Royal Icing is a basic staple of cake decorating.  It looks like buttercream frosting but hardens with a matte finish.  This stuff is amazing.  Its like cement, but edible… which is very useful for certain cake designs.  You will occasionally see some examples of decorative uses for royal icing on my site.  So when that happens, you will be prepared.

Below are two different recipes, one that uses egg whites and one that does not.  The egg white recipe makes some nervous, simply because there are raw egg whites (salmonella risk), but it is the traditional way to do it.  If you are squeamish about that, the meringue recipe is a good alternative.  An essential tip for both recipes: I mentioned cement before and I wasn’t kidding.  If you leave this uncovered for too long, you’ll have a beautiful clump of royal icing rock.  Put a damp cloth over your bowl when not immediately working with it.  If you have filled a piping bag, cover the tip with a damp cloth to prevent the end tip crusting over and blocking the flow.

Royal Icing Recipe (with raw egg whites)

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

2 egg whites, beaten

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (this is not necessary but helps)

*tip- you can flavor this with almond, vanilla, lemon extract or lemon juice if you like a little more flavor.

Directions:  Beat the egg whites until frothy, then add all other ingredients and continue to beat on high.  You want it to hold its shape (basically, you want stiff peaks that don’t move a whole lot after you lift your beater out).  The whole thing should take about 7-10 minutes.  If its too dry, add a little water.  If its too wet, add a little powdered sugar.  You get the idea.  At this point, you can mix in color if desired (preferably a fondant coloring paste).  This yields about 4 cups, which is a ton of icing, so scale it down if you’re not doing a huge project.

Royal Icing Recipe (with meringue)

3 tablespoons meringue powder

4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

6 tablespoons water

*tip- you can flavor this with almond, vanilla, lemon extract or lemon juice if you like a little more flavor.

Directions:  Mix the meringue powder and powdered sugar.  Then add the water and whatever flavorings you want.  Beat it for 7-10 minutes.  You want it to hold its shape (basically, you want stiff peaks that don’t move a whole lot after you lift your beater out).  The whole thing should take about 7-10 minutes.  If its too dry, add a little water.  If its too wet, add a little powdered sugar.  You get the idea.  At this point, you can mix in color if desired (preferably a fondant coloring paste).This yields about 3 cups, which is a ton of icing, so scale it down if you’re not doing a huge project.

 

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Kathryn

About Kathryn

I owned a successful wedding cake business for 4 years. I currently stay at home full-time running after my two boys. I started this DIY cake blog to encourage others to explore the world of creative desserts.