How to Make Royal Icing for Cake Decorating

Baking a cake? Let a pastry chef teach you how to make royal icing. It's easy with the step-by-step instructions in this video.

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Sure, your homemade cakes are delicious, but do they look as good as they taste? In these videos, pastry chef Amanda Oakleaf demonstrates how to put finishing touches on cakes that make them look like they came straight from the bakery. She'll teach you how to airbrush a cake; cover it with fondant; make sugar flowers; create a baby figurine cake topper; make a fondant ribbon and bow; and much more. The step-by-step instructions make them easy to master.

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Hi, my name is Amanda Oakleaf. I am owner, head baker, decorator of Amanda Oakleaf Cakes in Winthrop, Massachusetts where we do custom cakes of all kinds -- wedding cakes, birthday cakes, sculpted cakes. Anything you can think of we can make it into a cake. And today I will be talking to you about cake decorating. So now we're going to make royal icing. Royal icing consists of powdered sugar, egg whites, we're going to use meringue powder which is the dried version of egg whites, and some warm water. This is mainly a decorative icing and used to make small details and piping on some cakes. So we got to have four cups of powdered sugar and you want to make sure it's level when you scoop it and put it into our sifter and we want to make sure everything's sifted. That way we don't have any clumps of sugar in our end result. We also want to sift in the meringue powder and we need three tablespoons. Sift it right into the powdered sugar into the mixing bowl that you will use to mix it. Make sure you get every little bit in there. That goes into the mixer and this time you want to use the flat blade beater attachment. Turn it on low. You don't want the sugar to fly everywhere, and slowly add in the warm water. We have six tablespoons of warm water. Turn it up a little until everything is moistened. Once we have everything moistened as you see, turn up the speed medium high until everything whips up nice and fluffy it should maybe double up in volume. We're just going to check the texture here. Royal icing can be finicky. It depends on the weather. If it's dry it may need some more water, if it's too humid it may need a little less water. In my case we might have had too much water. We're going to add a little bit more sugar. Half a cup at a time. It's still pretty flat so we're going to add a little bit of sugar at a time until it comes to the right consistency we're looking for. The consistency we're looking for are stiff peaks. If you pick up a little bit of frosting and the peaks fall over, this is soft peak so we want to add a little bit more sugar so that when we have the frosting it should stand up straight. So we're going to add another half a cup. And now I think we got it. We got a stiff icing that'll hold up well and pipe really nice on decorated cakes.

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  • Amanda Oakleaf

    Amanda is the owner of Oakleaf Cakes in Boston, Massachusetts, which she founded in 2008. Amanda was a competitor on the Food Network Cake Challenge and her work can be seen in many magazines and publications across the country. Having been formally trained as an oil painter at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Amanda approaches cake creation like any other art form -- except, of course, that her artworks are delicious.