One component fits all

Piping Gel

Is an edible, clear gel that is very popularly used in baking and the creation of edible decorations. It is essentially made out of sugar, the options vary between caster sugar and glucose including options like corn syrup. Some recipes use gelatin others don’t, however a thickening agent (to gelify the sugar) is usually required. While gelatin created the desired results impeccably, the pectin from lemon for instance also allows gelifying. However, lemon will always produce runnier results. This is important here because piping gel is usually used in cake decorating, where consistency and precision are very important, so the choice of ingredients tremendously affects the end results. So for instance, if you are after creating a water effect in cake decoration, the use of lemon (or a slightly runnier piping gel) is OK provided you outline the water area. However, when you want to create stained glass on the side of a cake, you will want to use a thicker more gelled piping gel. Of course the use of lemon or caster sugar for that matter is much more natural and healthier as an option than corn syrup for instance, but in cake decoration the functionality takes precedence. This is why, these cakes are left to special occasions and are not had on daily basis.

What is piping gel used for?

This is one example where the phrase “one component fits all” is very applicable. Piping gel is mainly used as edible glue, however, it is very versatile in a bakery and is used across the board. Here are some examples: Glazing tarts, fruits and other baked goods. Stabilizing whipped cream, where the cream is whipped to soft peaks and 2 tablespoons piping gel are added then all is whipped to stiff peaks) this exercise keeps the cream from spoiling and running once the product is out of the fridge. Often used instead of jelly or buttercream to crumb coat cakes before covering them with rolled fondant. A perfect medium for writing messages and adding decorative accents to baked goods. As glue to stick decorations and details onto decorated cakes/cookies and other confections. It is often used for lending a shiny effect where shine is needed…. most importantly piping gel is the best choice for creating the stained glass effect and nothing beats it in creating very realistic water in cake designs that require it (beach or pool themes)….etc.

Here is how it’s made…



1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 tsp clear vanilla (optional)


In a saucepan, whisk together the water and cornstarch, until the cornstarch is dissolved . Slowly add the corn syrup, whisking as you go to make sure the mixture is not lumpy. Stir over medium heat until the mixture boils and thickens.

Piping gel should be refrigerated and will last for 2 months in a sterilised, airtight container in the fridge.


To thin piping gel add water gradually in small amounts, until your reach the desired consistency.

To tint piping gel

all you need to do is add the gel food colours and blend in the colour with an offset spatula until uniformly tinted.

Usually the blending is in a folding motion, or using a figure 8 motion. This minimises the formation of bubbles in the gel.

To stay true to the tinting colors, use the tinted piping gel on cakes that are iced/covered with a white background.

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