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The world is a fast-paced place and not everyone has the time to devote to hobbies or other things they might want to be involved in. We’ve all seen the infamous baking shows on television where contestants decorate the fanciest of cakes, but the time it takes is not remotely close to what the average person has open in their schedules. Are you looking for a quick and easy way to decorate desserts that look professional? If so, look no further. Here we will discuss Russian piping tips and the proper techniques to make sure you get a gorgeous effect on your dessert in an efficient amount of time.
What Are Russian Piping Tips?
A piping tip is a metal cone that has different shapes at the tip to produce various designs. They come in countless shapes and sizes. Russian piping tips are different in that they have a finely designed cut-out instead of a hole, star or leaf shape that it’s commonly seen in regular piping tips. The purpose of this is that by piping with such an intricate design, you will be able to pipe an entire flower at once as opposed to piping each petal by hand, saving you both time and energy, while still producing something fancy.
One of the most important things to know is that using piping tips does take practice like most other things in the world. Gathering all of your supplies and keeping a clean work station will help you stay organized and keep you on task.
- Russian piping tips
- Buttercream or Swiss meringue
- Piping bags or ziplock bags
- Small icing spatula
- Gel colors
- Parchment paper
- Toothpick and/or skewer
- Leaf tip (if you want to add leaves around your flowers)
Tips and Tricks to Frost Like a Pro
First it’s important to gather all the necessary supplies and have a good work station set up and ready to go. Here’s what you’ll need:
The frosting that will give you the best results when using your Russian piping tips is a stiff frosting like an American buttercream or Swiss meringue. When using one that is Swiss meringue based, you should be able to work quickly and refrigerate to hold your chosen shape because it softens up more quickly. If it’s your first time using Russian piping tips, you should definitely use the stiffer frosting until you get the hang of it.
Parchment Paper and Flowers
Once you’ve made your frosting of choice, you are ready for flowers. You can pipe them onto whatever you’re baking such as cakes, cookies or brownies, or there’s another option. If you’re baking something you feel will require tons of flowers, you can pipe them right onto little squares of parchment paper. You can then store them in the freezer as long as you wish until you’re ready to use them to decorate.
While you want a stiff buttercream, you still want to make sure it is smooth with no lumps or bumps before putting it into a piping bag. The rest of the buttercream should be stored in an airtight container or the surface will start to harden.
If you get lumps, it could either make your bag burst when you are trying to squeeze the buttercream out, or it may become clogged and you may not be able to squeeze it out at all.
Keeping Things Clean
If you want a nice, beautiful, clean cut flower, it’s very important to keep your Russian piping tips clean. Even the smallest of hardened buttercream lumps can make your flower look unrecognizable. Make sure you give them a good scrub in between uses, but also keep a toothpick or small skewer nearby to help all the little nooks and crannies from becoming clogged.
If you don’t have piping bags on hand, you can use a ziplock bag by snipping the tip of the bag that will fit the tip. Freezer bags tend to work best because they are the thickest and least likely to burst open from too much pressure or lumps in your buttercream.
Sticking Flowers on Your Work Surface
You will probably find you have no problem piping flowers onto parchment paper or onto an unfinished cake surface. You may have more difficulty getting them to stick on other surfaces such as fondant, brownies, or other baked goods besides cake. This can easily be fixed by spritzing a small amount of water on the surface of where you’d like to stick your flowers.
Find What Works For You
It’s always best to use a slow and steady hand, but practice with all the Russian piping tips and try piping flowers with different heights. You may find some flowers are prettier than others or that some are easier to pipe. Use what works best to your advantage for time and appearance purposes.
What Is the Russian Piping Technique?
We’ve discussed some important tips and tricks to consider before you begin using your Russian piping tips. Now, we’ll go over step-by-step instructions of the process from start to finish.
1. Color Your Buttercream
Your buttercream will start off white so you’ll want to make as many colors as you want. Use a gel food coloring as opposed to a liquid or it will change the consistency of your buttercream and make it too watery to pipe. Make sure to make a green if you want to use a leaf tip to add leaves around your flowers.
2. Fill Your Bags
First, slide your tip into place, then fill the bags with whatever color buttercream you want. The trick to making it a less messy process is to take either your piping bag or zip-lock bag and put it in a large cup. Then take the bag and pull it around the outside of the mouth of the cup. This gives you room to get the buttercream near the tip where it needs to come out of instead of all around the top where you need to hold and put pressure on. Then get as much air as possible out and twist the end of the bag so the buttercream will flow in the correct direction.
Squeeze that buttercream until you start to see it come out of the tip. It may be uneven due to the distribution of buttercream and you can then wipe it off and there’s a good chance that when you pipe a flower, it will be nice and even all the way around.
4. Piping the Flower
Hold the flat end of your Russian piping tip just above the surface you want to work on. Apply steady pressure to your piping bag while simultaneously pulling directly upwards, as straight as possible. Release the pressure when you’re at ¾ of the desired size and continue pulling your piping bag up until the buttercream separates from your Russian piping tip.
Pipe as many flowers as you want! Either practice on your parchment paper or cover your workspace. If you are trying to cover a crumb coat, keep the flowers as close together as possible so what’s underneath isn’t visible. You can also try slightly angling the tip to help cover rounded edges.
Leaves are not necessary; however, they are great for covering up tiny bare areas or even small mistakes. Typically, you would use a size 366 leaf tip, but you can try cutting a V into your piping bag or ziplock bag for a similar effect. Piping a leaf is a little bit different from piping a flower. For a leaf, you’ll want to hold the bag less than ¼ inch above where you want to place it. Then position the tip so it looks like a mouth about to eat one of your flowers and apply pressure to your bag. When the buttercream makes contact with the surface, release pressure and pull away until the buttercream separates from the tip. Place as many leaves as you’d like around your flowers.
7. Adding Extra Color
If you want to have your petals one color and your center another, there’s a quick way to do that. Arrange your piping bag or ziplock bag in the cup for easier filling. Use your small icing spatula and get the color you want the petals to be and paint the inner sides of your bag, going in a complete circle. Once that is complete, you can add the color you want for a center-right into the center of the bag. You can even choose to add 3 or 4 colors in one bag. Play around and figure out what combinations and placements look most beautiful.
Bonus video tips:
Russian piping tips can certainly dress up any dessert and make it look fancy or professional. The most important thing to remember is to be patient. It may take a bit of time and practice to get the technique down, but when you do, you’ll be piping out gorgeous flowers like a champion in record time.