Top 5 Tips for Royal Icing on cookies and gingerbread houses

Posted By on Dec 1, 2010 | 6 comments


Royal icing is a hard and firm icingwhich dries to a matte finish, and is used for decorating cookies, biscuits, gingerbread men and houses and cakes.  It is typically made from whipped egg whites and pure icing sugar, however I use a meringue powder- based product, called Royal Icing Mixture.

Janice from Baking Pleasures in Australia, has kindly let me use their photo for Cake Art's Royal Icing Powder.  Baking Pleasures are an online baking store, they are my defintie favourite one-stop-shop, the baking essence flavours are yummy.

Cake-art-royal-icing-mixture from Baking Pleasures

TOP 5 Tips for Royal Icing:

1) The great use for royal icing, is that you can make it smooth to make a hard thin layered icing onto cakes and biscuits and decorate with all sorts of sprinkles.  The icing remain hard and not squishy like it would if you used icing sugar and water.

2)You can make the icing more stiff or firm to do intricate trellis work.  I usually I pipe these designs onto baking paper, let them dry and then attach with a dab of royal icing onto my cake or gingerbread house.  I use a number #00 or #0 size piping tip for this.

3) You can flavour it with baking essences, and really enahnce the overall taste of your baking.  For gingerbread, I like to use raspberry and mint essences. 

4) This icing is a must for gingerbread houses or gingerbread men, as it set hard fairly quickly and if prepared properly will hold your lollies and decorations, like in the examples in the pictures:

Royal icing for gingerbread house

Royal icing for gingerbread house

5) To do the piping of fine work, the mixture must be firm enough to hold it's shape, but not too sloppy.  I follow the instructions on the back of the packet of royal icing, but you may need to adjust it to get the right piping consistency, see in the image below, it's smooth and fir, but not dripping. 

Royal icing consistency

I always use disposable bags for convenience and basic hygiene of your food preparation tools.  If I'm decorating a gingerbread house, I like to use two or three colours (one flavour so as not to over do it), and I have all the colours filled in the disposable bags ready to go.  You can put these bags in an airtight container in the fridge for a fews days as well, particularly if your icing a lot of biscuits or gingerbread!

Ballerina gingerbread men with royal icing

If you have any extra tips or hints, or want to ask a question about royal icing, please add you comment.  Have you had any icing failures? Happy decorating.

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6 Comments

  1. After icing my gingerbread men with royal icing, I find the icing tends to come off the gingerbread very easily once dry. Any tips?

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Ronit, thanks for your question. I have had this problem aswell, particularly if the design work is fine. The thicker piping work seems to stick better. If your icing is too firm, there isn’t enough liquid to bind it to the cookie. Another possiblity is that when you are piping you need to pipe the icing along the cookie, so it sticks, rather than starting at one point, dragging the icing along so it falls onto the cookie (if that makes sense?), otherwise it hasn’t stuck to the cookie, it’s sitting on it.
      Hope these help, let me know which of these tips help you, ot I ‘ll keep nutting it out :)

      Post a Reply
  2. Hi, canyou use this icing when decorating a sponge cake. I want to make a Toy Story cake for my little boy ane I need alot of colour and for the icing to be firm, but didn’ want to use fondant icing.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Anna, thanks for your inquiry. Royal icing is really versatile. You can make your toy story characters seperately and then place them ontop of your frosting which has covered the cake. Photocopy or have an outline design ready of your character. Place a sheet of baking paper on top, this sheet of paper is what you’ll pipe onto. Pipe the outlines of your design following the pattern underneath the baking paper. Let it dry. Then flood the line areas with runny royal icing. Allow to set. Don’t make the design too big or it will be difficult to peel/lift off the baking paper. I’d practice a design first. Check out this site for details http://www.cakejournal.com/archives/how-to-flood-cookies-with-royal-icing I have done the cookie method for one of my son’s birthday cakes also http://ingridcreates.com/creating-a-boys-5th-birthday-cake I hope this helps :) If you have any other questions, I’m happy to help :)

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  3. Hi, im making a choc mud cake but it has to have blue hair like the monster on monsters inc. I want to do a crumb coat but prefer a chocolate icing like a fudge frosting. My question is will the royal be ok piped ontop of fudge icing and where would I store the cake as it needs to be made in advance (3days).
    Thanks for your help bit worried at the moment
    From Kara.

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