Tips To Make Piping On The Sides Of A Cake Easier?

Decorating By Citrina Updated 14 Aug 2008 , 7:55pm by SugarFrosted

Citrina Posted 6 Aug 2008 , 5:12am
post #1 of 22

I've got a cake coming up soon that requires a TON of piping swirls and scrolls on several tiers. I can pipe pretty well on a flat surface, write on cakes, etc., but I really have a rough time on sides of cakes.

Any tips and tricks to make it easier? There might be some magic technique or something I've completely missed. ...I hope. icon_rolleyes.gif

21 replies
ShortcakesSweets Posted 6 Aug 2008 , 5:41am
post #2 of 22

The thing that I have found that helps me most when I am piping on the side of a cake is to put the cake at about eye level. I always put the cake on the turntable then sit it on top of my large tip/accessory case (or "tackle box" as my DH refers to it).

gateaux Posted 6 Aug 2008 , 5:41am
post #3 of 22

Welcome to cc:

Sorry there is no easy way!

There is a special tilting turntable for cake decorating:

The other thing you could do is use a small cookbook 1 inch or so with many anti slip mats an just have your cake tilted a little so it's easier.

Good Luck.

Citrina Posted 6 Aug 2008 , 5:45am
post #4 of 22

Thanks for the tips! I'll make sure to try it.

And thank you for the welcome! I look forward to posting here lots and lots. icon_wink.gif

ShortcakesSweets Posted 6 Aug 2008 , 9:26pm
post #5 of 22

When you keep the cake at eye level, to me it's not THAT difficult to pipe on the side of the cake. Just make sure you steady your piping hand with your other hand and if possible, maybe even steady your arm on the side of the table/counter. Hope this helps. icon_biggrin.gif

SeriousCakes Posted 7 Aug 2008 , 12:09am
post #6 of 22

Definitely eye level, I usually either sit on a chair with a small step stool on top, or I tilt ny turntable, depends on how much my feet hurt icon_lol.gif

gateaux Posted 12 Aug 2008 , 4:11am
post #7 of 22

I agree with everything ShortcakesSweets said.

The eye level things. A few times I have sat on a low chair and had the cake on the counter - much higher than at a table.

I often grad the wrist of my arm that is holding your piping bag. I find I get better control on the sides. This does not work so well for me on the surface of the cake as I loose perspective and my extra arm gets into things.... not fun!

Good Luck.

cakemommy Posted 12 Aug 2008 , 4:19am
post #8 of 22

I agree with everyone. Working with the cake at eye level is best. I sometimes will sit on a chair that puts me below the level of my cake. Other times I will prop and tilt my cake on a couple of books with non skids all over the place so my cake has NO chance of slipping. I even put some in between my books JUST IN CASE!!!!

That tilting turntable looks like Wilton's. Unless they have improved it, it is NOT worth the money. Don't waste your time. If any one has had success with it then what's your secret?


debster Posted 12 Aug 2008 , 4:38am
post #9 of 22

I've been meaning to write Wilton on that piece of poo tilt thing. I lost a cake using that thing. The whole table thing fell backwards and whammo went the whole cake. I don't know if it's because it's plastic it doesn't lock good or what. Either Wilton has a good item or a bad item. If anyone has luck with it let me know. What a waste of money even though I got it 40% off.

tonedna Posted 12 Aug 2008 , 4:55am
post #10 of 22

I like to work eye level too!
Edna icon_biggrin.gif

LeckieAnne Posted 12 Aug 2008 , 4:56am
post #11 of 22

I have the NEW wilton tilting turntable and I like it -- just won't work well I don't think for a very large cake. It's got a non-slip base that grips pretty well too. The only thing I don't like is that the top (turntable part) seems a little wobbly - but it really doesn't go anywhere.

bethyboop Posted 12 Aug 2008 , 5:16am
post #12 of 22

ditto on the wilton tilting turn table being a hunk of junk!!!!
I have found that it does not matter the size of the cake, I lost an 8in round--yup! slid right off. Oh yeah, the "locking button" doesn't lock anything at all. pushed one way or the other, it still comes apart.

hear hear, i think eye level works best also!

good luck and post pic!

bethyboop Posted 12 Aug 2008 , 5:16am
post #13 of 22

ditto on the wilton tilting turn table being a hunk of junk!!!!
I have found that it does not matter the size of the cake, I lost an 8in round--yup! slid right off. Oh yeah, the "locking button" doesn't lock anything at all. pushed one way or the other, it still comes apart.

