top tips for working with royal icing
Royal icing… do you love it or hate it?!
Those of us who love it know it can be extremely versatile to work with. Providing a really quick way to decorate a cake once you have practiced... a lot! Simple piped detail around the edge of a cake can have such an impact. And I am sure we have all fought with fondant and various letter shaped cutters, when piping a message with royal icing can be done in a matter of seconds.
So where did it all start?
The earliest mention of royal icing comes from as far back as the 1600s. It quickly became a favourite of the Royal Family giving it its own Royal title. One of the main selling points of using royal icing is its stunning pure white colour. This comes from using pure egg whites in the recipe, which also play a huge part in the consistency of the icing as they allow the icing to set very hard. Nowadays it is more common to use meriwhite (dried egg white) rather than fresh. It means your icing will last longer and there is less risk of salmonella which can appear in raw egg.
Here are our 5 Top Tips when working with Royal Icing
Understanding the consistency you want and how to achieve it will make your life SO much easier. There is nothing worse than trying to pipe with icing that is so stiff you give yourself hand cramp. Or icing so runny that it just goes everywhere. So take the time to learn the difference between a run out royal icing or a stiff peak royal icing. You can find out more in one of our many Royal Icing Tutorials HERE
If you have worked with royal icing before you will know it sets super hard. Which isn’t ideal if you want to cover a whole cake in royal icing. That is where Glycerine comes in. Adding a small amount of glycerine will stop your royal icing from setting completely rock hard and breaking your teeth when you try to eat it!
When piping royal icing it is common to end up with little points of icing sticking up. Especially when piping dots. This will get less with practice but in the meantime a damp paintbrush will be your best friend. Use it to gently push down the point and it won’t affect the desired shape of your piping
One of the great things about royal icing is that it dries very quickly, but this can be a pain when it comes to your nozzles as they can often get clogged with bits of dry icing making it hard to pipe. Using a piping bag stand with a damp sponge at the bottom will stop them from drying up whilst you are using them. If you don’t have a piping bag stand another great alternative is to wrap some damp kitchen towel around your nozzle when you aren’t using it, or put some in the bottom of a glass and stand your piping bag in the glass.
When you are making your royal icing make sure you have measured out your water before you start and add it all in one go. It is also helpful to have a small squeezy bottle with some extra water to hand, just in case it needs a little more added. Using a squeezy bottle will stop you from adding too much as you can add just a drop at a time.
Our foolproof Royal Icing Recipe
Why not try some of our other favourite Royal Icing recipes inside the Academy?