Need Help With Royal Icing

Decorating By TantalizingTreats Updated 3 Jun 2008 , 8:06pm by redpanda

TantalizingTreats Posted 24 May 2008 , 1:16am
post #1 of 20

Okay so i have attempted to make royal icing on several occasions and can never get it right... at least i don't think so anyway. Isn't royal icing supposed to dry hard? Is i have tried the wilton's version with meringue powder and such and also tried making it by beating the eggs until foamy and etc... anytime i make royal icing it seems runny, cant pipe and it doesn't dry rock hard... it works well for icing cookies but not as a glue for cakes and cake decorations and such... What am I doing WRONG??? am I not adding enough sugar? please help.. I have a wedding cake to do the week and I need royal icing for the decorating.

Thanks in advance

19 replies
KrisD13 Posted 24 May 2008 , 1:32am
post #2 of 20

Can you post your recipes? We'd have a better idea if we could see the quantities. And you would get lots more responses.

Hope this helps! icon_biggrin.gif

mellormom Posted 24 May 2008 , 1:37am
post #3 of 20

You may already know this but just in case;
Make sure that there is no grease in sight. Grease is royal icing worst enemy. Even the smallest bit of grease will ruin it.

Juds2323 Posted 24 May 2008 , 2:21am
post #4 of 20

Couple tips my instructor gave us. Wipe bowl and beater down with a bit of lemon juice the acid will remove any grease residue. You need to use it shortly after making it or it changes consistency.



Franluvsfrosting Posted 24 May 2008 , 2:42am
post #5 of 20

What is the consistency when you have finished beating it? It should have stiff peaks (or fairly firm depending on the texture you need). Does it look like this when you finish beating it and then get runny or is it just runny to begin with? What are you beating it with, at what speed and for how long? A stand mixer like a Kitchenaid will be able to beat it at a lower speed than a hand mixer and for a little bit less time. If it isn't getting nice and stiff and you've been meticulous to keep grease away from it you may just need to beat it a bit longer. Humidity can play a role too. That's why making Divinity at Christmastime in the Pacific Northwest so so tricky, because all the rain in the air keeps it pretty soggy and meringues don't like it. icon_smile.gif

I hope I helped and didn't just ramble! icon_smile.gif

TantalizingTreats Posted 24 May 2008 , 2:46am
post #6 of 20

Here is the recipe i like to use because it seems the easiest

4 egg whites
4 cups sifted icing sugar, confectioners sugar
1 tsp lemon extract

beat egg whites in a clean large bowl with mixer at high speed until foamy. Gradually add sugar and lemon extract, Beat at high speed until thickened.
Note: when dry, royal icing is very hard and resistant to damage that can occur during shipping/handling

however it has NEVER gotten to that stage for me icon_sad.gif

TantalizingTreats Posted 24 May 2008 , 5:26pm
post #7 of 20

another question... is the lemon extract just for flavour or does it do magic for the icing.? cuz i have always substituded the flavour i've wanted.

Gefion Posted 24 May 2008 , 5:58pm
post #8 of 20

Looks like not enough sugar. When RI is too runny, add more powdered sugar.

BakingGirl Posted 24 May 2008 , 6:10pm
post #9 of 20

Make sure whichever flavour you are substituting for the lemon extract is not oil based. Maybe you should try one batch without flavouring just to make sure the recipe itself works properly. Sounds like your icing is too runny to me. When you lift the beater out of the icing the icing should be pure white and the peaks should stand up and not fold over. You then can add water to the stiff icing to get glacing consistency for flooding cookies. Humidity can also be a factor. My icing never comes out exactly the same each time, I usually have to use a bit more or less water.

