How to use pastry bags and pastry cones


Learning to decorate a cake is easier than you think. Watch baker and author Liv Hansen for Betty Crocker Kitchens demonstrate how it's done. After you practice a little, you'll be piping like a pro.

How to use pastry bags and pastry cones
How To Make A Pastry Cone
  1. Roll out a square of parchment paper. Fold bottom edge up in a triangular fashion until it meets the top edge. Cut parchment from the roll. You will be left with a triangle.
  2. Open the parchment. Use the crease as a guide to cut your triangle out.
  3. On the long side of one of the triangles, draw a small line along the top of the parchment in the middle. This is where your point will form.
  4. Take one corner of the paper and roll it in on itself until the corner lines up with the bottom point. Repeat with the other point, folding the point down and to the back. The two sides will line up down the middle of the cone.
  5. Wrap clear tape around the tip of the bag to prevent the point from opening as you use it.
  6. To fill the pastry cone, hold it in your hand. Put frosting on a spatula, and place spatula slowly into the bag. Pinch your fingers down on the spatula and slide the spatula out, keeping the frosting in the bag.
  7. Fold the edges of the pastry cone into the middle, and roll the top of the pastry cone down to pack the frosting tightly.
  8. Snip a small hole in the tip of the bag so you can pipe the frosting.

How To Work With A Pastry Bag
  1. You can use either disposable or reusable pastry bags.
  2. Open the pastry bag and place a coupler inside.
  3. Select the cake decorating tip you want to use. Place the tip on the outside of the bag. Put a ring over the tip and screw the tip onto the bag.
  4. To fill the bag, turn the top edge over. Cup your hand like a “C”, holding the bag, and place the edges of the bag over your hand.
  5. Use a spatula to scoop the frosting inside. Fill the bag half full.
  6. Bring the sides of the bag back up. Twist the sides of the bag to squeeze the frosting down towards the tip. Squeeze a little frosting back into your frosting bowl to eliminate any air bubbles.

How To Practice Piping
  1. Lay a piece of parchment paper onto your counter top.
  2. Prepare a pastry bag using a round cake decorating tip.
  3. Twist the pastry bag and hold the bag at the back edge. Squeeze this edge to control the flow of frosting.
  4. Practice making straight lines. Keep your hand moving at an even pace, and keep even pressure on the bag to ensure you have a solid, straight line.

How To Make a Shell Border
  1. Place a star tip on the pastry bag.
  2. Hold the bag at a 45-degree angle. Touch the bag down to the paper. Squeeze and hold in place until the design starts to bulge. Release the pressure, pull down onto the paper and release the frosting.
  3. Repeat, overlapping the edge of your first scallop with the next scallop.

How To Make A Rosette
  1. Place a star tip on the pastry bag.
  2. Hold the pastry bag perpendicular to the surface.
  3. Squeeze, rotate the bag and tail off. When you stop the flow of frosting, you are “tailing off”.

How To Make Bubble Letters
  1. Use a pastry cone filled with frosting.
  2. To make a letter “H”, make a dot, squeezing and holding the cone in place. Pull straight down, squeeze and hold to make another dot, and then tail off.
  3. Repeat, making another line next to the first.
  4. Connect the lines in the middle to complete the “H”.
  5. If you want thicker lines, cut a larger hole in the tip of the pastry cone. Keep your scissors perpendicular to the bag when cutting to ensure a nice, neat line of frosting emerges from your pastry cone.

Hi, I’m Liv Hansen for and Betty Crocker Kitchens, and I’m going to show you the basics of pastry bags and pastry cones. These are used to decorate cakes and cupcakes.

To start, I’ll show you how to make a pastry cone. You can make them out of cellophane, wax paper, or parchment paper, and I’ll show you how to make them out of parchment paper.

To start, roll your parchment paper out. You want to get a perfect square, and actually we’re going to cut that square right in half to make a triangle. One trick is to just fold this edge up until it meets the top edge, then crease it , and then cut along this line.
Now open it up, and you’re going to use this crease as a guideline to cut your triangle out.

Now it’s time to form the cone. I have one over here. I’ve drawn a line right in the middle of the longest side of the triangle. And that’s where my point is going to form. To do this, take one corner, and roll it in on itself, so that the corner lines up down here. Wrap the other side around to the back, and you’ll see that the two sides will line up right down the middle.

Now you want to tape, and wrap it around the tip. This will prevent the bag from opening while you’re squeezing it. So there’s your pastry cone. To fill it, hold it in your hand, take a spatula, put some frosting on it, place it slowly into the bag. Then, pinch your fingers down on it and slide the spatula out. Now, fold the edges down, and you have your pastry cone. You always cut a small hole, or even a large hole depending on what kind of piping you’re doing.

Now, I’ll show you how to work with a pastry bag. You can use disposable bags, or reusable ones. This one’s a reusable one. You’re going to need couplers and tips to go along with this. Open the bag, and place a coupler inside. This will allow you to change tips. Choose the tip that you want to work with, place it on, then, take the ring, put it on top, and screw it down. And this will hold the tip in place.

Now we want to fill it. Turn the top edge over, cup your hand like a ‘C’, and place the bag over it. Take your frosting and scoop it inside. You only want to fill about halfway. This will give you more control. Now bring the sides back up. Now you want to twist. This will create a pressure inside the bag. Squeeze a little bit of the frosting back inside the bowl to make sure there are no air bubbles.

Now let's practice piping. Now, twist the bag at the top. You’re going to grasp it like this, and this is where you’re going to squeeze. Guide with your other hand. I’m going to do some lines.

Now, that’s a pretty straight line. If this happens to you, it means that you’re squeezing too hard, and not moving the bag fast enough. If this happens, where it gets little breaks, it means you’re not squeezing hard enough, and you’re moving too fast. So try to get a balance, just keep practicing, going back and forth. I’m using a round tip. Why don’t we try a different tip to see what it can do?

The great thing about these pastry bags is that you can change the tips to get different piping effects. Let's try a star tip. Let’s start with a shell border.
You’re going to angle your bag at about 35 to 40 degrees, touch down to the paper, squeeze and hold in place until it starts to bulge. Then release the pressure, pull down, and let’s repeat. The act of releasing pressure is called tailing off. Ideally, it will come to a nice point. Overlap that point with the next one, and continue.

To make a rosette, you hold the back perpendicular to the surface, squeeze, rotate the bag, and then a quick motion of the wrist to tail off.

So there you have some ideas of what different tips can do.

A pastry cone is great for lines, or writing. I’ll show you how to write. To do a letter, a great way for beginners is what I can bubble letters. Start with a dot by squeezing and holding in place, pulling straight, squeezing and holding in place again to tail off. If you want the line to be thicker, simply cut the hole bigger. Just remember to keep the scissor perpendicular to the bag. If you cut it at an angle, the frosting will come out all messy.

So those are a few basic tips. Have fun decorating, I’m Liv Hansen for and Betty Crocker Kitchens.

meet theexpert
  • Liv Hansen

    Liv Hansen Professional Baker and Author Liv Hansen is the author of three books, has appeared on the Today Show, Top 5 (Food Network), The View and Roker on the Road, and was a finalist on the Food Network Challenge: Haunted Gingerbread. more about this expert »

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