TV Shows & Podcasts

Kitchen Smarts: How to Pipe Like a Pro

Expertly decorate a cake with script, rosettes, and more.

Published Oct. 8, 2018.

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.

Watch the Video

Featured Equipment

The Best Piping Set

Wilton 20-Piece Beginning Buttercream Decorating Set

This set is almost perfect: It comes with five of our essential tips, including a large open star tip for cupcake swirls and rosettes. The plastic bags arere easy to handle, effortless to clean up afterward, and durable.  
Buy on Amazon
The Best Cake Stand

Winco Revolving Cake Decorating Stand

This stand is tall, providing excellent visibility and comfort. It’s solid but light, and it rotates quickly and smoothly yet stops precisely where we ask it to. It also has three shallow circles etched onto its surface for easy centering.  
Buy on Amazon

Subscribe to the America’s Test Kitchen YouTube channel to get alerted whenever we add a new video.

What’s your favorite way to decorate baked goods? Let us know in the comments!

This is a members' feature.