Tips and Tricks: Piping techniques 17-04-15

Every so often, everyone could do with a helping hand in the kitchen. So each month, we’ll be featuring one of our favourite tips, tricks or techniques that will help make your baking easier!

This month, we’re showing you how to create four quick and easy piping techniques to make your cupcakes stand out from the rest. For those bakers that are constantly recreating the same designs over and over again, why not try one of our simple piping techniques to reinvent your cupcake? 

Final 4

What you’ll need:

Piping tips
For these four simple techniques, we are going to use:

  • a rose petal tip
  • a ruffle tip
  • a open star tip
  • a closed star tip

We also stock a variety of piping tips here if you want to try out any different techniques, from basketweave to rosettes!

Piping bags
You can use cotton or disposable piping bags, (we stock both in a variety of sizes ranging from 18ʺ to 24ʺ.)

Whether you’re using frosting, buttercream or cream cheese icing, always bear in mind that each piping technique will require a different amount of topping – especially if you like larger swirls when decorating. We recommend you make a little more than what is required when practicing until you have mastered the technique.

Top tip: Once your icing is whipped up, mix it on the lowest speed possible for about five minutes. This will help to get rid of air bubbles, leaving you with super smooth icing that will help you achieve professional looking swirls!


Star Tips

The star tip is useful for adding a simple, yet stunning, swirl effect to your cupcakes. Depending on your preference, you can use an open star tip or closed star tip. The open star tip creates large velvety swirls whilst the closed star tip gives a tighter effect, adding extra swirls to your icing.

Keeping your bag low and piping in a circular motion around the top of your cupcake will create a flower like swirl, whilst holding your piping tip approximately 1/4" above your cupcake at a 90° angle will create a swirl with more height.

 Closed Star Swirl Top (1) Closed Star Swirl Open Star Swirl

For more height:

  1. Pipe a spiral of icing beginning at the outer edge of your cupcake, working inward and upward. 
  2. Complete the entire spiral before stopping pressure and pulling tip away to create a clean end to the swirl.

Top tip: If you’re looking for more height to the swirl, simply start by piping a large blob of icing in the middle of the cupcake and then build your swirl around this.

          Blob  Height Swirl Two Tone

Rose Petal

The rose petal piping tip looks like a teardrop, with a skinny end and a larger opening end. This simple tip creates a stunning rose-like effect, ideal when it comes to creating a cupcake bouquet!

  1. Start by piping a tight rosette shape in the centre of your cupcake.



  1. Hold the piping bag so that the larger end of the tip is touching the centre of the cupcake.
  2. Squeeze the piping bag and perform a rainbow-like motion around the central rosette, gently turning the cupcake as you pipe.
  3. Pipe another rainbow, slightly overlapping the last one, going round the cake until you’ve created another tight rosette.
  4. Continue building your rose by piping rows of ‘rainbows,’ building outward.

Top tip: Remember, each petal must overlap slightly to resemble a rose.

Practice makes perfect! 

          Rose Petal Top 2   Rose Petal


The shell is the most popular icing technique of all. It’s the basis for borders on many large cake designs, and we think it works just as well on a cupcake.

  1. Starting from the outside of the cupcake, hold the piping bag slightly above the surface of the cake at a 45° angle.
  2. Squeeze firmly, letting the icing fan out generously. It will gently force the tip upwards away from the cake.
  3. Release the pressure and pull the tip away in an upward direction to create a clean point.
  4. Repeat this action building inwards to the centre of the cake.

           Shells 2   Shells 3

Top tip: Lift the tip only slightly when piping to avoid a bumpy look.

If you think you’ve got some helpful tips or tricks that could help our baking community, let us know on Twitter or Facebook!