Royal icing decorations

I recently donated some mini-cupcakes on behalf of Sugar Beat Sweets to East Bay Animal Advocates' 5th Anniversary celebration and fundraiser. The director requested "birthday" style cupcakes, with a nod to their 5 years of animal rights work in California. I thought royal icing decorations would be a great way to top off the cupcakes. This is a technique I learned originally while making lattice-work for a Victorian gingerbread house when I was in high school. It's great for numbers, letters, or any fancy, little flourish you want to add.

Royal icing decorations (enough to cover an 11 x 17 cookie sheet)
1/2 c. confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. lemon juice
food coloring (optional)
2-3 tsp. soy milk

Sift the sugar and cornstarch together. Stir in the lemon juice and any food coloring you wish to use. Add the soy milk, 1 tsp. at a time, until the mixture becomes a smooth, but thick, paste.

Place a sheet of waxed paper over the back of a cookie sheet, or any firm surface that you can move your decorations on (cutting board, cardboard, etc.)

Make a parchment cone and fill with the royal icing. Only trim the tip of the triangle a little at a time. You can always make it bigger, but it would a big pain in the butt to have to make a new one!

Holding the bag at about a 45 degree angle to your work surface and using gentle pressure, "draw" whatever shape or design you would like to create, and repeat until you run out of icing. Try holding the tip of the bag about a 1/4 inch from the paper and letting gravity help the lines fall where they need to go. It's always best to make more than you need, for insurance against breakage, even though these do set up rock hard. You can also create templates, if you don't trust yourself at free-handing, and place a piece of paper with the image of your shape below the waxed paper to trace through.

Move your sheet of designs to a safe, dry place where they can set up. It will take 2-3 days for your icing to harden. Test the firmness of your decorations first with any ugly or practice shapes, so you don't ruin any of your pretty ones. Remove icing shapes by grasping the waxed paper between your thumb and forefinger, pulling down on the paper with your thumb, while pushing up against the back of the shape with your forefinger to pop the shape off.

Place in an airtight container until ready to use. The icing will keep indefinitely, as long as it isn't too humid. Don't dress you cake for more than 36 hours before serving, or they will soak up moisture from the frosting and become soft.


Allison said...

I'm so glad I found your blog! I love to bake and decorate cakes, cookies- you name it...and I've never tried royal icing decorations! Thanks for the great tip! Your cupcakes look beyond gorgeous! :0)

Paulina said...

Wow those cupcakes look awesome!

Hannah said...

Nifty trick, I'll have to try this one- It's certainly cheaper than making/buying vegan white chocolate for decorations!

Animal-Friendly said...

What great idea for decorating things! I would have never thought of royal icing.

Anonymous said...

What a terrific idea. I'm definitely bookmarking this one for later use.

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

The cupcakes are SO beautiful! I cannot thank you enough!

jessy said...

this is so cool! i had no idea how to do this!
thanks for the recipe & directions (and tips)! you just made my day - and your cuppycakes look glorious!

Katie said...

Those look delicious. You're really talented at [cup]cake decorating.

Love your blog!

Anonymous said...

Can i use the same royal icing recipe with cornstarch instead of meringue powder for making flowers also.