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Piping Cake Icing - Help!

(13 Posts)
NanaNina Thu 12-Mar-15 19:16:41

Please can anyone give me simple instructions on how to ice a cake. I'm not talking anything fancy, but I just want to pipe a few swirls round the edge of a cake, or pipe a pattern on small cakes or biscuits. I've tried everything - those old fashioned piping tubes with two circles/holes at the sides and different nozzles (hurts my hands and icing gets stuck and ends up in a mess) icing bags that I see them use on The Bake Off with the greatest of ease. I can't work out how to make the nozzle stick on the end of the bag and another mess) some plastic sort of concertina bottles in various sizes with easy to use nozzles - thought I'd cracked it but only worked with fresh cream - with icing - same mess as usual!

I've tried fondant icing, ordinary icing made with water, butter cream but always ends is a mess.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Opheliabumps Thu 12-Mar-15 22:07:01

You need to use royal icing, it's made with egg white and icing sugar (and glycerine if it's for something like a wedding cake that's going to sit around for a while before it's eaten - stops it setting too hard).

I use pasteurised dried egg white, as it's safer for children and the elderly than fresh raw egg white, you can get it in the baking aisle.

TittyBojangles Thu 12-Mar-15 22:08:10

This might be totally wrong but doesn't the nozzle go inside the bag rather than sticking on the end?

Opheliabumps Thu 12-Mar-15 22:48:26

Yes titty the nozzle goes inside the bag grin

NanaNina Fri 13-Mar-15 00:56:04

Thanks for replies. Ophelia surely I wouldn't need royal icing just for a bit of decoration on a sponge cake or cupcakes? Is that the icing that goes really hard and is used on wedding cakes, or Christmas cakes.

I'm really looking for ways to actually pipe the icing and what is the best thing to use. Yes I know the nozzle goes inside the bag, but on Bake Off they seem to have a something on the outside of the bag to hold the nozzle in place?

AGnu Fri 13-Mar-15 01:04:12

Yes, you want royal icing. You can make it to whatever consistency you need depending on what you're doing. I've only recently started using it but it's so much better than butter icing. I just use a box of "royal icing sugar" & you'd want to make it up to about toothpaste consistency for piping. My piping bag doesn't have anything on the outside, once the icing's in it tends to stay where I put it, I just have to be careful not to squeeze too hard or it starts coming out around the edge.

21pc Fri 13-Mar-15 02:31:48

What you see on bake off is probably a coupler like this?
It makes no difference it just means you can change the nozzle easier if doing multiple forms of piping

Opheliabumps Fri 13-Mar-15 20:31:27

Honestly, royal icing is the trick. I made red nose cakes today with faces piped on in royal icing. It doesn't go hard for a few days/weeks, so is still nice and soft on sponge cakes and biscuits.
The only other icing that pipes reliably is the stuff you get massive swirls of on cupcakes, but I've never liked that much icing so I've never tried to make it.

NanaNina Fri 13-Mar-15 22:23:18

OK - but I like the sound of the Royal Icing Sugar in the pack and then you presumably just add cold water/colouring/flavouring? I don't like those massive swirls on cupcakes either but what sort of icing is it, as you wouldn't need to do so many swirls would you.

Thanks again to everyone

Oxfordblue Mon 16-Mar-15 18:27:40

I use butter cream as that's what goes on cup/fairy cakes !

The key imo is getting the consistency spot on. If you look for magnolia bakery recipes or Primrose bakery books, they use a higher proportion of icing sugar to butter & than milk. It's extremely hard to pipe butter cream which is too stiff.

I uses 1E nozzle & it's lovely. But I do swirl the butter cream all over the cake.

Oxfordblue Mon 16-Mar-15 19:02:24

This is what I do. You could use a smaller nozzle if you want smaller, obviously !

fatmumma Tue 28-Jul-15 10:05:21

wow they look fab Oxford - i've tried piping something similar using butter icing and royal icing both times turned into a such a mess that i smoothed out the awful swirls and put chocolate chips on the top

I with you NanaNina my attempts at icing turns into a mess

stealthsquiggle Tue 28-Jul-15 10:15:13

Definitely royal icing, and definitely buy the pack of royal icing sugar.

The trick is to beat it for a long time - much longer than you think - and once you get the consistency right then life will be a whole lot easier.

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