Don't be intimidated by piping. Parents contributor Jenna Helwig shows us how to properly fill, hold, and use a pastry bag to decorate a cake with borders and letters.
-Hi, I'm Jenna Helwig, personal chef and Parent's contributor. Today, I'm going to show you how to make your homemade cakes look a little more fabulous with the pastry bag. You can buy disposable pastry bags and pastry tips at almost any grocery store, but if you don't have one, then feel free to just use a freezer zip-top bag. So, to load the pastry bag, I like to use just a tall glass or base and put the bag in and then you're going to tuck the top part of the bag just around the glass. So, to load the pastry bag, I like to use a spoon or rubber spatula or an offset spatula. So you wanna put quite a bit of frosting in until it's about halfway full. So take the bag off of the glass. Now, you want to use your dominant hand and I'm right-handed to squeeze the frosting down. You wanna use your dominant hand to twist the top and hold it here between your thumb and your finger and you're gonna squeeze with your hand. So, the first thing I'm going to do is I'm just gonna make some dots along the edge. Now, there are few tricks to know when you're piping dots or anything else. So once you're finished with whatever it is you're making, you wanna stop, release the pressure from your right hand or your dominant hand, touch the tip down, and lift straight up. And if you have a little tail in your cake, that is okay. And I'm going to write a message on the top of the cake too. You can see that you don't need to be intimidated by using a pastry bag and piping decorations onto your cake. With a little practice, you'll be a pro.