To successfully create an impressively decorated cake, the most important tool the home baker needs is the cake decorator bag. A cake decorator bag holds the icing that one can squeeze out onto a cake in complex or simple patterns and shapes. Of course, the decorator must know how to use said decorator bag in order to make a beautifully frosted cake. In order to master using a decorator bag, one must first be familiar with its components and how to use them. Also important to know is how to fill a decorator bag with icing, and how to apply it onto a cake. For users who may not have local shops that have cake-decorating supplies readily available, eBay is an invaluable resource. On eBay, the shopper can find millions of products for sale at varying prices, with an array of different brands to choose from. After knowing what a decorator bag is, what it is made up of, and how to use it, the shopper can then go to eBay and find the ideal tools to ice a cake.
Choosing a Decorator Bag
The first choice the user faces when choosing a decorator bag is whether to use reusable or disposable bags. Disposable bags are very convenient for bakers and professional decorators, who save time, money, and water by using disposable bags.
Within these two categories, reusable and disposable, there are three main types of decorator bags: featherweight bags, regular disposable bags, and parchment triangles. The featherweight bag is a reusable bag made of flexible, coated polyester. The polyester makes the bag strong but lightweight and safe for the dishwasher. Featherweight bags typically come in 20.32-cm (8-in), and 45.72-cm (18-in), sizes. The second type of cake decorating bag, a regular disposable bag, is made of strong, flexible plastic. Finally, the third type of bag, the parchment triangle, is another type of disposable. Parchment triangles get their name because they are made of grease-resistant vegetable parchment paper and easily folded into a triangle for simple cleanup. They are available in 30.48-cm (12-in) and 38.1-cm (15-in) sizes.
Homemade Decorator Bags
If the user would rather make a decorating bag instead of purchase one, then a zip-top sandwich bag filled with icing and with a tiny corner cut off works as a good substitute. A more complex homemade cake decorating bag is a parchment cone. To make this, the shopper must obtain a piece of parchment and cut it into a triangle; the size of the triangle depends on how large the decorator wants the tip to be. Then, the user places the triangle on a table with the long side facing away. Next, he or she rolls the triangle into a cone shape, starting with the right side, then grabs the left point with his or her right hand and folds it over and around the back of the cone. At this point, the three points of the cone should form a 'W' at the top. The user may secure the cone with tape to make this process easier. From there, the user does one of two things: he or she either fills the bag and cuts off a small part of the tip of the cone for the icing to come out, or inserts a metal icing tip by trimming the point of the cone, then dropping the tip down inside the cone. Then the user can fill the bag with icing.
Choosing a Decorator Tip
There are many different kinds of decorating tips, and each tip provides the decorator with a different type of design when icing is pressed through them. The size and shape of the tip identifies its basic group, or family, to which the tip belongs. This also lets the user know what type of design the tip produces. There are nine basic tips that the shopper can choose from.
Round tips are useful for a huge number of cake decorating techniques. One uses these tips for simpler tasks such as outlining details, dots, balls, and beads. More complex work that one can do with round tips include filling in and piping areas, printing out messages, figure piping, stringwork, lattice and lacework, vines, flower centres, and floral work. A versatile tool, round tips are ideal for users who are not sure what tip to start out with.
These tips let the decorator produce simple flowers with just one squeeze, which makes drop flower tips ideal for beginner cake decorators. The number of petals that the flower has depends on the number of cuts at the end of the tip. Every drop flower tip, no matter how many cuts, can produce either plain or swirled flowers.
Created to make crisp, clean woven designs, basketweave decorating tips have a smooth side and a serrated side. The smooth side produces wide, smooth icing stripes, and the serrated side makes ribbed icing stripes.
Rose decorating tips can form a variety of petals to create not just roses, but just about any other flower the user desires on his or her cake. These tips have an opening that is wide at one end, and is narrow on the other end.
