Anyone can bake a cake, but you have to be an expert to decorate one, right? False. In this video, part of the “Kitchen Smarts” series on America’s Test Kitchen’s YouTube channel, Cook’s Illustrated test cook Lan Lam demonstrates five ways to add flair to your baked good, from perfectly piped rosettes to the best way to write a message in icing. The secret is using the right frosting tip and knowing how much pressure to apply. Here are some of her other tips:
Fold down the bag before filling to minimize mess: Instead of trying to spoon frosting into a bag with tall sides, fold them down and fill the bag halfway. Then twist the clean half of the bag and use it to push the frosting down to the frosting tip.
Practice makes for perfect piping: On parchment, practice what you’re going to pipe or write before doing it for real. This helps get rid of any air bubbles that might affect the flow of the frosting.
Make sure you have the right icing for writing: It should be loose enough that it flows easily, but not so loose that it’s difficult to manage.