How to Pipe Icing Roses

As you may know, I love to make cupcakes. I have my trusty vegan cupcake cookbook, which honestly contains the tastiest recipes I’ve encountered. They are so good, and I’ve never come across someone who wasn’t flabbergasted to hear that they were vegan. You would never know it by eating them! They are delicious, moist, and the book is full of flavour combos that I love.

Prior to this year, my cupcakes were topped with a big smudge of icing, and maybe sprinkled with some pretty sprinkles if they were lucky. I didn’t have a piping bag, and I definitely didn’t know how to use one. But then, for some reason, I caught the “domestic goddess bug” (I blame this blog) and promptly stumbled on to the idea of piping bags, pretty piles of icing and food colouring. I’m still getting the hang of it.

One method that always left me in awe was icing roses. Golly gee, let me tell you – pictures of that technique blew me away. It looked like the most complicated thing on the planet, but boy were they pretty. Then I learned something amazing! The whole process hinged on just one jumbo icing tip!! Aha! Suddenly the complications seemed to fall away, and icing roses were in my grasp.

Little did I know how difficult it would be to find a Wilton 1M tip with which to pipe. Granted, I could have bought it online, but I decided to check every cooking shop in the surrounding area first. Finally I located one at the local Bulk Barn when I was home for the holidays. (Montreal doesn’t have Bulk Barns, and it pains me greatly.) That night, I whipped up a batch of plain vanilla cupcakes and buttercream icing, and my Mom and I learned how to pipe icing roses like pros!

Tips for Piping Beautiful Icing Roses!

  • Get your hands on a 1M tip! (Online: here + here; or at a local cooking shop) Unfortunately, I don’t know a way to pipe roses without this tip.
  • Make sure your cupcakes are completely cooled and your icing is at room temperature.
  • The icing should be smooth and somewhat glossy. If too stiff, it won’t pipe properly. This icing was too stiff, I had to add some more soy milk to smooth it out:
  • To fill your piping bag, I like to use the technique outlined in this mind-blowing video! Easy and saves on mess. Seriously, check this out!
  • If you want to practice, using the bottom of a cup that’s approximately the same size as the top of your cupcake is a great way to do so. 
  • However, if you mess up while using the actual cupcake, it’s easy to scrape off the icing and start again without it being too noticeable.
  • There are two great videos showing step-by-step icing roses here and here.
  • Start from the centre of your cupcake, giving a generous dollop before beginning to spiral outwards, guiding the piping bag with your left hand and applying pressure on the bag with your right.
  • Keep the tip of the bag perpendicular with the top of the cupcake throughout. 
  • Create overlap while you spiral, it’s important that the top of the cupcake not show through holes in the icing!
  • End the spiral by trailing off slowly and releasing pressure uniformly. It doesn’t have to be perfect!

And there you have it! A piping technique that’s as easy as it is beautiful. To be sure, it takes some practice, but one you’ve mastered it, it’s one of the simplest ways to impress.

Also: cupcakes are delicious, and if you’re not on a diet (as I am – only been eating these babies on ‘cheat days’) please go ahead and make some up right now!

Happy decorating!

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  • Isabelle

    Omg your blog always makes me so hungry om nom nommmmmm….

    • Stephanie

      :D