Glycerine in royal icing?

Baking By Zamode Updated 20 Sep 2013 , 12:13am by 105sruss

Zamode Posted 21 Mar 2010 , 2:12am
post #1 of 59

I thought I had heard of this somewhere, to soften the icing, does anyone do this and if so, would you mind sharing a recipe? I hate royal because it's rock hard, I prefer glacé but don't do so well with that yet. Royal is easy to decorate with, I just don't like the hardness or the taste. TIA

58 replies
bonniebakes Posted 21 Mar 2010 , 12:52pm
post #2 of 59

Zamode - have you tried ANtonia74's RI recipe? It's here on CC in the recipe section.

It is great to work with and it dries hard so that you can stack and bag, but the underneath layer (next to the cookie) stays soft. It's not crack your teeth hard like the RI used for gingerbread houses.

I also add a little corn syrup to that RI recipe. I like the extra shine it gives, and it might help keep it a little softer, too. No one has told me that they notice any difference in flavor or consistency.

glad to see you're going to try more cookies icon_lol.gif

Peeverly Posted 21 Mar 2010 , 9:16pm
post #3 of 59

I've heard of this. Martha Stewart says to use it to make icing shiny. I have tried it (years and years ago - still have the bottle I bought when I read about it in her magazine) but I actually forgot about it! I'm going to try to find out if it was her magazine or in one of her books about decorating cookies. As I recall, it was in 1998 or so when I tried it.

Peeverly Posted 21 Mar 2010 , 9:20pm
post #4 of 59

Ok, now I remember. I used it to try to make my royal icing shiny but I think I put too much in and the royal icing didn't set (it didn't dry hard enough). So the trick is to not put too much in. I think it's only a drop or two.

Zamode Posted 1 Apr 2010 , 2:13am
post #5 of 59

Thanks very much Peeverly! thumbs_up.gif

TexasSugar Posted 1 Apr 2010 , 2:28pm
post #6 of 59

I'd post this question in one of the other boards, just leave out the cookie part. The UK bakers would probably be the best to answer this because I believe they use glycerine in their royal on cakes.

Sugarflowers Posted 1 Apr 2010 , 3:46pm
post #7 of 59

If you want the royal icing to set up DON'T use glycerin. It is oil based and will ruin your frosting. I learned this the hard way. Thinning royal with corn syrup will work much better.


Duh, I missed the part where you didn't like how royal got so hard. icon_redface.gif

proudmary1960 Posted 28 Jul 2013 , 8:55pm
post #8 of 59

Can someone please tell me how to keep Royal icing soft enough to stick dowels or skewers in the dummy cake after it is frosted i am entering a fair in a contest they will have it for 10 days starting on August 14,

GigisFreshBaked Posted 30 Jul 2013 , 11:01am
post #9 of 59

I only use RI on decorated cookies, so I need it to get hard, but some also use a Royal Icing Glaze, which appartently doesn't get as hard as regular but still hardens.  I guess sticking in the dowels prior to frosting and working around them isn't an option?  

proudmary1960 Posted 30 Jul 2013 , 3:58pm
post #10 of 59

yes, it is. Thank you

GigisFreshBaked Posted 30 Jul 2013 , 5:36pm
post #11 of 59
Originally Posted by proudmary1960 

yes, it is. Thank you

My pleasure!  Post pictures when your done and good luck!

proudmary1960 Posted 30 Jul 2013 , 5:51pm
post #12 of 59

Please can someone tell me how much corn syrup do i use to frost a dummy cake to soften it

auzzi Posted 31 Jul 2013 , 3:48am
post #13 of 59
8 oz icing sugar
1 egg white
½ tsp glycerine
105sruss Posted 18 Sep 2013 , 6:51pm
post #14 of 59


I am English and use royal icing on all of my wedding cakes because it looks nicer and tastes much better along with the marzipan and especially with our traditional fruit cake. Glycerine does not make the icing shiny it makes it softer. When doing a wedding cake you use 1 teaspoon of glycerine to each 1lb of made icing for the bottom tier, as that has to take the weight. For the middle tier 2 teaspoons per 1lb and 3 teaspoons per 1lb for the top tier and single tier cakes. Don't put glycerine in if doing run outs or no 1 tube work. To me sugar paste/fondant icing is a poor substitute for wedding cakes and became popular because lazy bakers found it quicker and easier to do. They called it "the fashion" thus making them considerably more money. It's very hard to find properly royal iced cakes in bakeries now and if you do they are wildly expensive. The best way to use it on cakes is to do 3 thinner coatings rather than 1 thick one, it'll be softer. For cookies I would use 3 teaspoons of glycerine per 1lb of icing. I hope that this helps. By the way it doesn't alter the taste at all.

