Piping buttercream shells

by Madeline
(Taunton MA)

Hi! I'm new here and love the site and how you share your passion with others. I have been a great baker but just got into cake decorating a year ago and I still haven't mastered piping buttercream shells border. I have all kinds of star tips and follow my instructors instruction on how to pipe them. However they never come out short and nice with a realistic looking shell.

My question is about piping buttercream shells and how can I pipe nice looking ones? What am I doing wrong? I have a Facebook page with some of my cake pictures you can go look at them and see what I'm taking about.

Everyone likes my tasty cakes and they love the decorations but I'm striving to get better and professional because I dream of having my own cake decorating business soon. Thank you and I really appreciate your response.


Like me on Facebook... Maddy's Party Cakes

Hi Madeline,

I posted a video below.

I was piping shells this morning on a wedding cake and I photographed it. The trick to making the shells look more realistic is all in the way you move the bag from the right to the left, and the amount of pressure you apply at specific times during the right to left movement.

Squeeze the bag as you slightly move it to the left and then quickly to the right. As you move it to the right you start to add less pressure so that the frosting ends up forming a narrow end. The next shell will cover the tip of the previous shell.

My all time favorite cake decorating book has a section on piping. She talks about rhythm or having a sense of rhythm when piping. Practice a lot and then try playing some music as you work or chanting a rhythm to yourself.

Here is a cute rhyme that I am quoting from her book.

While piping design
Keep movement in mind
With this helpful rhyme
come a fine looking line.

The book is called Cakewalk: Adventures In Sugar With Margaret Braun

I hope this help you out Madeline. As soon as I get a new video camera I will make a short video for you specifically on piping shell borders. Thanks so much for asking a GREAT question. and visiting Wedding Cakes For You

Here is the Video

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May 05, 2011
Thank you
by: Madeline

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my question and even posting some pictures. I'm working on a cake right now and I will try your instructions along with some music!

Thanks again :)

May 25, 2011
What size tip
by: Madeline

Can you please tell me what size tip you used for piping those shells on the wedding cake you post the picture off?
Thanks a lot :)

Sure Madeline, it is a #32 Wilton tip

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