Sunday, January 1, 2012

Tips vs. Tubes

The cake decorating supply company Wilton calls them tips, Ateco calls them tubes. I think "tube" is a bit of a misnomer; it suggests something cylindrical, whereas "tip" describes where on the decorating bag it's located. In a short span of time I've amassed a vast array of tips, mostly because they tend to run pretty cheap (between $1 and $3). Some of the standouts pictured in the multi-tip pileup above include one that pipes 3 stars simultaneously (far left; ideal for covering large areas with stars), a wide icer tip (that toothy monster toward the middle; I prefer to ice cakes with an offset spatula but the icer tip gets the job done), a Christmas tree tip (ideal for piping a cute little detail when you don't have the time to draw something freehand), and a long cupcake filler tip (to the right of the tree, standing almost as tall as the wide icer tip; get two or more of these and you can inject as many fillings as the cupcake will hold, such as peanut butter and jelly).
Invariably when I go shopping for tips I get carried away. I would wind up with unintentional duplicates of tips if I didn't carry lists of those I have (by brand) in the "Notes" app on my phone. I like to load up a decorating bag and take to my practice board with the new tips as soon as possible, always including the number of the tip…
…and then I have the photos to refer to the next time I have a blank-slate cake staring me in the face. Ateco produced a terrific book, the Ateco Cake Decorating Reference Manual, which is pretty much nothing more than 20 pages chock-full of images like the one above. All of their examples are shown life-size, and in white icing. I think white icing does look more palatable in photos than brown, but soon I'll post the reason why I happened to have a decorating bag loaded with chocolate icing (and the 195 tip) lying around.
I hope 2012 is off to a great start for you!

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