Good luck


105sruss Posted 18 Sep 2013 , 8:05pm
post #16 of 59

I'm talking baker's shops. To make good royal iced cakes, such as wedding cakes e.g. Wills and Kate's wedding cake, it takes a lot of study, practice and patience. It is a real art and very time consuming, if done properly, as there are many stages to go through over a period of time. Fondant icing can be done in one hit and takes very little time. Stick on some pre made decorations and a bit of simple piping and it's done. Add to this the word "FASHION" and it takes off. Hence more cakes for the same amount of time, resulting in more money coming in. Consequences? the almost death of a great art. So few baker's shops nowadays have anyone trained or capable of doing such cakes because it takes so long to learn and master. I am making a royal iced 4 tiered cake for my Grandson's wedding this weekend and if I could find a shop capable of doing it, it would cost around £1000.00. Fondant icing is no match to it, you just can't achieve that superior finish with it and it tastes nasty.

JWinslow Posted 18 Sep 2013 , 8:30pm
post #17 of 59

 I agree that Royal Icing finishes are seldom seen anymore even with a resurgence of some beautiful piping techniques.  I respect your choice and commitment to RI - this is good for everyone in the industry but I do not agree with your assessment of fondant.  It takes time to learn properly and the decorations can take longer than making the cake.  Although the taste of many fondants is awful, not all are.  I never have found a RI that I found delicious.  I only have simple recipes.

Congratulations to your Grandson and would love to see pictures of your cake :)



105sruss Posted 18 Sep 2013 , 9:27pm
post #18 of 59

Thank you. I understand that ornaments are time consuming with fondant and that there are many different ones. Here in the UK we haven't got many to choose from. I've recently found the Satinice gum paste which is much better than the normal modeling paste that you buy here but mainly, in normal local shops, it's Renshaw or nothing. I can make my own but use it so rarely it's not worth it. I do use it on kids' birthday cakes as they seem to love it but I can't even stand the feel of it in my mouth. Here the fruit cake used for wedding cakes is very rich and almost black in colour. It's also very potent, alcohol wise and coupled with the marzipan topped with royal icing the over all taste is delicious. Royal icing with glycerine in it and peppermint flavouring makes great mint creams, not forgetting rose petal and violet, which can also be used to flavor the edible flowers made with royal icing. We don't even have to mix it here now as you can buy royal icing sugar, basically what you call confectioners sugar with powdered albumin already in it, in packs. All you have to do is add the water and beat it up and then put your glycerine in. There's no chance of salmonella with powdered albumin. I will have a go at posting the wedding cake when it's finished but I am a horrific technophobe and haven't a clue how to do it. I'm also about to have my p.c. man in to change everything over to my new laptop, printer and modem, the thought of which is giving me the hebejeebies. The cake is another take on the Wilton one that has been on here before. The bride picked it out but it is being personalized to her dress and taste and of course done with royal icing.

Thank you for your good wishes


JWinslow Posted 18 Sep 2013 , 9:34pm
post #19 of 59

Sandra,  Thank you for the flavoring tips.  I still mix my RI by hand.  My first introduction was the Eddie Spence book and have just done it his way. I'm not good but have done some string work. I believe Wilton also makes a RI mix - just add water.


I'm not much of a tech head either but if I can do you can too - lol 



105sruss Posted 18 Sep 2013 , 10:20pm
post #20 of 59

Don't you believe it, I'm close to another heart attack just thinking about learning how to use the new lot. I've had printer/scanners for 5 years and still don't know how to scan, I always think I'm going to mess up and lose it all. Have a look for Mary Ford books, you can find them on ebay. Every step of the decorating on each cake is shown in coloured pictures and she gives quantities, recipes etc in the front of the book, even telling you how many times more of the recipe you need for a bigger cake. They are great books for beginners. As far as mixing the icing I usually always do it by hand but because of the quantity I thought I'd do the first batch with my Kenwood. Never again, I've had a nightmare getting the air bubbles out. I'm doing the 2nd batch now with my trusty old wooden spoon and giving my old arms and shoulders a rest writing back to you. Normally it would've all been finished by now but she's having the 2 middle tiers made of Victoria sponge and chocolate respectively for those that don't like fruit cake. Still with the marzipan and icing though, but you can't do them until the last minute as they don't keep indefinitely like the rich fruit cake.