Ruffle, Leaf, Star, and Multi
Ruffle tips have a teardrop-shaped opening that allows the user to make ribbons, swags, bows, streamers, scallops, ruffles, and other special effects.
The leaf tip, as the name suggests, is designed to create leaves. The v-shaped opening of these tips give the leaves pointed ends, and with the various types of leaf tips, the user can have plain, ruffled, or upright leaves.
Star tips have a star-shaped opening that allows the decorator design to deep, grooved shells, fleur-de-lis, rosettes, and flowers. This tip is essential for professional cake decorators.
Multi-opening tips have more than one hole out of which the icing can come out of at the end of the tip. With these tips, the user can pipe rows or groups of strings, beads, scallops, and more with less effort.
The family of specialty tips includes with a distinctive design that does not fit with the other categories. Some examples of what one can make with a specialty tip include shell borders, ring candle holders, Christmas trees, hearts, and three-dimensional ruffles.
How to Use a Coupler
A coupler is a two-part device that lets one switch between several decorating tips without having to change the bag. This device has two parts: the base and the ring. The user first puts the base inside the bag and puts the decorating tip he or she wants over the part of the coupler that sticks out of the bag. Then, the user screws the ring on, locking the tip onto the bag.
Filling the Decorator Bag
The first step in filling a cake decorating bag with icing is to hold the bag in one hand and fold down the top with the other; this creates a roomy cuff over one's hand. Next, the user uses an angled spatula to fill the bag with roughly 120 grammes (half a cup) of frosting, being careful not to overfill it. After removing extra icing from the spatula by squeezing the bag with a thumb and forefinger against the spatula, then removing it, one closes the bag. To do this, one unfolds the cuff then twists the entire bag closed, which forces the icing to move down into the bag. Finally, the user must 'burp' the bag, meaning he or she must release any trapped air by squeezing some of the icing out of the tip.
To start, the decorator needs to make sure that he or she is holding the bag correctly. The bag can be held from a 90-degree or a 45-degree angle: the former is useful for making stars or flat petal flowers, and the latter works well for writing and making borders. Right-handed users should decorate from left to right, and left-handers should decorate from right to left, except for writing and printing; everyone should write and print from left to right. For all decorating, whether for piping, writing, dots, or other decorations, the user should use constant, even pressure on the bag, and guide the tip to where the icing is needed. Pushing mainly with one's palm helps with maintaining pressure. The decorator should know that light pressure produces a thinner strand of icing; increasing pressure results in a thicker line of icing from the bag. For lines, beads, swag, ruffles, and writing, one should hold the bag at a 45-degree angle, while for dots and stars the bag should be at a 90-degree angle.
How to Buy a Cake Decorator Bag on eBay
For simple, quick purchasing that does not even require you to leave your house, eBay is a cost-effective site that has just about everything you could need. To start shopping on eBay, you must first go to the eBay home page. Next, type in some keywords in the search bar to find the product you want, such as 'cake decorating bags'. From there, you can narrow down the results by choosing to search by a certain brand, price, theme, or material.
You can feel safe buying products from eBay by searching for sellers who have a 'Top-Rated Seller' badge on either the seller's personal page or on the pages of the products he or she is selling. The 'Top-Rated Seller' badge is given out by eBay to sellers who have received consistent positive feedback from their previous buyers. By looking for this badge, you can be sure to receive the product in the exact condition as the seller described and that you receive it in the expected the time frame.
Whether for work or to fulfil a hobby, a cake decorator bag is a useful and easy-to-master tool that can help the user make an elegant cake. Cake decorating is a unique form of art that allows people to express their interests in new ways, and mastering a cake decorating bag is the first step to making a specially decorated treat.
With all the tips available for decorating bags, one can easily create popular shapes and images on a cake for any occasion. And for those just starting out, there are multitudes of simple decorating techniques that one can make just with a small or large round tip, for example. Several simple rows of dots on a cake does not take a large amount of skill but looks very elegant. To quickly get started on decorating cakes, eBay has cake decorating tools readily available for users of all skill sets.