Originally known as ‘egg white’ icing, this confection’s name was changed to royal icing after Queen Victoria’s large, elaborate wedding cake was decorated with it in 1840. Traditionally made with beaten egg whites, powdered sugar and lemon juice, royal icing can be whipped up in no time with an electric mixer. This recipe is extremely versatile. Feel free to substitute meringue powder for the egg whites and lime juice, vanilla or almond extract for the lemon juice. It can create a smooth, glassy surface or can be used to create stiff, sharp peaks. In addition, it can be transformed into any shade or color by simply adding powdered food coloring. But what truly sets royal icing apart from other frostings is that it hardens as it dries - making it the perfect decorating medium for cookies, gingerbread houses, cakes and even biscuits!
- 2 large egg whites (or 4 tbsps meringue powder mixed with 4 tbsps of water)
- 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted (plus additional powdered sugar to thicken icing)
- Juice of 1 lemon (or 2 tsps pure vanilla extract)
- Beat the egg whites (or meringue) until stiff peaks form. Be sure that the beaten eggs do not become too dry.
- Add the sifted sugar and lemon juice. Beat on high for 5 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula periodically.
- If the icing is too thick, add 1 tsp of water at a time until desired consistency is obtained. If the icing is too thin, slowly add more powdered sugar until desired consistency is obtained.
- Color royal icing with powdered food coloring. Store in an airtight container prior to decorating cookies to prevent royal icing from drying out.