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Can someone please explain why royal icing with raw eggs is safe to eat?

(16 Posts)
furrycat Thu 15-Oct-09 11:40:47

Dh is insisting on making this for our Christmas cake but I'm nervous. I mean, you keep it for weeks, not in the fridge, and it has raw eggs in it. How come it doesn't kill anyone?

TheBatterflyEffect Thu 15-Oct-09 14:03:57

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singingmum Thu 15-Oct-09 14:25:09

It's usually very near to xmas that you are supposed to ice the cake as it needs to mature without covering.It shouldn't cause food poisoning.I've eaten cake that was a couple of weeks old with this type of icing and it's fine(better than fine actually and nicer than shop bought icing)

FaintlyMacabre Thu 15-Oct-09 14:29:53

The marzipan is made with raw egg yolk as well and that keeps for ages- I've certainly eaten Christmas cake well into the New Year, if not even as late as March! I seem to have survived the experience.

overmydeadbody Thu 15-Oct-09 14:31:42

Because raw eggs are not actually the food of the devil you know, but usually quite safe grin

overmydeadbody Thu 15-Oct-09 14:34:29

Egg whites do not readily support bacteria growth, bacteria is usually on the shells if at all, so washing eggs first reduces the risk of contamination.

overmydeadbody Thu 15-Oct-09 14:38:17

It might also be that becteria need moisture to grow and royal icing is quite dry isn't it? So even if there was bacteria on it they would die?

Bramshott Thu 15-Oct-09 14:39:55

I think partly because it air-dries. And also because the egg would have to be infected with nasties in the first place to make you ill, which most aren't (despite what Edwina Currie said!).

Fruitbatlings Thu 15-Oct-09 14:42:33

what about Wedding cakes? Traditionally you save the top layer for christening of 1st born. We are saving it for our 1st anniversary......
Is this wrong? Should we take the icing off?

[had no idea it was made of raw eggs]

Molecule Thu 15-Oct-09 14:44:55

Tis for this reason that you should make it with dried egg white, especially if making to sell. Dried egg white is available in most supermarkets near all the baking stuff. Commercially made marzipan will be made with pasteurized egg yolk. Both keep well because of the very high sugar levels which inhibit the growth of bacteria.

Fruitbatlings Thu 15-Oct-09 14:47:27

DH's grandmother made our cake, should I ask her if she bought the icing ready made? Seems a bit cheeky to me

Poledra Thu 15-Oct-09 14:56:15

Actually, a baker friend of my dad's always said that any cake saved for the christening should have its icing removed and be re-iced, as the icing would have dried out and be unpleasant to eat (as well as possibly having yellowed). I think he said it was best to removed the icing fairly soon, and go back to pouring booze on the cake to keep it moist grin.

He also said he did not advocate keeping cakes, as this was a tradition that dated from when your first baby was born 9 months or less after the date of the wedding.

Moosy Thu 15-Oct-09 14:58:02

Most eggs don't have nasties in and there's so much sugar (a preservative) in marzipan and icing that nothing can really grow in it anyway. We've always marzipanned Christmas cakes weeks before Christmas and often keep them well into the spring will no ill effect, there's really nothing to worry about.

TheBatterflyEffect Thu 15-Oct-09 15:45:22

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Moosy Thu 15-Oct-09 20:22:01

And only wash them immediately before use, otherwise it makes the shells porous and any nasties that are on the outside are more likely to get in.

ByThePowerOfGreyskull Sat 17-Oct-09 19:18:30

I have just finished a sugar craft diploma and they assure me that a royal iced fruit cake can last as edible for up to 7 years (from their direct experience)

The reasont hey are re-iced is due to the texture of the icing drying out too much to make it be a special cake, but if it just for you to eat at home it should be fine.

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