My favorite cakes to look at are those with intricate piping and because I am a terrible line piper, I am determined to practice it and get better. I am looking at my latest creation which has swirls with straight line sections, side piping that is not totally connected to the cake and UGLY thick lines so wanted to get some answers here:
The Wilton book I have recommends holding the piping back at 45o at 3:00 for writing or line work. When doing a swirl, do you rotate the piping bag around the swirl or keep it at the 3:00 position?
Should the piping tip be touching the cake, or do you allow the line to "fall" out from the tip?
Are thickened lines done using pressure alone or do you ever go over piped lines twice.
It is essential to have a tilting table to do the sides? How do you makes sure that the lines stay attached to the cake?
Also, when you are doing a big swirly pattern, do you "map" out the pattern somehow or just go with the flow. The best of these cakes always look like the cake artist just went with the flow, so I'm wondering if this is the reality.
Thanks for any help!
PS: Any tips for post piping hand fatigue?
So many variables .....
"Thicker" piping can be achieved by using a larger tip (a #7 instead of a #3) or by double layering. A technique I used years ago is to use a small star tip as the base then use a writing tip to go over it. I found the grooves in the star tip gave a 'ledge' for the tip #4 to sit on. You can see this technique on this cake: http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1264153 I piped 2 layers using 2 different star tips, then used a writing tip with orange icing to put the top line on.
Hand cramps can be reduced by using a thinner icing, which also helps the piping go on smoother.
I can't say I've ever figured out what degree angle to use. I just held the bag up and squeezed the icing out.
If the tip actually touches the cake, it will leave a kind of groove (I've done this accidentally a few times). I hold my tip above the cake ... barely.
I dont' own a tilting turntable.
To map out scrolls, I use a pattern press. now, after a few years of doing this, you get to where you can free-hand it .... but I still like my presses! For piping (swags, stringwork, etc), I've always kinda freehanded it. I might mark with a toothpick how big I want the piped swags to be, but otherwise, I've always eye-balled it. I think this is something that each person needs to find their own comfort level. Try a few techniquest and see which one works best for you.
Debi I love those rosebuds! I'm a lefty and can't make a rosebud to save my life, any tips?
I've taught a 10 year old girl to make those for her 4H project and she took all blue ribbons, but I've no idea how to translate it for a lefty! I usually make them right on the cake .... my married daughter thinks I'm *SO* talented to be able to do that. (I've got her SO snowed!)
Thanks for all the tips Indydebi.