What is royal icing and should you consider it for your wedding cake?

Royal icing is used for cake decorations that are made from a combination of powdered sugar and egg whites that have been beaten. Meringue powder is the royal icing’s well-kept secret ingredient. This egg white alternative helps the icing achieve its glossy consistency. Meringue powder is available at a lot of supermarkets and craft stores.

Royal icing is available in three different consistencies: stiff, piping, and flood. Although occasionally you can use different consistencies to accomplish the same outcome, they are used for various decorative techniques.

Probably the most common icing used to decorate cakes is royal icing. Royal icing is a wonderful alternative for cakes you intend to box or send since it is made with egg whites or meringue powder and dries firmly. Most of the time, it is used to “flood,” or fill in cake designs.

Royal icing may be colored using food coloring or gel icing colors, much like buttercream. If necessary, you can quickly alter the consistency, and once decorated, cakes are shelf-stable (if the icing is made with meringue powder).


The word “royal” was added to the icing when it was used on the huge, complex cake baked for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s wedding in 1840; however, the icing technique itself is older.

Recipe on Best Royal Icing


  • 4 cups (or around 1 pound) of powdered sugar
  • 1 ounce (3 tablespoons) of meringue powder
  • 2 fl. Ounces (1/4 cup) plus more water for thinning
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract


  1. The meringue powder and powdered sugar should be combined in a big bowl. Mix everything quickly to distribute the meringue powder evenly.
  2. For about 5 minutes, add the water and flavoring on low to medium speed and blend the mixture until it is fluffy and light. If the mixture is too dry and crumbly, add additional water until a thick icing forms.
  3. In order to thin it down to the required consistency, add water a bit at a time.
  • Stiff consistency: when a spoon is lifted off the surface, it forms a rigid peak and remains stationary.
  • Piping consistency: creates a soft peak that curls over and when a spoon is raised from the surface, it moves a little.
  • Flood consistency: Very fluid and flows back into a flat surface within 10-20 seconds.

Special Notes

Meringue powder, which gives the icing its consistency and distinctive “crust,” is made of processed egg whites (so they are safe to consume without heating up). This frosting will dry flawlessly with the aid of meringue powder, allowing you to stack and box these cakes without fear that your hard work will be ruined.

When tinting or coloring the icing, gel food coloring is recommended since the color is more concentrated and does not change the icing’s consistency. 

Royal icing starts to crust extremely fast but takes around 4 to 8 hours to fully solidify. To prevent your icing from drying out, always cover your bowl(s) of icing with a moist cloth, plastic wrap, or a lid.

As an alternative, you may place your icing in front of a fan to speed up the drying process.

Benefits of Royal Icing


Royal icing may be easily changed in consistency (a little water goes a long way!). For outlining, flooding, and decorating cakes, use different consistency levels. To swiftly coat multiple cakes, icing can be adjusted to a more viscous consistency for pouring. 

Hardens when dry

Because royal icing hardens when dry, it is a fantastic choice when used for cakes in boxes when delivered.

Easy to Color

Like buttercream, royal icing may be colored with intense food coloring or gel icing colors.

How Long Does Royal Icing Take to Dry?

Royal icing needs six to eight hours to dry completely. Let your cake lie at room temperature after you flood, spread, or pipe it onto them. If you are not careful, royal icing will begin to dry in the middle of use. Keep your icing covered with a moist towel while you work on your decorations to prevent hardening and give it a good stir occasionally. Add one or two drops of water if necessary to get the desired consistency.

How Long Does Royal Icing Last?

When kept in the refrigerator, royal icing can last up to three days. But for best results, attempt to use or consume it within those three days. If not, you can notice a disagreeable alteration in the icing’s texture. The royal icing must be thoroughly defrosted before use, although it may be stored in the freezer for up to one month.

Storage for Royal Icing


When using fresh or dried egg whites, royal icing can be kept in the refrigerator. When meringue powder is used, it can be kept at room temperature. Resealable freezer bags can be used when stored in the freezer. Air in the bags must be pushed out and when they are ready to use, leave the bags to defrost at room temperature.  

The best storage option for royal icing would be glass or ceramic jars. Pat the surface with a sheet of parchment paper, wax paper, plastic wrap, or wet paper towel, and securely close with a lid.

Should Royal Icing be used on Wedding Cakes?

A cake is essential when it comes to weddings. It gives greater enjoyment to the occasion, symbolizes achievement and milestones, and is a beautiful present to warm the heart of the couple. Cakes have an incomparable power to brighten the celebration and provide a special touch.

Royal icing is typically used to embellish wedding cakes and is excellent for fine detail work since it is simple to pipe and hardens as it sets. The frosting may be piped using a variety of nozzles to create a wide variety of effects when decorating cakes.

Here are the four basic examples using a star nozzle or petal nozzle:

Garland border:

With the thickest end of the petal, nozzle pointed down, pipe a semicircle onto the edge of the cake, followed by a little loop, and repeat the procedure all the way around to form a garland-style border.

Rope border:

To produce a rope effect with the star nozzle, apply consistent pressure and roll the nozzle in a little circular motion.

Shell border:

By holding the bag at a 45-degree angle and using the star nozzle to create a bulb out of it, we can create a shell border. As we pull the nozzle away, the pressure is released. Pipe the next shell on top of the preceding one. Continue in this manner until you reach the cake’s edge.

Ruffle border:

By holding the bag at a 45-degree angle, with the thickest part of the tip pointing down to the cake and the thin end pointing up, we can create a ruffle border. To make a ruffle, move the frosting in a zigzag pattern.

In choosing royal icing, it is the preferred option for destination weddings and extended travel since it will remain solid for a long time. Royal icing is a beautiful complement to an all-white wedding cake and makes a wonderful canvas for coloring. 


Royal icing should be considered for use in wedding cakes because of its firmness especially if the cakes are needed to be transported.  It’s a great option for decorations as well to help bring your cakes to life especially a special wedding cake.