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Royal-icing2_cRoyal Icing is a pure white icing that dries to a smooth, hard, matte finish. Besides its lovely finish it also colors beautifully which makes it a favorite of professionals who use it not only for frosting cakes and cookies, but also for intricate piping of decorations (flowers, borders, and lettering). Royal Icing is simply a mixture of powdered (icing or confectioners) sugar, lemon juice, and raw egg whites. Read about Royal Icing: useful hints, how to make icing, how to ice a cake. And also some information about Peaked Icing.

Useful hints

1. Make sure that icing sugar is dry and free from lumps. Always sieve before using.

2. Add only the stated amount of glycerine. 1 x 5ml spoon (1 teaspoon) per 450g (1 lb) of icing sugar (this prevents it from becoming brittle) as too much will make it crumbly and fragile.

3. Vegetable colouring in liquid, powder or paste form may be used to colour the icing; liquid colouring is best applied in drops from end of fine knitting needle or skewer.

4. A little lemon juice can be added to prevent discolouration but too much will harden the icing.

5. Two or three thin coats of icing, if time permits, gives a very much better result than one thick one. The first coat is needed to cover any imperfections in the almond paste and the following ones to make a good surface.

To Ice Cake

1. Place almond pasted cake on a cake board 7.5cm (3 inch) larger than the diameter of the cake. Position the cake on an icing turntable (if available), cake tin or upturned mixing bowl.

2. Place about half the icing on top, and using a palette knife, work across to spread icing and remove bubbles. Give cake half a turn and repeat. Then using a metal ruler, draw firmly across the cake, remove surplus icing and allow to dry for 24 hours.

3. Repeat this process for the sides of the cake holding the knife vertically and using the ruler to remove surplus.

4. Allow to dry thoroughly between each layer.

5. Carefully remove any rough edges with a small sharp knife.

Christmas Cake with Peaked Icing

1. Make Royal Icing as before, but a stiffer consistency so that when the palette knife is lifted out of the bowl, the icing stands up in straight peaks.

2. Spread icing very thickly over cake, taking care to cover completely.

3. Lift icing up in peaks with palette knife, all over the cake to represent snow.

Pouring Method

1. Make icing as before, but a thinner consistency that will just find its own level but is not too thin.

2. Place cake on a wire tray and pour icing all over top.

3. Spread out icing and the weight should carry it down the sides.

4. Bang wire tray lightly to help distribution but stop as soon as it shows signs of setting or ridges will form.

5. Prick bubbles with a pin, before they set.

6. Leave until set, remove to a board or plate and decorate.

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