If you are anything like me, you have wondered time and time again how others pipe icing onto cupcakes so effortlessly. Twirls and swirls of buttercream piled high on a soft little cake, resulting in cupcakes that are too pretty to refuse. Icing cupcakes has been something I've wanted to master for some time. So say goodbye to those cupcakes slathered with messy dollops of icing with these simple tips and tricks I have learnt along the way.
The Piping Nozzle.
First things first - the piping nozzle is important. Strangely, in Australia at least, it seems most piping kits come with a selection of nozzles that are all really really small. I couldn't understand why my icing always squirted out in small worm-like shapes, while others were getting these generous rounds of icing. It's all about the nozzle. As soon as I found a large star-like nozzle, it made all the difference. I really can't stress this enough. So if you are having trouble, make sure you get hold of a nice big nozzle.
The Piping Bag.
I only recently discovered the difference the piping bag also makes. I have actually just started using plastic piping bags for my cupcakes. I found that the fabric one I was using originally, didn't have enough 'give' in it and was a bit too rigid. This is a problem as you won't be able to get a smooth run of icing but will often have air bubbles. This does not work when trying to make pretty mounds and swirls of icing. The best part of using disposable plastic bags is you can throw them away when finished - less washing up!
The final clue to the icing cupcakes puzzle, is the icing. You need nice thick icing in order for it to hold its shape. When I'm using buttercream icing, you could literally turn the bowl upside down and nothing would come out - that's how thick it is. Of course, it's still got to taste good, so getting the balance is important. Keep playing with the measurements of butter and icing sugar until you get the right consistency.
And remember practise makes perfect!
Do you have any more tips for icing beautiful cupcakes?