Thursday 28 February 2013

New skills and how to pipe two toned frosting swirls

You know, like nunchuck skills, bow hunting skills, computer hacking skills... Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills. ~ Napoleon Dynamite

I'm not sure I've actually done any tutorials on this wee blog yet.  Am just a wee bit skittish about calling this a tutorial as such - "tutorial" implies that you know what you are talking about, and since I don't most of the time let's call this is more of a sharing of a neat trick or a cool new skill I learnt: Two-Toned Frosting Swirls.

And as we all know, mean frosting skills are up there with nunchuck skills. 

Speaking of tutorials and mean skills, we've just had out first week in neurology!  While they haven't let us loose in the hospital quite yet, we've gotten to interview and examine real live patients!  It's been awesome, learnt so much, tried and failed to not gush like a total fangirl watching the consultants do their thing #suchanoob (oh yes I did just hashtag...)

Anyways I digress.

I've ooo'ed and ahhh'd over this gorgeous rose tinted frosting effect for ages but never actually tried it.  Most tutorials I'd looked up on the web called for gel food colouring and I never got around to ordering the stuff online (lazy, I know!).  But then my husband got a job at Colgate Palmolive and I was tasked with making some toothpaste themed baking to celebrate, so with my good old kiwi number 8 wire hat on I nutted out a way of making the effect without forking out for the fancy colouring.

The eureka moment was when I thought, instead of using streaks of gel colouring down the piping bag, why not colour a little of the frosting itself and pipe that down the sides...too easy!!

{My all time fav tip: 1M from Wilton}
The thing I've found with decorating with frosting is that really, it isn't that hard.  You don't need skill so much as the right equipment and knowing the tricks.

Equipment-wise,  having the right icing tips can really make a massive difference to your piping.   For pretty ice-cream swirls and general all purpose use, you really can't go past the Wilton 1M (an open star nozzle).  It's the best NZD$6.50 of baking equipment I've ever spent!  For piping swirl roses, the 1M will definitely do the trick and is the one I use most of the time but the Wilton 2D tip (closed star) makes for more spectacular "rosier" looking roses (but can be a little trickier to use). 

Now, for this edge tinted two toned frosting effect all the equipment you'll need is a piping bag and tip, a zip lock bag and regular food colouring and you're away.  Oh and frosting of course!

{chocolate cupcakes with mint cream cheese frosting}

How to pipe Two-Toned Frosting Swirls

Now it's really hard to write out the instructions in to words so please bear with me and let me know if any or all of it doesn't make sense!!

Food colouring
Piping bag
Icing tip e.g. 1M for swirls, 2D for roses
Zip lock bag
a tall drinking glass

1.  In a small bowl, take a little of the frosting (around 1/2 cup) and use a few drops of the food colouring to colour.  Go paler for a more subtle effect or be more heavy handed with the colouring for a bolder edge.  Spoon the coloured frosting into a zip lock bag and set aside.

2. Cut off the bottom of a disposable piping bag and pop your icing tip into the bag.  Fold the top couple of inches of the bag over and rest the bag, nozzle down in the drinking glass (this acts as a stand to hold up your piping bag).

3. Cut the bottom corner of the ziplock back with the coloured frosting and pipe a line from the nozzle up the sides of the bag.  Pipe a second line on the opposite side of the piping bag.  Carefully, spoon the uncoloured frosting into the bag.  Be careful not to overfill as you will need some space to twist the top of the bag shut.

4. Twist the top of the bag to close it off and gently push the frosting down to get rid of any air-bubbles.  Hold the twisted top of the bag shut with your writing hand, wrapping your thumb and forefinger around the twisted part - this is the hand you squeeze with.  Use your other hand to steady the nozzle.  Squeeze out a little test spot on a piece of baking paper to get rid of any space at the end of the bag.

For 1M Ice Cream Swirls

1. Basically for a 1M swirl you are making 2 spirals on top of each other. A small spiral on top of a bottom spiral.  But it's the little tips and tricks about just how to do it that make it look awesome.

