I'm Royal Icing Illiterate, Please Help!

Baking By sugardugar Updated 28 Feb 2011 , 12:19pm by andrealynmoore

sugardugar Posted 26 Feb 2011 , 6:02pm
post #1 of 13


Ok a quick peak at my photos will tell you i am new. I literally bought my first cake pan and pastry bag halfway through Dec so I could make a Christmas cake and learned yee ol' star technique. There are no courses offered near me so I just kind of...read online and watched youtube and went from there.

Ook so now you know.

I was using a hand-mixer until 2 days ago (ouch) and could not manage to make RI. I stopped trying and assumed it was my mixer. Now I have a nifty Kitchen Aid stand alone. I tried RI nearly right away and it was just...a dry ball. What? I copied the recipe from Wilton's site FYI. I added more water than it called for and still a dry ball. Added more...and ok now it wouldn't hold shape.

Is there a trick?
Which attachment should I use?


12 replies
CakeCrystals Posted 26 Feb 2011 , 6:13pm
post #2 of 13

Here is a recipe that I use from Edna De La Cruz using Meringue Powder:

3 Tablespoons Meringue Powder
1 lb. (4 cups) confectioners' sugar (about 1lb.)
4 to 6 Tablespoons warm water*

Beat all ingredients until icing forms peaks (7-10 minutes at low speed with a heavy-duty mixer, 10-12 minutes at high speed with a hand-held mixer). Recipe makes 3 cups.

NOTE: Keep all utensils completely grease-free for proper icing consistency. The icing

will start melting otherwise. Spatulas must be new or metal. The bowl if is plastic should be new, metal or glass. When making Royal Icing and storing, grease is its #1 enemy.

* Start with less water and add until desired consistency

Thinned Royal Icing: To thin for pouring, add 1 teaspoon water per cup of royal icing. Use grease-free spoon or spatula to stir slowly. Add ½ teaspoon water at a time until you reach proper consistency.

This one used egg whites:

2 large egg whites
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3 cups (330 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted

These recipes never failed me and I hope they will work for you.


sugardugar Posted 26 Feb 2011 , 6:18pm
post #3 of 13

Thanks - this is similar to what I was trying... hmm. Does yours get "creamy"? Mine is like..dry and crumbly!

nhbaker Posted 26 Feb 2011 , 6:51pm
post #4 of 13

Not sure if this will help but try adding a little more water - just a few drops at a time. Sometimes air quality can affect icings, if it's humid it made need less water, if it's dry, more.

Also, sifting your powered sugar may help too.

sugardugar Posted 26 Feb 2011 , 6:59pm
post #5 of 13

thanks! good point...it's rather dry here!!

Sassy74 Posted 26 Feb 2011 , 7:16pm
post #6 of 13

Lots of things can affect your RI. As already mentioned, humidity can determine how much water you need to add. Also, sometimes the amount of cornstarch in your powdered sugar can vary a little. I would also suggest you add water in tiny amounts until your icing loses it's "dry ball" appearance and starts to resemble something more like cake batter. It'll thicken up as it mixes, and the end result should resemble meringue (stiff peaks), but you can add more water if you need a softer consistency, like for icing cookies etc.

Atty2de Posted 26 Feb 2011 , 7:17pm
post #7 of 13

This recipe gets a 9.9/10 rating - it is Antonia74's


Rating: 9.9/10 (281 votes cast)

This icing is mixed to a stiff consistency for outlining cookies, then can be thinned with warm water to fill in the cookie shape. I like to dry my cookies for at least 24 hoursand up to 48 hours before packaging them. This icing can be kept at room temperature in an air-sealed container for literally weeks, with a good re-mixing before you use it again. I havent had great results with keeping it in the fridgebut un-tinted icing (i.e. white) seems to be okay from the freezer.
Antonia74 Royal Icing

* 6 oz (3/4 cup) of warm water
5 Tablespoons meringue powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 kilogram (2.25 lbs.) powdered icing sugar


1. In mixer bowl, pour in the warm water and the meringue powder. Mix it with a whisk by hand until it is frothy and thickenedabout 30 seconds.
2. Add the cream of tartar and mix for 30 seconds more.
4. Pour in all the icing sugar at once and place the bowl on the mixer.
6. Using the paddle attachment on the LOWEST speed, mix slowly for a full 10 minutes. Icing will get thick and creamy.
8. Cover the bowl with a dampened tea-towel to prevent crusting and drying.
10. Tint with food colourings or thin the icing with small amounts of warm water to reach the desired consistency.

cheatize Posted 26 Feb 2011 , 10:50pm
post #8 of 13

You use the paddle, not the whisk. It has to beat for quite awhile. Mine starts out with the consistency of glue until it's beat long enough to get fluffy. From there I add water if I'm using it for cookies. I suppose if you're using it to ice a cake, the fluffy stage would work. For cookies, you add water a tiny bit at a time until it's thin.

Marianna46 Posted 26 Feb 2011 , 11:19pm
post #9 of 13

You're right, cheatize, you have to use the paddle, not the whisk, and it does start out the consistency of Elmer's Glue and gets fluffier as you beat it. One way to control the grease on your beaters, bowl and anything else that touches the icing (storage bowls, etc.) is to rinse them in a 50-50 white vinegar/water solution. If you're worried about the taste, you can rinse them again in clear water, but the vinegar cuts the grease like nothing else does! And, yes, definitely add the extra water a little at a time, because the consistency can change rather suddenly. Good luck!

sugardugar Posted 27 Feb 2011 , 4:47am
post #10 of 13

tysm everyone!!!

AirForceWife Posted 27 Feb 2011 , 5:52pm
post #11 of 13

I havent ever tried it becuase Im too afraid, lol, but I heard that if you get teh RI cold it gets runny and unusable. So make sure you dont put it in or near a cool or cold place. It needs to stay in a dry room temperature area.

CakeCrystals Posted 28 Feb 2011 , 11:53am
post #12 of 13
Originally Posted by sugardugar

Thanks - this is similar to what I was trying... hmm. Does yours get "creamy"? Mine is like..dry and crumbly!

Actually it come out perfect every time. When making your royal icing, do you scrape down the sided and bottom of the bowl? It may also be a good idea to a few drops of water (not too much) until you get the desired consistency.


andrealynmoore Posted 28 Feb 2011 , 12:19pm
post #13 of 13
Originally Posted by AirForceWife

I havent ever tried it becuase Im too afraid, lol, but I heard that if you get teh RI cold it gets runny and unusable. So make sure you dont put it in or near a cool or cold place. It needs to stay in a dry room temperature area.

As long as you make the RI the same day you are to use it AND you keep it in a tightly sealed container you will be fine. Keep it out of the fridge for sure. There's nothing at all in it that needs to be refrigerated anyhow.

Quote by @%username% on %date%