Lately, I’ve been trying to work on my piping skills. It’s always one of those things that I mean to work on “some day” – you know, one of those magical days when I have time and patience and a full set of pastry tips.
But, I’ve finally made the full commitment, if you will, to actually trying to learn to pipe. I made my first big test run this Saturday – I made a bunny cake for a friend’s Easter party, and did some basic piping techniques for the face, ears, and decorative borders. The design, by the way, was a tip from Theresa Luongo Pinelli of Treet – you make the cake from one cake round, and then slice the ears from another.
It’s not perfect – I still don’t know how to get my frosting perfectly smooth on top. But I was rather pleased with the ears – they’re just little stars that I piped with a star-tip, but they look really cute. And it was neat to deploy some of my new piping skills on little details – like those roses with leaves.
So do you want to get your piping game on? Do what I did and make a “practice” buttercream frosting from powdered sugar, shortening, and corn syrup. You can use it to try out different piping techniques, and when you’re done, just store it in the fridge. To re-use, either re-beat in your mixer, or let it come to room temperature before you fill your pastry bag.
From The Cake Bible, By Rose Levy Beranbaum
Makes three cups
Note: this will make a medium-stuff frosting. For thin frosting to practice writing, flower stems, and leaves, use 2 tbs water and 2 tbs corn syrup. For a stiff frosting, which you can use to practice flowers with upright petals, leave out the corn syrup entirely.
1 1/2 cups solid vegetable shortening
4 cupss powdered sugar (lightly spooned into the cup)
2 tbs water
1 tbs light corn syrup
Place shortening in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Gradually beat in remaining ingredients on low speed, alternating dry and liquid. Increase speed to medium and beat until smooth and creamy. Store in an airtight container. Will keep indefinitely if stored in fridge.