Learning anything is difficult. It can be argued, pretty easily, that learning anything baking and pastry related is much more difficult. When you're new to something, it can be really easy to give up. Some people don't like challenges. Some people though, like me, live for them. Anybody that knows me, know that. I see challenges as an opportunity to learn. If you're not getting better, you're getting worse. One of my goals ultimately is to open a bakery. This bakery will have nothing to do with cakes. Nevertheless, the most realistic way to get a bakery, I believe, is to start at home. I've always had a passive interest in cake decorating. I found it interesting, but never really wanted to get into it. I mean, I know how to decorate a basic one tier buttercream cake. Anything more intricate is way out of my league. I'm a rookie or what some may call a noob. I'm soaking in as much information as I can. Watching videos, reading books and forums. Of course, I'm also practicing. I want to learn the basics. I want to be great at piping. In order to do that, I need to practice. So, that's what I do. Everyday. The way I do it is very easy and very cheap. Butter, heavy cream, vanilla are all expensive. So, I don't use those things in my practice "icing" recipe. You'll see just how cheap the icing is and how easy it is to make. It pipes beautifully and keeps well for months. It's perfect for practicing borders, shells, dots and much more. Just don't eat it. It is for practice only, not for eating. Keep that in mind. So, if you're a noob like me, I highly recommend you practice. They say, "practice make perfect" for a reason. I truly believe that. The more you do something, the more second nature it will become. That's my plan for piping. I invite you to use this "icing" recipe and these tips/techniques so we can both become buttercream piping masters.
Make your icing first. Get all your equipment together and go ahead and practice. You can practice whatever borders you feel necessary. I use the back of a baking sheet, but you can use a wax paper or parchment paper as your canvas. Have fun!
See how I do it:
- 1 cup of shortening
- 3 to 4 cups of powdered sugar, sifted
- Water (Enough to reach a smooth consistency. Add a tablespoon at a time.)
Combine all the ingredients together and mix until smooth and uniform.
Store in the fridge or freezer for a month. Let it thaw out of the fridge and re-mix. DO NOT EAT. Made for practice, not eating.