Cake Decorating Blog

Have You Tried These New Piping Tips Yet?

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.

Cupcakes Decorated Using Russian Piping Tips | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

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.

Flowers can be piped onto an unfinished cake or on top of a crumb coat. If you're using a crusting buttercream, give the cake a quick spritz with water before you pipe to help your flowers stick.

How to use Russian piping tips

Ateco Russian Piping Tips

Supplies:

Step 1: 

Prepping the Piping Tip | Erin Gardner |Craftsy

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.

Step 2:

Piping a Flower | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

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.

Applying Pressure While Holding the Bag Straight | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

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.

Finished Flower | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

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.

Piping Flowers | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

Step 3:

Piping a Second Flower | Erin Gardner | CraftsyCluster of Two Flowers | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

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.

Step 4:

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. 

Piping a Leaf | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

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.

Finishing the Leaf | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

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. 

Step 1:

Adding Green Stripes | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

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.

Step 2:

Spreading Color on the Sides of the Piping Bag | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

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.

Step 3:

Filling in the Center With Yellow | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

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.

Step 4:

Variegated Flower | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

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. 

Finished Variegated Flowers | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

 

33 Comments

Janis S. TheCookieMomster

I was lucky enough to have received a full set of the Russian Piping tips. I’ve only used them once as the flowers came out “okay”….not bad but not something I would be proud to apply to someone’s cake/cup cakes. Thanks you Craftsy for an informative tutorial! I have learned so much! I now know what I should be doing to get perfect flowers every time. 🙂

Reply
Erin Gardner

You’re very welcome! I found these a bit tricky to get the hang of as well. My first few flowers looked a little like barnacles. 🙂 Personally, I think they come out best when you layer the colors of buttercream in your piping bag. It really does help to give them depth. Thanks!:)

Reply
Helen

That’s exactly how I would describe my first attempt! It really has to be chilled.

Reply
Thomas Damilola

I never thought these Russian piping tips could work wonders and be this beautiful. Thank you for sharing your ideas. I can’t wait to try them

Reply
Erin G.

You’re too kind! Thanks so much. 🙂

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Irene

Okay after reading this realised I was pulling them up too long. Next time I will try shorter flowers. Thank you.

Reply
trevor

Oh my these tips are SO SO cool. I’ve never seen them before. Thank you so much for sharing this, I’m going to buy a set for sure!

Reply
francine

Do you think that these would work with royal icing as well?

Reply
Erin G

Hi! I do not think they’d work with royal icing, but I’ve never tried it myself. I think royal would be way too thin to pipe properly. Maybe, if you have a thick, whipped style recipe. Definitely post if you try it!

Reply
Tina

Instead of adding different colors to the bag … I use the Russian tips with one color, and then just go back with a small round tip (size 2 or 3, typically), and put three or five little dots in the middle of the flower. It gives the same look, and you don’t have to fiddle with the multi-colors in the bag. Also, when you need more flowers and need to re-load the bag, you can just stuff more icing in and go with it. With the multi-colors in the bag, you would have to start over with a new bag, with the multi-color technique.

Reply
Shonna Gibson

Thank you Craftsy for tutorial. I got my tips and had s chance to use them and I tried them on parchment paper first. Only a couple came out that I thought ” looked ok” and I got frustrated with tips. I put them away and finished cake using a different method but now after reading tutorial I know my buttercream wasn’t stiff enough. I’ll try again and see how it works. Thank u again !

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nita keith

I was so excited to get these and went to work right away. I read the instructions very carefully and made was I thought was a stiff buttercream. What a mess. Getting the right consistency of buttercream is crucial. I have used them several times. When it works, it is great. But for me, more often than not, it dosent work.

Reply
Andreina Bordon

Hi, I have try with swiss meringue and 2 different recipes of American buttercream without any luck, do you have a recipe to share? I am about to give up completely on them but I love the look, thanks

Reply
Erin Gardner

Hi! So sorry that you’re having trouble. I know from experience that these tips are a little tricky! I’ve used this recipe with success: https://www.craftsy.com/blog/2013/07/crusting-buttercream/ Another tip is to start out by making very short, squat flowers. Once you get the hang of making those in a uniform way, then try to make them longer or taller. It’s all about getting the timing of when you release pressure on the bag right. Release earlier than you think and allow the buttercream to pull from the bag. I hope this helps!

Reply
Sallyam

Hi, For anyone still struggling with the icing like I was, ( I made and threw away so much butter icing I almost gave up ) then I found this recipe by Wilton.
95g Trex
120g softened butter
400g icing sugar
1 tspn vanilla essence
2 tblspn milk ( I have never needed this)
Cream butter and Trex, add vanilla. Gradually add icing sugar. I use a hand mixer and make sure it is nice and smooth. As I said I have never needed to add milk.
Can be refrigerated just rewhip before using.
Hope it is a successful for you as mine has been. Still practising on the actual
icing though!!

Reply
Tess

What it Trex? I googled it and it came up with decking materials!!

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Sandra Rekemeier

A vegetable shortening substitute, not found in the USA. I googled Trex for baking in the UK and found it.

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Anne Hollin

I purchased a set of Russian piping tips to make soap cupcakes because I thought it would be easier to learn than traditional tips. I realize that my batter was not quite thick enough and will try again. Thank you for your thorough tutorial.

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Frankie Radford

Will cream cheese frosting work?

Reply
Erin Gardner

Unfortunately, I think cream cheese frosting would be too soft to hold the shapes.

Reply
Nikki

Cream cheese works fine. Just stiffen it up with more powdered sugar!

Reply
guy str

hi, What consistency to you suggest for icing? do you have suggestions on how to get the proper consistency before using tips?

Reply
Erin Gardner

I found that these worked best for me when the buttercream was on the firm side. I would just keep an eye on how long you let it go on the mixer. Stop and check consistency as you’re making the frosting. You can also add more confectioner’s sugar if you’re recipe is too soft to hold the shapes. The recipes I used for this post are linked in the first tip. Thanks!

Reply
Mary Ardito

Is there a coupler to fit these? I’ve a large one but its still too small.

Reply
Erin Gardner

Yes! If you search “Russian Piping tip coupler” on Amazon a few listings will pop up.

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Christine Lotz

Is a coupler required to used these tips?

Reply
Erin Gardner

Hi! They’re not entirely necessary, but they are helpful if you want to swap colors while piping. You can search specifically for Russian tip couplers or look for extra large couplers.

Reply
gloria

My piping bag always rips or split at the seam. Can you tell me some reasons this might be happening. Thank you.

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Ames

I know this sounds silly, but how do you assemble the bag and tip? I’ve always used a wilton decorator, never a bag.
Thanks!

Reply
Erin Gardner

Not a silly question at all! Just drop the tip into a piping bag and trim the tip of the bag about 1/4 inch down from the end of the piping tip.

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Angela Earle

I ordered these to do mothers day gifts
I have not had muchanged luck at all.
In your video she makes the flower cup cakes
And is able to touch the cup cakes to put the bouquet together without the icing moving, it seems to be hard .
The video is really deceiving.
I can’t find an icing to save my life that does that. Even putting them In the fridge really doesn’t help.

Reply
Erin Gardner

Hi! So sorry to hear you’re having trouble. I used a standard American buttercream when I wrote this post. I don’t have a video for this, so I’m not sure what you’re referring to. Maybe you saw that someplace else? American buttercream will firm up very hard in the fridge. Especially if you leave it over night.

Reply
cakengifts.in

After looking this awesome cake, I could not stop to myself from making it. So i prepared it. It was very yummy!!!!
Thanking You!!!!!!

Reply

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