Royal Icing Recipe

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Royal Icing 
From James McNair's Cakes (Canada, UK), by James McNair.

If the eggs in your area cause concern about problems with salmonella, use meringue powder in this recipe. This stiff icing is generally used for adding decorative touches to cakes. The thinner version works well as a decorative glaze for gingerbread or other dense cakes.


1 Tbsp meringue powder (available from cake-decorating supply stores), or 1 egg white, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted if necessary to remove lumps
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (if using as a glaze)
Food coloring (optional)


If using meringue powder, in a bowl, combine the meringue powder and 2 Tbsp water, stir well, and set aside to soak for 30 minutes. In a bowl, combine the egg white or soaked meringue powder and sugar and beat with a hand mixer at low speed until blended.

If using as a glaze, add the lemon juice, increase the mixer speed to high, and beat until creamy and shiny, about 2 minutes. Add enough food coloring (if using) to achieve desired color. Quickly pour or spoon the glaze over the cake.

If using for decorations or writing, increase the mixer speed to high and beat until stiff, very shiny peaks form when the beater is lifted, about 6 minutes. Add enough food coloring (if using) to achieve desired color, or divide the icing among small bowls and tint with various colors as desired. Spoon some of the icing into a pastry bag and use immediately for decorating or writing; cover bowl(s) of remaining icing with a damp cloth to keep from drying out.

Yield: makes about 3/4 cup.

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