Russian piping tips have taken the buttercream flower world by storm, and for good reason. These new all-in-one piping tips allow you to easily pipe simple flowers complete with detailed centers and delicate petals.
All images via Erin Bakes.
Traditional buttercream flowers require a high level of skill and can take years to perfect, but Russian piping tips make the buttercream blooms much easier to achieve.
These tips are perfect for professionals who need to fill up a beautiful bakery case in a jiffy. Busy moms who want to look like a bake sale rockstar will love them just as much!
Before you pipe: Tips for success
1. Use a stiff buttercream frosting.
Both Swiss meringue and American buttercream worked for me. You’ll just need to work a little quicker with a meringue-based buttercream, since it softens up faster. I used American buttercream in this post.
2. Pipe right away or store them right.
You can pipe flowers directly onto a cake or cupcakes, but if you want to make your flowers in advance, pipe them onto small pieces of parchment paper. Store them in the freezer until you’re ready to decorate.
3. Keep ’em clean!
Keep the tip of the nozzle on your Russian piping tips as clean as possible. Extra bits of buttercream will cause your flowers to lose their shape.
4. Make smooth buttercream.
Make sure your buttercream is perfectly smooth before filling your bag. The little openings on these piping tips can be very unforgiving! Keep a toothpick or skewer nearby to clear away any butter clumps.
5. Help them stick.
How to use Russian piping tips
- Ateco Russian Flower Piping Tip Set
- Piping bags
- Gel colors
- Small icing spatula
- Toothpick or skewer (optional)
- Leaf tip (optional)
Fit a piping bag with a Russian piping tip and fill the bag with buttercream. Apply pressure to the bag until buttercream starts poking through all the openings. Wipe the tip of the nozzle clean before beginning your design.
Hold the flat end of the tip just above the surface you want to pipe on. Apply steady pressure to the piping bag while pulling directly up, as straight as you can.
Release pressure when you’re 3/4 of the way done with your petal. Continue to pull the piping bag up until the buttercream separates from the tip.
Keep all of your movements slow and steady to keep the petals and centers from smushing together.
After playing around with these tips, I found that I preferred the look of shorter flowers. Shorter flowers were also easier to pipe (at least for me).
For most of the flowers in this post, I applied pressure for a quick count of two and then released and pulled away, like the flower on the left, below. For the flower on the right, I applied pressure to the bag for a count of three before releasing and pulling away.
Continue piping more flowers to fill in the rest of the area you’re decorating, repeating the piping process described in Step 2. Cluster flowers as closely together as possible to avoid letting the cake or crumb-coat below show through. Position the nozzle so that the side edge just touches the petals of the flower before.
Complete your arrangement by adding simple leaves. I used a size 366 leaf tip, but you can achieve the same look by cutting a V-shaped notch into the tip of a piping bag.
Fill a piping bag fitted with the leaf tip with green buttercream. Hold the bag less than 1/4 inch above where you want the leaf to be. Position the tip so that it looks like a little mouth about to gobble up one of your buttercream flowers.
Apply pressure to the bag. Once the buttercream makes contact with the surface piping, release pressure and pull the bag away. Repeat to fill in any empty spaces.
Color adds realism to your buttercream flowers
To create a variegated and lifelike look to your flowers, layer different shades of colored buttercream in your piping bag.
Use a small icing spatula to smear thin lines of green buttercream on the inside of your piping bag. Make sure to spread the color all the way to the base of the tip.
Cover the sides of the piping bag with a thicker layer of the petal color. Leave a dime-sized opening through the center all the way to the base of the tip.
Fill in the center with yellow buttercream. Use a small icing spatula or a piping bag with a small opening — whichever is easier for you.
Pipe flowers using the same method as in Step 2 from the earlier tutorial. The colors will subtly change as you pipe, adding to the realistic look of your flowers. Add in any additional leaves or filler as desired.