For those of you looking to start baking as a hobby, you may be wondering how you practice piping with mashed potatoes for cake decoration.
Piping is an important part of the baking process. However, squeezing the frosting out of a pastry bag requires a lot of skill and patience, and money. This is why new bakers tend to use other cheaper alternatives, such as mashed potatoes, to practice their piping skills.
Mashed potatoes are considered a cheaper alternative because it is easily available in every household and is easy to make. Rather than using traditional icing, you can just use mashed potatoes that provide the same smooth texture that’s a lot similar to icing.
Baking is a great hobby for many folks and there are various cake decorating techniques that you need to be aware of when you first start baking cakes. Here, you are going to find out how to practice piping with mashed potatoes the right way.
As someone who prefers to bake cakes, we can provide you with all the information you need on how to practice piping with mashed potatoes.
How Do You Practice Piping with Mashed Potatoes?
Piping techniques such as shells, weaving, and even rosettes can easily be practiced with mashed potatoes. The star tip is an excellent place to start when it comes to potatoes. You may also practice filling and handling the piping bag to become used to it.
You may practice how much stuff to put in the bag while still feeling safe (too much can be difficult to pipe.) It will also allow you to practice evenly applying hand pressure on the bag. Instant mashed potatoes, it turns out, have a consistency that is quite similar to the buttercream. It's also less likely to include lumps than regular potato purée. Another reason why using mashed potatoes while practicing your cake piping skills makes sense is because it is relatively cheaper as compared to purchasing real frosting.
Why Potatoes are a Great Option
When you mash potato, the cells open up and release starch, making it creamy and smooth. If using a little quantity of butter or spread, do so before starting to mash. The fat covers the cells and starch, preventing them from absorbing as many fluids. The potatoes will get fluffier and less gluey as a result of this.
The starch will have more structure in the final mixing step if the potatoes are boiled slowly. Potatoes can be piped or hand-shaped by adding egg and spice to mashed potato. It's somewhat firmer than mashed potatoes and can be piped into a variety of forms, including spirals.
Tools to Start Piping
Food mill or potato ricers are common appliances for smoothing mashed potatoes for piping. A piping bag with a decorative tip, such as a star nozzle, is required to create the nicely piped mounds. All the ingredients, such as the cream, butter, and egg yolk are mashed into the heated potatoes. Lightly beat the potatoes until they are light and fluffy. Form individual serving size amounts on a baking sheet. You may achieve this by dropping little mounds of potatoes onto the sheet or constructing swirling mounds with a piping bag.
An 8-inch or 4-inch long offset spatula (or both) is a must-have. A spinning frosting turntable will offer you a more professional-looking completed cake while also making the job much easier. A smooth finish can be achieved with a honed edge bench scraper, while an icing comb is useful for adding simple but effective embellishments. It's best to use pastry bags that are 12 or 18 inches long.
Find cake decorating tools that are the proper size for the job (smaller ones for precise work, larger ones for icing duties) and are easy to operate. The optimal size for a cake turntable is 12 inches in diameter and 5 inches high. One of the most favored materials is stainless steel and high-quality aluminum, followed by heat- and water-resistant polymers.
Beginners, home bakers, and professionals just need a nice offset spatula, a piping bag with a coupler set, and basic icing tips to pipe borders, inscribe and beautify a cake. A 12- and 18-inch pastry bag is also useful to have on hand, and a turntable will help you frost a cake in half the time and with a more polished, finished appearance.
When beginning to practice piping, it is important to take a cost-effective approach. One way of doing that is by simply investing in tools that can be reused. A multi-tasking tool is a great way to streamline your decorative supplies. Reusable piping bags are an excellent option; "single-use" piping bags may often be cleaned and reused if they are not punctured or damaged.
How to Fill the Cake Piping Bag?
Handling piping bags isn't always the most intuitive process, especially if you don't use them on a daily basis. Ultimately, all you're doing is stuffing things inside, but doing so without making a massive mess might require some practice—or at the very least, some explanation.
It is recommended to use a disposable pastry bag for this purpose, but the same principles apply to canvas and sturdy plastic as well. They’re the better choice since the local health department outlawed canvas bags. Moreover, they're also ridiculously simple to use—no scrubbing, no lingering aromas, and no mysterious stains.
Step one is to drop a coupler into the bag if you're using a tiny pipe tip, regardless of whether you are using disposable or disposal canvas. It's not absolutely essential, but if you’re piping tip clogs, being able to remove it from the bag eliminates the problem. You won't have this problem if you use bigger tips.
Push the coupler down to the bag's end and cut a tiny hole to allow it to slide halfway out. To guarantee a snug fit, trim the bag as little as possible, whether it's a disposable or a canvas bag. Hold the coupler or pipe tip firmly in one hand while giving the bag a little shake. Once the coupler or pipe tip is in place, twist the bag with one hand while holding it firm. With your thumb, tuck the twisted part into the coupler.
This forms a tight but removable barrier between the coupler/piping tip and the piping bag, ensuring that your filling never escapes before you're ready—a particularly useful feature when working with runny royal icing. If you're going to use a tiny tip, attach it to the coupler immediately. After that, place the piping bag inside a drinking glass and fold the bag's opening down around the glass.
Rolling the bag down also prevents any stray splatters of the mashed potato from contaminating the bag's opening and/or outside, making the whole process less messy. Now, unroll the bag's folded part, then collect and twist the extra canvas or plastic until the bag reaches the contents. Some people like to use a rubber band, chip clip, or piece of tape to secure the bag, but you don't need to take any further care as long as you maintain the bag screwed shut.
Squeeze gently from the top down until the filling reaches the tip, and you're ready to go. Whether you attach the top of the bag with a clip, tape, or nothing at all, keep twisting it as it empties to help you maintain consistent pressure while you pipe. The best part is, if you don't want to pipe right away, you may leave the bag in place; the filling won't dry out because it's twisted shut on both ends. When you're ready to start piping, gently tug on the coupler/pastry tip from the top of the bag to clear the clog.
About THE AUTHOR
Lori has been a Culinary Arts instructor for twenty years. She has taught in the public school setting, at the collegiate level and through adult continuing education as well as running several cooking and baking camps for children. She has participated in several cooking, cake & chocolate contests and has been well recognized. She has raised thousands of dollars for charities using the byline “Saving the World one Cupcake at a Time”. Additionally, she has had several articles regarding food published in various magazines.Read More About Lori Gilmore