Friday, May 12, 2017

Russian Piping Tips Review

Let me start this by saying I am a photographer.
Photography is the only thing that allows me to be artistic.
Somehow, the visions that float in my brain transform
in my camera and it comes out as art.
I can't draw or paint and I'm clumsy with crafts.
I also hate to bake and I am terrible at decorating cakes.
But.....then I watched that nifty video that is circulating on
Facebook and Instagram showing
a woman squeezing blobs of frosting from a pastry bag onto cupcakes
using some special tips that magically
form the blobs into beautiful flowers!
Have you seen the advertisement for Russian Tips?
It looked so easy and fun and creative and artistic
with very little effort!
Just squeeze the pastry bag and a flower blurps out!
I couldn't resist and ordered the tips, with visions of
opening a cupcakery in the near future.
When the decorating gems arrived, I found a buttercream frosting recipe online
that promised perfect piping.  It included vegetable shortening,
so I bought butter flavored Crisco.
I mixed up four colors using gel food coloring.
And glopped it into piping bags with the tips.
SO pretty...loved the pastels.
I photographed each step against two pieces of white barn wood...
one propped up as the background.
I was going to document the steps and write a blog post
to show my experience!
The first few WORKED!
I can start making cupcakes for showers, graduations,
anniversaries, birthdays and take on wedding clients.
Heck...I can franchise the cupcakery!
I was on a high!
The first cupcake with each color worked just like the video!
I did my photography thing using pretty plates and props.
Then I went to decorate more cupcakes.
Hmmmm...where are those perfect flower shapes?
Where is ANY shape?
I'm getting plain blobs here!
Maybe I need to wipe off the tips before each flower.
I kept going and kept blobbing!
Good Lord!  I could not get any more beautiful flowers!
The frosting was mushy
I was flustered and freaking!
"Maybe I shouldn't open the cupcakery," I told my daughter Lindsay who had
just entered the kitchen and was staring with full-moon eyes at my creations.
"Mom, I'm thinking you shouldn't."
I proudly showed her the first four pretty cupcakes.
At that moment, the propped barn wood crashed down
on top of my only four perfect cupcakes!
"I think this is a sign from above," Lindsay said.
But, I kept going and ended up with these:
Heck with the good photography...I snapped these duds with my phone!
I was left with this mess!
My wedding cake dreams were dashed,
but I am not easily defeated.  I researched and learned that
professional cake decorators use high ratio shortening which
better supports the piping.
Sweetex is preferred, but it's pricey and hard to find in smaller amounts.
I bought a 3 lb. tub of Kitchen Kraft brand from Amazon.
I also read that adding coloring liquid or gel can thin the
frosting making it impossible to pipe.
I learned about powdered food coloring and ordered
I was certain I could now build a cupcake DYNASTY!
Substituting with the new ingredients, I  followed this recipe for buttercream piping frosting.
I wasn't sure how much powdered food color to use,
so I sprinkled on this amount.
And, got this pretty pastel blue:
I mixed up all the colors,
and was a bit disappointed.
The colors looked a tad flat, especially the pink.
I tried mixing red and blue to get purple, but got ugly gray!
I added a bit of yellow to the green to get a more spring green.
In other words, I wasn't as happy with the powdered colors,
but it was worth it if the frosting would remain stiff for piping!
I found Wilton disposable piping bags at my grocery/department store,
And cut off the end to fit the large tips.
You could also use a Ziplock freezer bag.
Then, I plopped the tipped bags into a tall drinking glass
making it easy to add the frosting.
At that point, I felt the frosting was a bit too warm
and was afraid of BLOBS again, so I stuck
the filled bags in the fridge while I made and ate lunch.
I was nervously excited when the first few came out GREAT!
But the frosting warmed and I started getting blobs,
so I stuck each bag back in the fridge between uses and
rotated the colors.  This worked!
I was much more successful with the second frosting.
I found candy pearls at the grocery store and they added to the decorating fun.
Yes, I still had some duds...and, I was forced to face the truth!
I suck as a cake decorator and my leaves failed.
So, I'll stick to photographing beautiful cupcakes!
If you masterfully succeed with the Russian tips and open a me!
I'll take some photos!

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