Who likes those sugary little cookies with sweet hard frosting on them? If you do, then you’re clearly a big fan of royal icing.
If you are wondering what else royal icing is used for, then just look around your local bakery and you will find out that it’s just about everywhere, including the figures and flowers on cakes, those magnificent gingerbread houses, and the intricate patterns that bakers draw on wedding cakes.
Royal icing is not a new invention. Bakers have been using this wonderful ingredient since the 16th century. Back then it was used by the upper nobility’s bakers. There have even been rumors that the term came from images of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s wedding. It is claimed their cake had some royal icing decorations on it (although some say this is just a myth).
Royal icing is created by mixing together egg whites, confectioners’ sugar, flavoring, and some water. The reason why royal icing becomes hard is the egg whites. To make it even easier, most bakers today just use meringue powder with stabilizers in it.
Royal icing has three types of consistency – stiff, medium, and flood.
- Stiff consistency has a paste-like texture and is very easy to spread. It is often used when brushing cakes or making basket weave designs, creating borders, or roses.
- Medium consistency is when your royal icing has a smoother texture, almost like a soft ice cream, and it’s used for a range of different things, from quilting to the lettering on cakes.
- Flood consistency is used if you want to have a super smooth finish in your layers. It is normally used in fillings or to make tiny details in your design. This is quite difficult to achieve so it requires a bit of patience to do.
Royal icing is one of the ingredients that I find difficult, so I make sure I make a lot when I am presented with a recipe for it. This means I always have too much left over. That is why I needed to learn how to store royal icing properly, so that I wouldn’t have to waste anything.
As I always say, the best cooks and bakers are one step ahead. Planning your items in advance will save you the embarrassment of having to rush to your local kitchen supplies store. This is especially the case when you are dealing with a product that easily dries out, like royal icing. These are the things you will need when storing royal icing:
- An airtight container (one that can store all of your royal icing).
- A damp towel (one that’s bigger than the opening of the airtight container).
And that is all you need to store your royal icing. In the next section, we will discuss how you can store your royal icing.
- Pro Tip: Do not store differently colored royal icing all in one container. Instead, get multiple airtight containers and damp towels if you have differently colored royal icing.
First of all, make sure that your airtight container is clean and free from any grease. Use some dishwashing liquid on a clean sponge to thoroughly clean the inside of the container and don’t forget to rinse it off completely, as soapsuds can affect the taste and quality of your royal icing. Then completely dry it with a clean dishrag, so that it is dry to the touch.
Next, take all your royal icing and carefully pour it into the airtight container. Then get your damp rag (make sure you wring this out well) and place it on top of the airtight container (this will help stop the royal icing from forming a crust inside).
For the last step, close the cover of the airtight container with the sides and corners of the damp towel jutting out, and place it in the refrigerator.
- Pro Tip: You can also use a mixing bowl for this step. Cover it with a large damp towel and place a plate that’s big enough on top of your bowl. You can then just take it out of the fridge and put it in the mixer immediately.
When you need the royal icing again, just take it out of the fridge and remix it with your stand mixer. Your royal icing should return to the same consistency it had when you first made it. Remember that you should not store royal icing in the refrigerator for more than 48 hours.
- Pro Tip: Make sure you use meringue powder instead of fresh egg whites if you are planning to store royal icing. It is easier to remix royal icing made that is made from meringue powder than the kind that uses fresh egg whites.
I hate wasting good food, so my eyebrows rise whenever I see someone throw away perfectly good food from the fridge. That is why I love helping people to save their leftovers. Always remember that the internet is filled with information the next time you want to chuck perfectly good ingredients down the garbage chute.
Royal icing is one of those ingredients that people need a little help with when it comes to reusing it. A lot of people make too much (me included) and just chuck all the leftovers in the bin afterwards. Its hard to fathom why something like royal icing, which is a labor of love, can get thrown out with the rubbish. So I am glad to help you with this one. Always remember that leftover royal icing can be used to decorate another beautiful cake for another day!
If you hate throwing away food and just loved our article today, then please do me a favor and share this article with those who might also be interested. If you have any stories and comments about what we’ve discussed here, then write them down in the space below. Now go forth and make your cakes and cookies pretty!