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Question for the cake decorators! What's the difference between royal and normal icing?

(19 Posts)
honeybunns Wed 22-Jul-09 11:56:54

Want to make a cake and make ice round the sides too. Every time I have done this with normal icing the effect is all bumpy and messy.

Would I be better using royal icing? Is it easy to use? Does it give a really smooth professional finish?


DidEinsteinsMum Wed 22-Jul-09 14:47:21

I can tell you the only difference that i know is that royal ice sets rock hard compared to set for normal, i suspect you can get it smooth but i tend to just peak it so no real help. Hopefully will bump this for someone else

honeybunns Wed 22-Jul-09 14:50:36

thank u!

stealthsquiggle Wed 22-Jul-09 14:51:56

Royal icing is more opaque, sets quicker, and dries harder, but getting icing truly flat is a skilled job. The cop-out would be to use sugarpaste - I like this stuff - roll it out and smooth it over the cake.

Catitainahatita Wed 22-Jul-09 14:56:17

Hmm, I assumed you meant the difference in making rather than using. Just in case I'm right: royal icing you make with egg whites instead of water. The added advantage is you can use the yolks to make marzipan (powered almonds with icing sugar and egg yolk) too.

Sorry if I am insulting you intelligence here.

And Royal icing won't do that "professional look" very easily, especially on the sides of a cake. I think the roll on sugar icing would look better, but in terms of taste is no where near as good as royal.

honeybunns Wed 22-Jul-09 16:20:10

Thanks everyone.

Think I will try the sugar paste-thank you stealth, I wouldn't have thought of that.

Can you tell I don't make many cakesgrin.

honeybunns Thu 23-Jul-09 12:59:36

Me again!

Help! I need red sugar paste but can't find it anywhere.

Can I ice the cake with white and then paint it with food colouring??

phdlife Thu 23-Jul-09 13:03:47

<<runs in, pokes stealthsquiggle, runs out again and goes to bed>>

stealthsquiggle Thu 23-Jul-09 13:05:01

You can colour the paste red - as long as you have 'paste' rather than liquid food colouring. You just knead the colour in until it is even and leave it (well wrapped) for a while as the colour 'develops' a bit.

Alternatively, search for a local sugarcraft shop and you will be able to buy it ready-coloured.

stealthsquiggle Thu 23-Jul-09 13:05:35

<<pokes PhD back, hard - how are you - any better?>>

PrefetParfait Thu 23-Jul-09 13:06:17

buy some red food dye and knead it in before rolling it out. I think that the pastes give a stonger colour than the liquids you get at the supermarket.

muddleduck Thu 23-Jul-09 13:06:55


1 - buy red sugar paste. most supermarkets (incl tescos) only sell it in mixed pack with other colours so if can work out quite expensive (unless you only need a little bit) but will give by far the best finish.

2 - mix food colouring in with the with sugar paste. this is a bad plan unless you have really good colouring (not liquid) as it will prob end up sticky and pink

3 - paint it with food coloring. this is fine, but don't expect a perfectly smooth finish.

honeybunns Thu 23-Jul-09 13:22:44

Oh my good god, it's all so flippin' complicated!

I saw on cake decorating website how to mix the colour with the paste but it was only for itsy bitsy flowers. I need to cover a WHOLE CAKE!!

Actually, I am covering the top with one of those rice paper cake toppers, so I don't suppose it matters whether it's really smooth or I could leave the top white and just paint around the sides, couldn't I?? <hopeful emoticon>

muddleduck Thu 23-Jul-09 13:34:23

It's not complicated. honest.

tell us exactly what you want the cake to look like and we will help!


honeybunns Thu 23-Jul-09 14:01:41

You are so nice, thank you smile. Just a round cake covered with red icing. Then a picture will be stuck on top made of rice paper.

Actually, I'm going to go now to a bigger tesco and see if I can find the red stuff.

I'm sure I'll come up with something acceptable to DS!

stealthsquiggle Thu 23-Jul-09 14:18:37

Honestly, google 'sugarcraft <<insert name of nearest town>>' - I would be astonished if you don't come up with a couple of shops. Then buy ready-coloured red icing - they will even advise as to how much you need and will probably help with any other questions. I have yet to come across a sugarcraft shop not staffed by generally friendly, helpful people.

muddleduck Thu 23-Jul-09 14:26:17

OMG I just tried that and it tunrs out there is a sugarcraft shop hiding away in our town. It is in the upstairs of a shop I've walked past a zillion times but never been into. Who knew? Amazing. Thanks smile

phdlife Fri 24-Jul-09 12:08:11

apologies to muddleduck for hijack, but sounds like your probs have been solved anyway wink

squiggle, well, you saw the fun time I was having last week - this has been this week, with dh still limping, moaning and generally suffering his way round the house.

tell me about your hols on one of the other threads, if you like

honeybunns Sat 25-Jul-09 18:53:01

Managed it with four of the mixed packs - has cost me a fortune!

Anyone need some coloured icing??

It looks great though. Thanks everyone! smile

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