There's a reason why I own so many Bundt pans: it's because my cake decorating skills are nonexistent. I have pastry bags and tips and I know how they're supposed to be used, but I'm not really good at it. I'm really good at sprinkling powdered sugar, though.
But there are times when even I feel the need to do more complicated cake or cookie decorating. A tool that's geared for the less-skilled decorators is right in my wheelhouse.
I gave the DecoMax ($24.99) from Lekue a test drive with a vast number of cookies and some royal icing. The first thing I liked was the wide opening that made it easy to fill. The other great thing was that I could store the icing to use the next day by taking off the tip and putting on a cover. And the last great thing was that it's completely dishwasher safe.
The not-so-great thing is that there aren't a huge number of tips—there are three sizes of plain tips and three sizes of star tips. But if you're using something like this, you're probably not concerned about doing complicated decorating.
The shape of this tool is completely different from holding a piping bag or even a squeeze bottle, but that's not a bad thing. You can use it with one hand or two, depending on what you're doing. I think it would be great for kids or for anyone who needs the two-handed grip for stability.
Did this improve my decorating skills? Not really. But it was a a lot neater than my usual attempts.
If you're adept at using a pastry bag, there's no need to add this to your gadget collection, but if you need a simple tool for yourself or for kids, this has some useful features.
About the author: Resident yeast whisperer and bread baking columnist Donna Currie also has a serious gadget habit. When her father-in-law heard about this column, he upgraded the nickname for her kitchen from "gadget world" to "gadget heaven." You can find her on her blog, Cookistry or follow her on Twitter at @dbcurrie.
Disclaimer: Testing samples were provided to Serious Eats.