Give the books a look I'm sure you'll become an expert in no time.


lindseyjhills Posted 18 Sep 2013 , 10:40pm
post #21 of 59

APrince William and Catherine's wedding cake was covered in marzipan and sugarpaste. It wasn't royal iced (except for the piping). I know because I was very surprised, and disappointed, when I inspected the photos and then subsequently read an interview with Fiona Cairns saying it was sugarpaste. I also think a royal iced fruit cake tastes far superior to a sugarpaste-covered one. 105sruss - have you tried Covapaste fondant? Taste-wise it's the best premade one I have found available in the UK.

105sruss Posted 18 Sep 2013 , 11:14pm
post #22 of 59

AThat's odd because when she was interviewed on television and asked that question she replied "Royal Icing of course". I've never heard of Covapaste. I live in a sleepy old village called Herne and although we do have cake decorating shops in the surrounding areas I haven't come across that one. I think if I could get to the West End of London I'd probably find lots but that's out of the question for me? Are you in the UK then? I thought I was talking to someone in America lol.

105sruss Posted 18 Sep 2013 , 11:20pm
post #23 of 59

You see what a techno idiot I am I hadn't even realized I was talking to a different person. I used to know Westcliffe really well but haven't been there for about 30  years. I lived in Es*** for 23 years. I hope that Jeanne is still on line, I'll bet she's having a real chuckle at me lol.

lindseyjhills Posted 18 Sep 2013 , 11:27pm
post #24 of 59

A:) Yes, I think I must have read the interview with her in The Metro (so maybe not the most reliable publication!) but if you look closely at the cake tiers in the photos you can see unevenness in the covering that you just wouldn't get with royal icing. I'll see if I can find a picture and post it up. I've only lived in Westcliff about five years, but I love it here. I get my covapaste in bulk online and there are not many cake decorating shops near here. And the ones there are only stock Renshaws :(

lindseyjhills Posted 18 Sep 2013 , 11:32pm
post #25 of 59

AThis is the best close-up I can find.[IMG ALT=""][/IMG]

105sruss Posted 18 Sep 2013 , 11:33pm
post #26 of 59

I only saw it on television so didn't look that close. Next time I use sugar paste I'll give Covapaste a go. Thanks for the tip.



kikiandkyle Posted 18 Sep 2013 , 11:43pm
post #27 of 59

This Brit finds your opinion of fondant slightly offensive to be honest. 


Yes piping is an art that is slowly dying off, but that does not mean that creating works of edible art from other mediums is any less of a skill. 


Personally I chose to not have all fruit cake because I don't like it. I didn't want royal icing either but 12 years ago you couldn't have anything else on a wedding cake. 

lindseyjhills Posted 18 Sep 2013 , 11:57pm
post #28 of 59

AI just think royal icing tastes nicer on a fruit cake than sugarpaste. I use sugarpaste (and other coverings) for all my other flavours of cake. The reason I was disappointed about the royal wedding cake is it is tradition for royal wedding cakes to be royal iced. In fact that's where the name royal icing comes from.

kikiandkyle Posted 19 Sep 2013 , 12:06am
post #29 of 59

AI think they gave up enough for tradition, I'm sure Kate didn't really want to have all the stuff that was on there but she did. I doubt it was all fruit cake either.

JWinslow Posted 19 Sep 2013 , 12:12am
post #30 of 59


I will do that.  I know Mary Ford is an expert. I would be very happy to be able to make a pretty scroll.  My piping skills are terrible which is probably why I prefer string work.  It forces me to slow down and relax. For the record - I love fruit cake! 

  I know when my son comes home for a visit I make him show me things I don't understand on my phone & computer.  This approach might be something you can use in exchange for a beautiful wedding cake - LOL 

What is Victoria sponge?  Different than regular sponge cakes?

Hope to hear from you on your next break.  :smile:

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