So to start off with position yourself by holding the piping bag directly over the centre of the cupcake.  Leaving your top hand there, point the nozzle over the outside edge of the top of the cupcake about 1 cm above the cupcake so the piping bag is sloped a little.

2. Start squeezing frosting out of the nozzle but stay in that one spot for a good second so the frosting touches the cake and leaves a good size dollop before using your wrist (not your arm!) to make spiral from the outside inwards, squeezing the whole time.  When you get to the centre, taper off the pressure, stop piping and pull away.

3. Next, pipe a second smaller spiral on top of the large one, starting about 1.5cm in from the edge of the bottom spiral.  Over lap the end of the second spiral a little at the end so you get a bit of height, then taper off the pressure, stop piping and lift the nozzle straight up to get a nice tip.

For roses

1. Use the 1M or 2D nozzle. Same process as the 1M swirl but this time you are only piping one spiral and you start from the centre and work outwards.

2. Hold the piping bag directly straight above the centre of the cupcake about 1 cm above.  Pipe a spiral starting at the centre working out to the edge using your wrist.  When you have covered the cupcake, taper off the pressure and trail the frosting in line with the spiral to get a tapered edge that follows the spiral.


  1. you are a bloody legend !! thanks to you I own the wilton1M and love it, i also love how you are so generous with your knowledge x i can't wait to try this thanks ness x

    1. How awesome is the 1M huh?!?! I should be thanking you for visiting and reading and leaving lovely comments xox

  2. i left a message when you first posted and it seems to have gone missing... do you have a failsafe frosting recipe you can share, too?
    these look so pretty and you have made somethign fancy look very ahcievable! thankyou.

    1. Very sorry your message was lost! It's most definitely achieveable - seriously if a total clutz like me can do this I swear anyone can!! :) I am completely smitten with cream cheese frosting and pretty much use it on everything. Love the creaminess and not-too-sweetness. Buttercream just doesn't do it for me! The recipe is an evolving one, but the latest incarnation is here: - just sub out the 2 tsp peppermint extract for 1 tsp vanilla. It's super versatile - I've experimented with subbing in peanut butter, brown sugar and dulce de leche and it's always worked out deliciously! Thanks heaps for your question! :)

    2. thank you for supplying a delicious answer!

  3. Hi babe,
    I stumbled upon your blog and I really love what you’re doing. Particularly baking because I love to bake just like you. I will definitely try them one day and just by looking at it makes me drool and makes my hands itch. I have been wanting to visit Wellington, NZ and coincidentally, you’re from there. I was browsing through your wedding photos and I have to say they are awesome and from there I learnt that your dad have passed on. I lost my dad too but when I was much younger. 20 years ago to be exact when I was only 6 years old. Those were the days, my family and I went through a lot hardships in life. Perhaps it’s true that God took away what’s dearest to our hearts to remind us of what we took for granted. Continue baking and sharing what you do best and you never know how many of us appreciates your talents. May God bless you and your better half. I hope life’s good in Wellington, NZ. Keep on the safe side and take care always.
    Love from Sunny island, Singapore. -N

    1. Oh wow what a gorgeous message. Thank you so much for your beautiful and kind words. It's amazing to hear that halfway across the world there is someone who has shared similar loves and struggles. Am so sorry to hear about your dad too...and you were so young!! You have an amazing attitude and wish you all the best. Please do drop by and say hi again and if you're ever in Wellington give us a buzz!! Nessie x

    2. Hey babe,

      I might wanna visit Wellington in September this year or whichever it's earlier. Keep warm on your side! Love, N.

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  5. So pretty! Like variegated roses. Great tutorial, thanks for sharing your wisdom. :)

  6. I recently bought the Wilton 2D tip. I can relate to your excitement about how pretty the swirls and rosettes made with the Wilton 2D and 1M are. I recently did white swirl stabilized whipped cream rosettes on top of a cake. I filled in the gaps with stars using the same tip. It was simple but fun and pretty. For my next cake I want rosettes that are peach with a hot pink streak. Thanks for your pics and how to/pep talk! After reading this and seeing your pics I just have to try it!



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