Royal icing is one of the earliest mediums used in cake decoration. Although no longer trending as the primary medium of covering cakes, it is still used in cake decoration and for other baked goods. Learning how to make royal icing is a good course of action for any baker or cake decorator. It would always come in handy and what’s more, it is easy to learn how to make royal icing.
If you don’t have the time or inclination to learn how to make royal icing, you can always buy the ready-to-use mix.
How To Make Royal Icing
A pair of panty hose that has not been used or fine mesh flour sieve
A Large Glass or Metal Mixing Bowl (This is preferable to plastic as plastic retains more grease than glass or metal)
Mixer (hand or stand mixer)
How To Make Royal Icing – Recipe #1
14 oz., 500 g or 4 Cups Icing Sugar (Have some more handy in case you need to thicken the icing)
½ Cup or 120 ml Egg Whites
3 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice (Have some extra handy for cleaning your mixing bowl)
Food Color of your choice (preferably gel or paste)
Method For Preparation
Sift Your Icing
Cut the panty hose off at the knee then spread it over your mixing bowl. Use this to sift your icing sugar. This step is very important because lumps in the icing would frustrate your work. You can also use a fine mesh sieve. However, a hose is your best bet to get the best result.
Rid Your Mixing Tools of Grease
Next get a clean mixing bowl. Remember we said a metal or glass bowl. This is because plastic bowls retain more grease than glass or metal and royal icing and grease are diametrically opposed. Any hint of grease in your bowl would ruin your royal icing.
This is where the additional lemon juice comes in; use it to clean out your mixing bowl. Infact to be double sure/safe, use the lemon juice to clean the whisk of your mixer.
On To Mixing!
Now place your egg whites in the mixing bowl and whisk until frothy. Then add the icing sugar and whisk. Remember to start out on low speed to avoid a sugar bathe. Increase the speed of your mixer once the two are well incorporated.
Also constantly scrap down your mixing bowl as you work. In addition, spritz the sides of the bowl with the spray bottle. This would ensure that there are no icing clumps.be careful not to overdo it though so as not to ruin the consistency of your icing.
Whisk until your mixture looks shiny and holds a soft peak. Add the three teaspoons of lemon juice and the food color if needed. The lemon juice would introduce some acidity to the mix and make the royal icing more pliable. It also gives it a bit more shine.
The accompanying video would show you how these steps work.
How To Make Royal Icing – Recipe #2
¼ Cup Meringue Powder
½ Cup Warm Water (just slightly warm to touch)
1 lb., 500 g or 4 Cups Icing Sugar (You may need more or less depending on the consistency of icing that you desire)`
How To Make Royal Icing – Expert Tips
Checking For The Right Consistency
When you are done mixing your icing, check that you have the right consistency. If you pipe a straight line and it breaks or streaks in between then the icing is too dry. Just spritz a drop or two of water to thin down the icing.
Your icing is too thin if you pipe a straight line and it looks sloppy and without structure. A good piping consistency is when you pipe a straight line and there are no breaks, no air bubbles and no inconsistency in the structure.
Sometimes you might have the right piping consistency for your icing but your piping may be breaking because of sugar clumps. That is why it is VERY important to sieve your icing sugar thoroughly. Also do not forget to scrap down your mixing bowl while mixing and also spritz the sides of the bowl before scraping down.
It is safest to first make a stiff consistency icing if you want to use more than one consistency. That way, you’ll be able to thin down the quantity you want
If you need more than one consistency, whip your royal icing to the stiffest consistency and add a few drops of water at a time to the remaining icing to water it down to the desired consistency.
Coloring Your Royal Icing
When adding color to royal icing, it is best to use gel or paste color. Many veterans insist on gel colors. This is because they are usually highly pigmented and a little goes a long way. In the same vein, it wouldn’t impact on the consistency of the icing.
Additionally, bear in mind that colored royal icing gets darker when it dries. So mix your color a shade lighter bearing in mind that it would get darker when it dries. Always remember to color more icing than you need. This is because getting the same shade of color would be difficult if you run out of a particular color.