers.  Yup, I’m cool like that.

Ok so to coupler or not to coupler, that is the question.  For the reusable bags, generally you’ll need to because you already have the holes cut.  For the disposable bags though, you can do with or without the couplers.  General experience though, the couplers are heaven sent.  If you need to switch out a tip they are handy, you just screw the cap off change the tip and you’re ready to run again.  Plus, just as a suggestion, have many, many, many of these handy dandy bad boys! You’ll thank me!

Ok so moving on to tips.  I have a ton of tips, I should really count them sometime, but not tonight.  My suggestion on tips if you’re buying them individually and want the best bang for your buck would be to get: 2 sizes of star tips.  They are probably the most commonly used tip.  Anyway I use them a lot.  Next get 2 sizes of just circles.  A smaller size, about a 5 (4 pictured, I couldn’t find my 5) and a 12.  The 12 is used for making the base to your rose.  Speaking of that, you’ll want the rose tip, number 104 (these are the Wilton numbers by the way, I’m not sure it makes a difference).  Finally you’ll want number 67 which is the leaf tip.  When you get it, you’ll notice that the tip is really close together.  Pry it apart just a bit… you can see mine isn’t touching.  Trust me you’ll thank me here too.  It makes a world of difference.

Now with the 16in bag, you’ll want the very very large tip, number 789.  It is a flat tip that will be straight edge on one side and a jagged edge on the other.  It only works with the bigger bag.

So what are some of your favorite Tips to use in decorating?  What are some you recommend having?

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