Bold Baking Basics, Homemade Ingredients

Easy Royal Icing for Cake Decorating

4.15 from 28 votes
Cake decorating doesn't have to be hard, and with my Easy Royal Icing for Cake Decorating you'll be able to make your cakes as beautiful as you've always wanted!

Hi Bold Bakers!

While I’m not a pro cake decorator, I have all the tricks up my sleeve to make you think I might be! My recipe and method for making Easy Royal Icing for Cake Decorating is one of my go-to for making cake decorating easy as can be. Made with only 3 ingredients, royal icing is a classic for a reason— it’s simple to make, easy to use, and is the first step in making a cake (be it a Christmas Cake or otherwise!) beautiful.

What is Royal Icing?

Royal icing is made of egg whites, powdered sugar, and a dash of lemon juice. This ratio of egg white-to-powdered sugar, when whipped to perfection, transforms into a light, fluffy, and very sturdy icing. This frosting can even be used as a glue to decorate gingerbread houses and cakes like my Irish Christmas Cake.

How to Heat Treat Egg Whites

While this step is NOT necessary to making royal icing, it’s a good method to know when working with raw egg whites in case you’re worried. To heat treat the eggs, cook them in a bain-marie over low heat for 2-3 minutes, whisking constantly. Do this just until the egg whites have become warm — but are not hot. This will kill any potential bacteria in the eggs, making them safe to use when raw, and with the addition of the lemon juice, you’ll be as safe as can be! IF you don’t want to use egg whites at all then you can use meringue powder to make this frosting also.

Cake Decorating with Royal Icing

I love to use this thicker form of royal icing to smooth over cakes and create a blank snowy slate for other decorations. Additionally, my easy royal icing is the perfect consistency for creating a really fun texture. To do this, I get creative with an offset spatula and go to town, creating lovely swirls and peaks.

How Long Does it Take for Royal Icing to Dry?

Royal icing will begin to set after one hour, forming a nice skin. After 4-6 hours, the icing will harden completely — holding whatever form you give it while decorating.

How long does royal icing last?

Before using royal icing, keep it covered tightly at room temperature (cling wrap works wonders, just make sure it’s touching the surface). Once used and dried, royal icing will remain intact for up to one month preserving all of your beautiful decorations.

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Gemma's Easy Royal Icing For Decorating Cake

4.15 from 28 votes
Cake decorating doesn't have to be hard, and with my Easy Royal Icing for Cake Decorating you'll be able to make your cakes as beautiful as you've always wanted!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Prep Time 20 mins
Cake decorating doesn't have to be hard, and with my Easy Royal Icing for Cake Decorating you'll be able to make your cakes as beautiful as you've always wanted!
Author: Gemma Stafford

Ingredients

  • 4 (5 1/2 oz/160g) egg whites* (egg sub in notes)
  • 6 cups (24oz/690g) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

Instructions

  • First heat treat the egg whites if you choose to do so. Warm the eggs in a bain-marie over low heat for 2-3 minutes, whisking constantly. Do this just until the egg whites have become warm but are not cooking. This will kill any bacteria in the eggs making them even safer to use when raw.
  • On a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites in a clean, large bowl with the mixer at high speed until foamy, around 2 minutes.
  • Gradually add sifted sugar spoonful by spoonful followed by the lemon juice.
  • Beat at high speed until thickened.
  • The icing at this stage will be at a good consistency for flooding cookies. If you want it stiffer for frosting a cake, or writing on cookies, add more icing sugar until you get the consistency you desire.
  • Place the icing into a bowl and cover with cling wrap. Make sure you allow the cling wrap to touch the icing so there is no air in the bowl. This stops it from going hard while you are waiting to use it.
  • Use it straight away or store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. This will be enough to cover 1 large cake.

Recipe Notes

How to make Royal Icing Vegan? you can use aquafaba and you will get similar results. 

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Comments & Reviews

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emmz
Member
emmz
23 days ago

Hie gemma ,thank you for the easy recipes am frm zimbabwe .i wld rilly wnt to knoe if i can put this royal icing for those matured fruit cakes ..will the royal icing last for a long tym

Maria Salerno
Guest
Maria Salerno
1 month ago

Hi Gemma, Just ran onto your site and so far I love it, I may try several of your recipes.
However I have a couple of questions. would the Royal Icing for cakes harden to much on a cake?
I have never seen a cake with a hard icing and I use royal icing for my cookies and in my opinion its to hard for a cake.
Or is it that the way you make your royal icing for cakes not harden as much?

Chukwudi
Guest
Chukwudi
1 month ago

Hello Gemma,
I want to thank you for your services.
I want to know if vinegar could be used instead of lemon juice.
Thanks.

nazzy
Guest
nazzy
2 months ago

Hi Gemma,

like your explanation. can i pls have a quick reply as tomorrow im gonna make royal icing. im gonna make with egg whites, so should i store the left over icing in the fridge> ? or at the room temp>> AS ITS MADE WITH EGG WHITES? pls. explain.

Sharon
Guest
Sharon
2 months ago

Good day Gemma,
How are you and thank you for the lovely recipes. Please I will like to know if I must use marzipan under royal icing. Can I just apply the royal icing directly to the cake?
Thank you.

Crissie
Member
Crissie
2 months ago

Hello Gemma,

Can i use cream of tartar instead of the lemom juice?

Thanks

Tigris
Guest
Tigris
2 months ago

Hi Gemma, I don’t need a lot of the royal Icing, so can I half the ingredients to make less icing?

Talia
Guest
Talia
3 months ago

Hey Gemma, do you have a royal icing recipe that uses granulated sugar instead? Thanks!

Katunge
Guest
Katunge
3 months ago

Hi Gemma, First off, thank you for your channel. I have learnt to make so may yummy treats for my family. Your measurements are precise, and your substitutes really help when some ingredients (like fruit) are not available. Thanks for this recipe! I made royal icing for the first time ever and I love it! I did use my hand to mix and got the same thick consistency. I was done in 10 minutes or so total. My sous chef (6yo) is a fan too!

Sunshine
Guest
Sunshine
5 months ago

Hey Gemma! I am a beginner btw. I was wondering, which recipe would you recommend for icing a cake? Which one won’t melt completely? Also, how do you store a cake? Do you put it in the fridge or …? 😉 Thanks!

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere! No matter your skills, I have you covered. Sign up for a FREE profile and join millions of other Bold Bakers in the community for new dessert recipes, baking techniques, and more every week!

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