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Which Piping Bag Works Best?

I am not the world’s most proficient cake-decorator. It’s something I badly need to learn or teach myself or whatever, but truthfully, I like simple decorations anyway, so that works out?

I do, however, use my piping bags quite often to make piped desserts: cookies, meringues, macarons, and pavlovas. And I recently got to thinking: what kind of piping bag works the best?

piping bags

I had to recently chuck one because it got all gross and kind of moldy on the inside. I’d had it while, so maybe it was just normal wear-and-tear, but while I was shopping for a new one, I thought I’d do a test and see which kind of piping bag worked best for me.

I used three different kinds:

  1. Traditional. These are easily available, I usually buy the ones by Wilton. They’re made from polyester, and while they’re kind of stiff when you first get them, the more you use them, the more pliable they become. They also come in a variety of sizes. I’m a fan of the 14″. They are pretty cheap–under $10.
  2. Disposable: These are by far the cheapest option. Some cooking stores will sell them individually, or you may have to buy them in a package of 10. People like them because they make cleanup so easy. You just take your piping tip and coupler off, and then throw it in the garbage. Nothing messy to deal with. I do question if they are strong enough to deal with a heavier batter, though.
  3. Silicone: These are really new on the market, and they have a lot going for them. They are more hygienic than the traditional versions, as you can put them in the dishwasher. This makes cleanup easy and delivers a much cleaner pastry bag as well. They are also going to be stronger. But how do they feel in the hand, as opposed to the traditional or disposable versions?

Here’s my test:

What’s your piping bag of choice? I’d love to hear. Let me know in the comments below.

Slow-Cooker Upside-Down Peach Bourbon Cake

It’s hot.

And I don’t mean that as a complaint. I ain’t complaining. I am a girl who loves the summer, thrives on it, won’t complain when the mercury rises.

I might complain a little, though, if I am forced to turn on my oven during said heat. Because then my apartment gets to be about 700 degrees, and it’s pretty unbearable.

peach bourbon upside down cake

So, faced with a dilemma: that being I had too many peaches (a friend picked them up for me on his way home through the Okanagan), and wanting to make an upside-down cake with them, but not wanting to turn on my oven, I thought I’d give it a try in my slow cooker.

Here’s the thing about slow cookers. People think that they are only for the winter. For soups and stews and heartier, comforting fare. But they can also be your best friend during the summer, when you don’t want to turn on your oven. The heat they kick out is not immense, and it’s contained, so they won’t make your kitchen hot like turning on your oven will.

I’ve never baked a cake in my slow cooker before, but I knew someone who had: Julie Van Rosendaal.

Her new Best of Bridge cookbook included a recipe for a classic pineapple upside-down cake done in the slow cooker, and I thought I’d just swap out the pineapple for peaches, and Bob’s your uncle.

Turns out, Bob IS your uncle! I will admit to having a healthy dose of skepticism going in, but it worked really well. I was really impressed. And the cake was amazeballs. Moist, with just the right crumb. It makes this super tasty caramel sauce that drips down over everything and just rocks. My kid hoovered down a chunk of this still warm, and asked for more.

Winner! And no burning hot kitchen. Extra win.

peach bourbon slow cooker upside down cake

Slow-Cooker Upside-Down Peach Bourbon Cake

(adapted from Best of Bridge Slow Cooker)

Round, 4-6 quart slow cooker

Ingredients

Topping

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 4 peaches, pitted, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tbsp bourbon

Cake

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup milk

Method:

  1. Make the topping. Melt the butter and mash the brown sugar into it until it’s all combined into a kind of paste. Add the bourbon and mash it in as well. Grease the inside of your slowcooker, then spread the brown sugar-bourbon-butter mixture in a single layer on the bottom of the pot.
  2. Carefully arrange the peach slices on top to make it pretty.
  3. Add the softened butter to the bowl of your mixer, and then add the sugar. Whip those together until they are light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla.
  4. Combine the baking powder and salt with the flour, and then slowly beat it into the wet ingredients, alternating with the milk.
  5. Once the batter is done, pour it into the slow cooker on top of the peaches.
  6. Turn heat to high and let cook for about 2-2 1/2 hours, or until the edges are browning and a skewer insterted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Remove the bowl from the slow cooker and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the cake to loosen, then place a plate on top and flip it upside down.
  8. Your cake should slide out onto the plate. If there are any bits left in the slow cooker, you can dig them out and patch them in.
  9. Serve warm with ice cream.

 

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