This hard-drying icing is used for making decorations with that last forever if stored properly. It is also useful as a "cement" to fasten decorations together.

The traditional Royal Icing is a mixture of powdered (also known as confectioner's sugar), varying amounts of water, depending upon the consistency needed, and egg whites or meringue or pasteurized egg white powder (if consuming, a raw egg white substitute, such as powdered egg white powder or meringue, are the safest to use). A teaspoon of glycerin can be added which softens it. Sometimes Royal icing is enhanced with flavor, such as extracts. It can also be used as its natural color white or tinted before using.

Make sure all utensils and whatever comes into contact with it are grease-free as it will deflate or prevent the egg whites from beating properly.

SARAH SAYS: As I wrote in my blog post for the New York Times
June 25, 2010 10:11 AM ET Royal icing got its name from the pure white icing used to decorate the elaborate Victorian wedding cake served at Queen Victoria's wedding to Prince Albert in 1840. Its natural white color could be obtained only from using the finest refined sugar, very expensive at the time. For those who could afford it, an all white cake became more than a symbol for purity and virginal attributes; it was also a display of the family's wealth and social standing. — Sarah Phillips, founder, (formerly, a baking advice and recipe site

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