Russian Decorating Tips

If you’ve been perusing decorated cakes on Instagram or Pinterest lately you may have noticed an influx of cakes decorated with some fancy and elaborate looking flowers. You may have thought to yourself that they require some advanced skill in cake decorating to create, but, the truth is, they only require specific types of decorating tips, a little patience and the right frosting consistency to replicate.

When I first started seeing them I did a little research and discovered that the flowers were being created with decorating tips known as “Russian Decorating Tips.” After a little more research I discovered that these tips have nothing to do with Russia. So, how did they get their name? Per another blogger, I Am Baker, they got their name because they were being sold by a company called Ali Express and they named them “Russian Tips.” At the time I didn’t feel like ordering a set over the internet, but, not too long ago I discovered that my local AC Moore began selling a set of 8 (along with an extra-large coupler to use with them) for less than $10. Truth be told, you don’t need the coupler. You can just cut your decorator bag and drop the tip in. I would suggest using a 16-inch decorator bag with these tips as opposed to a 12-inch one.

 

Unlike traditional decorating tips from Wilton & Ateco, these tips do not have numbers on them. The tips have a laser cut design on the end that allows the frosting to be piped through and form the different flowers. I will say that some of the tips are easier to use than others. Some of the designs, especially those that have detailed centers meant to emulate the stamen & stigma part of the flower, take a little more practice to master. One other thing that is different is the way you pipe them. With your usual tips you sometimes have to add a little wrist twist to get the flower design, or, you have to hold the bag at a 45 degree angle. But, with these tips you hold the bag at a 90 degree angle about an inch or so from your cake (or cupcake) and squeeze for a few seconds to form the flower. Before piping the next flower I would suggest wiping the tip clean to get a nice flower for the next pipe.

Like I mentioned earlier I purchased a set of these tips from my local AC Moore store. I can’t remember how I knew they carried them; I probably saw something on their Instagram feed. I decided to hold off on using them until I made my Mother’s Day cake. I did test them out using store bought vanilla frosting and as I had suspected and had read a little bit about, the frosting was too thin to get a well-formed flower. All of my test flowers looked like little blobs of frosting as opposed to a flower.

So, using my go-to Fluffy Vanilla Frosting that I then tinted in 4 different colors I began decorating the top of my cake. I was soon a bit frustrated with some of the tips. The flowers weren’t piping well and even though the frosting was a stiffer consistency the centers of the flowers weren’t looking nice. So, I decided to switch the tips I had chosen to use. Soon enough I got the hang of it and ended up with a flower topped cake I was content with. It wasn’t until I added in leaves (using a Wilton 352 tip) that I piped around the cake and in between the flowers to fill in the gaps that I was truly happy with the outcome.

  

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin-Brownie Swirl Pie

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend filled with love and laughter amongst family and friends and of course some delicious food! My Thanksgiving was good and while there was plenty of scrumptious food to be had there was also plenty of yummy desserts… Including this Pumpkin-Brownie Swirl Pie.

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To begin, I made the brownie batter portion of the pie by melting a stick of unsalted butter and a 12-ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips along with light brown sugar over medium heat in a saucepan. Once the butter and chocolate were melted I removed the saucepan from the heat and whisked in two eggs and vanilla extract. In a medium bowl I whisked together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt and then added this flour mixture to the chocolate mixture and whisked it until the both were combined and smooth.

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Following that I transferred the brownie batter into a measuring cup to ensure that I would pour the right amount – a third of the batter – into the prepared pie plate.

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While the brownie was baking in the oven I made the pumpkin filling by whisking together pumpkin puree, heavy cream, an egg, granulated sugar, flour, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a medium bowl until it was smooth.

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By the time I was done with the pumpkin filling the brownie was ready to come out of the oven.

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I immediately poured the pumpkin filling over the brownie. I stirred a tablespoon of water to the remaining brownie batter and then spooned the batter onto the pumpkin filling. Using the back of the spoon I then pulled the batter into the filling.

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After baking for about 40 minutes in a 350 F preheated oven the Pumpkin-Brownie Swirl Pie was ready to come out. Unfortunately it did end up cracking a bit but luckily it didn’t affect the flavor one bit!

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Pumpkin and chocolate is definitely a winning combination! The sweetness of the brownie is such a nice complement to the mellow taste of pumpkin spiced with pumpkin pie spice (a combination of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg & allspice.) I took half of this pie to a friend’s house for dessert and one of the guests commented that I needed to go home and get the other half. You can’t beat a complement like that!

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Pumpkin-Brownie Swirl Pie

Ingredients:

For the Brownie Filling:

1 stick unsalted butter, plus more for the pie plate

1 12-ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

2/3 cup packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Pumpkin Filling:

1 cup pure pumpkin puree

1 cup heavy cream

1 large egg

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter the bottom and side of a 9 1/2 – inch deep-dish pie plate. Make the brownie filling; Heat the butter, chocolate chips and brown sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the butter and chocolate are melted. Remove from the heat. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla, whisking until smooth. Whisk in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt until combined.

2. Pour about one-third of the brownie batter into the prepared pie plate; set aside the remaining batter. Bake until just starting to set and the top is shiny, about 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, make the pumpkin filling: Combine the pumpkin puree, heavy cream, egg, granulated sugar, flour, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a medium bowl; whisk until smooth.

4. Pour the pumpkin filling over the warm brownie layer. Stir 1 tablespoon water into the remaining brownie batter, then spoon the batter (in about 6 scoops) onto the pumpkin filling. Use the back of the spoon to pull the brownie batter into the pumpkin filling and create a swirled pattern. Bake until the pie is set, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely.