I’m pretty obsessed with petal tips these days. No, not the ones you find outdoors. The ones Ateco and Wilton make. The ones that facilitate the flow of buttercream from a piping bag to
your mouth the top of a cupcake. They are extremely versatile, and invaluable when it comes to piping ruffles and flowers of all sorts. They’ll make you win at cake.
Here’s a little tip for ya: I keep a container of practice buttercream in my freezer at all times. Whenever I have a little buttercream leftover from a project, I throw it in the container. It’s pretty ugly, but perfect for practicing. That’s the thing with piping – you’ve gotta practice a lot. So, when I’ve got a project looming or a little free time on my hands, I take the frosting out, bring it to room temperature, re-whip it, and then practice like a boss. That’s how you get good at stuff. I can’t emphasize that enough: you have to practice. And I don’t mean practicing on that cake you left until the last minute that’s making the insides of your elbows sweat. (What the deuce? Stop doing that.)
I practice on our countertops for the most part, but to practice piping cupcakes, I flip a drinking glass over, and practice on the bottom. (It’s very close to the size of a cupcake.) To practice piping on cakes, I flip a cake pan over and practice on that. I rarely try something on a cake/cupcake that I haven’t practiced on a random surface in our house. That’s why everything we own is so slippery…
For the cupcakes, I used a large Ateco 125 petal tip for the rounded petals, and an Ateco 60 petal tip for the ruffles. For the cake (it’s a six incher) I used an Ateco 127 petal tip (which is a bit bigger than the 125). You can get petal tips in a variety of sizes, from teeny-tiny to jumbo. They all work the same way – it just alters the size of your final petals.
Here’s the Wilton method of piping petals on cupcakes – it should help you get started. I practiced piping about 4.5 million flower petals before I found the look that I like. It’s all in the way you angle your piping bag, apply pressure, and rotate your wrist/baked good.
To help, I made you a video. I’m hoping it will assist you in piping your own wee petals atop cakes and cupcakes. You should know that I know nothing about shooting videos. I’m taking a class soon, but in the meantime you’re stuck with my press-record-and-wing-it system of videography. Also, I don’t know how to record voiceovers yet, so…
Martha Stewart also has a video on using petal tips. It’s way fancier than mine and she knows how to do voiceovers and stuff. So, if you prefer the work of a SuperWizard, you could check out her video too.
Now get out there and practice until you’ve got piping claw.