Have you ever wondered how professional bakers create luscious layers of swirled buttercream icing? It is surprisingly simple and you don’t need any unitasker gadgets. There are several decorating techniques to create that cool two-tone effect, but I prefer the basic methods that use only one piping bag. Check out these four cake decorating options to discover the one that best suits you.
1. Layer Two Icing Colors
Add a coupler and cuff the edge of a piping bag. Hold the bag horizontally and use an offset spatula to add small heaps of buttercream icing to the lower side of the bag. As needed, use your fingers to guide the icing and scrape the spatula from outside the bag. Add the second batch of icing alongside the first color.
As you decorate, the two colors will remain separate with subtle blending where they touch. This distinctive two-tone style looks great with deeply contrasting flavors and colors, such as chocolate and vanilla buttercream. It is an easy way to decorate a batch of cupcakes with the colors of your favorite school or sports team.
2. Add Stripes of Color
Attach the coupler and cuff the edge of piping bag. As you hold the bag, use a paintbrush to add one or more thin lines of concentrated icing color along the inside of the bag. Add icing to the bag, being careful not to smear the color stripe.
One line of color will create a nice highlight that works especially well on roses. Multiple stripes will create lines of color that resemble the stripes on a candy cane.
3. Use Streaks of Colored Icing
Attach the coupler and cuff the edge of piping bag. While holding the bag, use a small spatula or butter knife to apply one or more lines of colored frosting inside of the bag. Fill the bag with icing, taking care to avoid sliding the frosting down the colored lines.
This technique also creates highlights and stripes, but the color varies depending on the intensity of the icing lines.
4. Add Scoops of Colored Icing
Add a coupler and place the bag in a tall drinking glass. Cuff the edge to hold it in place. Drop a spoonful of icing into the bag. Repeat for the second color. Continue alternating colors until the bag is full.
This method creates varying swirls of color as you decorate. Use it to cover a whimsical batch of cupcakes with a hint of individuality.
Tips for Decorating with Two-Tone Icing
The two-tone effect seems to work best with a larger tip, such as 1M. Use a coupler so you can swap tips for different results.
Before you begin decorating, squeeze the piping bag until both colors emerge. You may need to pipe an inch or two of frosting to reach the color swirl.
You can use standard food coloring to streak the bag, but the color will not be as intense or crisp since food coloring’s watery consistency makes it difficult to create an even coating on the bag. For more reliable results, consider using the food coloring to tint a small amount of icing and painting icing stripes inside the piping bag.
If the darker color obscures the two-tone effect, rotate the bag so it creates a slightly different blend of colors.