hear hear, i think eye level works best also!

good luck and post pic!

tonedna Posted 12 Aug 2008 , 5:19am
post #14 of 22

I dont like the tilting table. I think is more of problem. Is just a matter of practicing and getting used to working on the side of the cake. With practice it becomes second nature. But then again..that's just my opinion..icon_redface.gif
Edna icon_biggrin.gif

debster Posted 12 Aug 2008 , 2:24pm
post #15 of 22

Edna .......when I've done as many cakes as you it will be second nature. icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif love your cakes. I really need to practise piping on a dummie cake, but don't make the time. Think I will. Thanks all for the inspiration eye level it is. Oh another thing for those of you that free hand, what's the trick to get each S and C consistant in size. I know I know PRACTISE!!!!! icon_biggrin.gif

tonedna Posted 12 Aug 2008 , 3:22pm
post #16 of 22

Is like writing acostume your hand to writing, is the same with the piping. My swirls and your swirls might never be exactly the same size.
It really depends on your hand, and the ability to move with your bag and keep the pressure on it.
The consistency of your icing helps too. Ypu dont want really hard icing. And too soft make squiggles.

I just had a student yesterday, I told her how proud I was of her. I thought she was going to give up. After 3 months of trying cake decorating, something finally click on her. She did a spectacular cake yesterday, and her face just glow.
I love teaching!!!
This is all about practice, and things will get better!
Edna icon_biggrin.gif

shellzey Posted 12 Aug 2008 , 3:32pm
post #17 of 22

from what i have learned from painting for many years as well as cake decorating is stabilizing your hand. either both elbows on your work surface or atleast your alternate elbow and then brace your forearm so you can have smoother movement. this also helps with being able to pipe longer. your arm won't get as tired.

hope this helps

cakemommy Posted 12 Aug 2008 , 4:35pm
post #18 of 22

Absolutely! What every one is saying. Eye level, patience, a steady arm and practice. You'll get into a groove and before you know it you'll be moving right along and everything will be even and consistent. I use my free hand to hold on to my piping hand at my wrist and help guide and steady it. As far as turntables go, I have one that I bought at Ikea! I think stores like Target or Kmart would have them. The one I have is about 14". I also have a giganto one that came with my dining room table. It's meant to be used as a Lazy Susan but I just keep it under my bed and use it when I have an enormous sheet cake or a tiered cake to do.


Citrina Posted 14 Aug 2008 , 6:41am
post #19 of 22

Thank you, everyone!

I started the cake today and it went much better than I anticipated. I sat down and did it on a regular turntable so it was eye level, and you're right-- after about half a 6" of practice I just got into a groove. By the end of it I was surprising myself with how fast I managed to go at the same quality as before when I was crawling!

I'll post a picture when the piping's done!

SugarFrosted Posted 14 Aug 2008 , 8:16am
post #20 of 22

You are probably done by now, but I have one more suggestion.
I don't do a lot of "stuff" on sides of cakes, but when I do I have terrible time of it. A while back the subject of the Wilton tilting turntable came up and how unstable it is. I had been thinking of buying one, but decided not to. I came up with a more stable version to use.
I have an 18"turntable that I always use when working on cakes, it has a circle of that non-slip mesh we all use. I had an extra 4"ring binder, I use them to store my cake decorating magazines. I taped the edges together with packing tape and wrapped a length of that non-slip mesh around the binder and set it on my turntable. I also set my trim'n'turn turntable (from the Wilton courses)on top of that and added another circle of non-slip mesh. It will turn, but nothing slides. You could set it on a box to make it higher. I sit on a tall stool a lot while I work, so on my high table is fine for me. It works very well, and doesn't dump cakes like the Wilton one has done for several here.

debster Posted 14 Aug 2008 , 12:24pm
post #21 of 22

Wow sugarfrosted that's a great idea, unless I missed it which I could of eyes aren't totally opened yet, what held the top cirle underneath to the binder? Thanks thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif

SugarFrosted Posted 14 Aug 2008 , 7:55pm
post #22 of 22

The binder sits directly on the non-slip mesh circle on top of the big turntable...and it doesn't slide. The strip of non-slip mesh that wraps around the binder can wrap the whole way around, or just a couple of inches can tuck under to anchor it, as shown in the pictures. I forgot to mention earlier that the slant of binder really makes an easier working angle on the cake side. Although I have not tried anything as large as this yet, you could probably work on something as big as a 12" round on it.

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