How to Ice a Cake

The Ultimate Guide to Cake Piping Tips, Tricks and Techniques

The Ultimate Guide to Cake Piping Tips, Tricks and Techniques

Seasoned bakers make piping look so easy, but when you try it on your own, it can be quite tricky. We say the best way to master piping is through constant practice. Once you get the hang of it, you can start getting more creative with your designs.

Yes, you can pipe your cake like a pro! We’re here to teach you the best piping tips so your cakes will always look like a work of art.

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Different piping tips

Piping Techniques To Turn You Into a Pro

Let’s get you started in piping like a true cake master with these techniques: 

1M Swirl

There’s nothing more classic than the cupcake swirl. Fill up your piping bag with buttercream frosting and then use a 1M piping nozzle. It’s also alright to change the nozzle to a tip 2D or 2A if you like more texture to the swirl.

Hold your piping bag about an inch above the middle of a cupcake or cake. Put pressure on the piping bag, allowing the buttercream frosting to come out of the nozzle and into the cupcake. Keep putting pressure on the piping bag, and raise the tip a little bit while making a circular motion. Once the first rotation is done, lift the tip up a little and complete another rotation. Continue doing this until you reach your desired height, stop squeezing the piping bag and quickly lift it up. 

Star Technique 

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Star piping tips technique

Another useful piping technique you should master is the star pipe. It’s also quite easy and can help add interesting dimensions and texture to the cake.

This technique is one of the easiest to master. Simply hover the piping bag with the star tip on the surface of your cupcake or cake. Squeeze the piping bag to release some buttercream frosting. Dip the tip a little bit before you release the pressure from the piping bag. Stop squeezing before lifting it up. 

Rosette Technique

Those tiny floral accents can elevate the look of your cake. You can achieve this look by using a 1M or 2D tip. If you like smaller rosettes, you can opt for smaller nozzles as well.

Start with the star technique. Squeeze some buttercream frosting on the cake, and press it down a little bit before lifting the tip up. While still squeezing the piping bag, gently run it to the side just above the star frosting you did. Do a circular motion and when you reach the starting point, slowly release the piping bag and lift it up.

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Piping tips

Best Piping Nozzles to Have in Your Arsenal

Invest in the right piping tools. You can never have too many piping nozzles but here are some of the initial ones you should always have in your baking arsenal:

1. Open star

This is very useful when making the star technique. The Wilton 1M or 4B would be a great addition to your baking tools. Aside from decorating your cakes, you can even use these nozzles to make meringue kisses.

2. Closed star

The closed star nozzle is the same shape as the open star except that the tips of the metal are curled in. What this does is create a swirling texture to the surface of the star. One good example of a closed star nozzle is the Ateco 86.

3. Plain Round

These are easy to spot. It’s just a round-tipped nozzle. It’s perfect for making dots or adding lines to cakes. You can create those borders or put some details to your cake by choosing a small plain round nozzle. This can also be used for writing dedications or names on cakes. 

4. Ruffle/Petal

The Wilton 124 and 104 are some examples of Ruffle or Petal nozzles. They are flat and elongated at the tips. Buttercream frosting comes out like ribbons. 

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Piping nozzles

Helpful Tips and Tricks for Seamless Piping

You might find the following tips and tricks helpful for seamless piping:

Use The Right Frosting Consistency

It’s hard to pipe frosting that’s too watery. You always need to start with frosting that has the perfect stiffness to it. So if you are a novice baker and you want to decorate your cake, you would want to master making frosting first.

Freeze Your Cake

You should do this once you have already applied the crumb coating. Freezing allows the coating to settle so it’s much easier to pipe or apply another coating.

 Piping Tips FAQs

Plastic vs Metal Piping Nozzles – Which Is Better?

You will come across both when shopping for piping tips. Plastic tips are generally great for beginners. They are cheap and they can last for a long time. If you only bake occasionally, this might suit you more. However, if you plan on being a serious baker, you should invest in metal tips as they will last for a long time and they are easier to clean. Many metal piping tips are also dishwasher safe.

What Kind Of Piping Bag Is The Best?

There are also different types of piping bags out there. The first one is the disposable piping bag, which is typically sold in 12-inch and 16-inch sizes. They are compatible with most decorating tips, and they are easy to clean.

You can also get the featherweight piping bags. They are more durable because they are made from a polyester material that also boasts of flexibility. This can be more ideal for serious bakers as they can withstand some wear and tear. There is also a wider range of sizes from 8 inches up to 18 inches. 

Parchment bags are perfect for those intricate details because they are thinner and they are much easier to control. 


We hope you learned something new from this article. Start getting your piping supplies and decorate away! Don’t be afraid to try new techniques and keep on practicing. Which are your best piping tips? Share with us.




Candy is the owner of "How To Ice a Cake' along with her very smart (and super geeky) SEO/web designer husband, Jeremy. She loves decorating her children's birthday cakes and loves all things cakes decorating. Fun fact about her is that fondant is her icing of choice when decorating, but she prefers to actually eat a buttercream iced cake.

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