Ro40 Posted 24 May 2008 , 6:19pm
post #10 of 20

Try antonia74 royal icing recipe. It's pretty fail proof. I have great luck with it. You can find it in the recipe section of this website.

redpanda Posted 24 May 2008 , 6:36pm
post #11 of 20

Are you beating it for at least 10 minutes, until the icing loses its glossiness? If you underbeat, it will not hold shape when piped.

tracycakes Posted 25 May 2008 , 2:21am
post #12 of 20

I have always just used the Wilton recipe with meringue powder and haven't had any problem. Before I start though, I rewash EVERYTHING is HOT, HOT water with Dawn to make sure there is no grease on anything. I thoght about keeping separate couplers just for royal icing because it's such a pain. It has to beat for quite a while too. You probably have a little grease in it though.

SHAQUENNA Posted 25 May 2008 , 4:02am
post #13 of 20


Mike1394 Posted 25 May 2008 , 11:29am
post #14 of 20

Also watch out for any yolk that gets into the whites.


banba Posted 26 May 2008 , 9:15am
post #15 of 20

I would use lemon juice and not extract. The lemon juice is used to keep the icing white and I think it may be added for other reasons too but I am not sure what they are? May have something to do with how the lemon juice reacts with the egg whites?

mausman Posted 26 May 2008 , 9:53am
post #16 of 20

the recipe for royal icing is that u use 1 part of egg white with 6 parts of icing sugar (always use icing sugar not caster sugar as u will never be able to make royal icing with caster sugar) and mix it either with the spoon or beat it in the beater at speed 1 for coating the cake and for piping it should be beaten at speed 2. You can know the royal icing is ready when u take the spoon out of the royal icing and it forms a peak if it doesnt form a peak then u have to beat it more.
For coating the cake add a bit of glycerin so that after coating the cake it remains soft and can b cut easily.
However for piping you do not put glycerin and use it as it is and it can be used as a glue.
But if you r making run outs then u have to put a bit of acetic acid either lemon juice or vinegar and no glycerin but you hav to add egg white but by bit so as to make it a bit runny
the royal icing does dry out so u should always cover it with a damp cloth.
and if its hard cant be used for icing then either beat it it or add a small quantity of egg white bit by bit and beat again until it again forms a peak on the spoon when u take the spoon out of it

mausman Posted 26 May 2008 , 10:19am
post #17 of 20

just want to tell u that the egg white should be taken out the day b4 the royal icing to be made cause the more old the egg whites are the more good the royal icing is.
Also remember that the reason you put glycerin in the royal icing for the coating of the cake is cause glycerin absorbs moisture from the atmosphere and keeps the coating soft and thus is easily digestable.
You put acetic acid that is lemon juice or vinegar in the royal icing when you are making runouts this is because the acetice acid reacts with the egg white and makes its hard
Where as for piping, boarders and writing the royal icing should be used as it is and no need for adding glycerin and acetic acid and should be used as it is but the royal icing should be beaten at speed 2
i hope all this info will help you and best of luck with the wedding cake

mausman Posted 26 May 2008 , 10:24am
post #18 of 20

forgot to write down that for making royal icing white u add a bit of blue color and it makes it white (it sounded strange to us but when our instructor told us and demonstrated it well it really worked)

KrisD13 Posted 26 May 2008 , 8:19pm
post #19 of 20

Shaquenna, it sounds like you are a bit confused. If you are using crisco and butter, you will not be making royal icing, but buttercream. Which are you asking about? icon_smile.gif

redpanda Posted 3 Jun 2008 , 8:06pm
post #20 of 20
Originally Posted by mausman

just want to tell u that the egg white should be taken out the day b4 the royal icing to be made cause the more old the egg whites are the more good the royal icing is.

My understanding is that egg whites beat up better when the eggs aren't brand new, not that you need to separate the eggs the day before. Older eggs beat up better because of chemical changes that occur as the egg ages.

From what I have learned, you should separate the eggs while cold, and then bring the whites to room temperature. They separate more easily cold, but beat better while warm.

What you should definitely NOT do is separate them the day before and leave the whites out at room temperature for a day. (I'm not sure if that's what you meant or not.)

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