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Royal Icing Woes

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I have been making cutouts for about a year now and have been using royal icing. All of a sudden, the icing doesn't set properly. It crystalizes and looks sweaty and bumpy. I have a picture of a batch I just made if anyone can help me. I will email the picture in hopes that you might have an answer for me. So much work only to be thrown in the garbage.
post #2 of 9

Royal Icing Woes

It would be difficult to answer your post because so much depends on the variables! Perhaps just that once you unwittingly made a very slight change in putting the ingredients together. Also, a lot depends on the humidity of the atmosphere at the time.

I love this Color-Flow method, so perhaps it could also be of some help to you. Just make sure that you give it enough time to dry thoroughly before removing from the paper.

Wilton: Recipe Box: Wilton Color Flow Icing Recipe

Or, for more....Google: Color Flow Cake Decorating
I don't have any of the professional drying equipment in my kitchen, I sometimes find a hair dryer comes in handy!

Perhaps a professional member, or someone who does a lot of decorating, has a more practical answer for you. I will be following this thread, too.
post #3 of 9
Check to see if the sugar is cane sugar or sugar-beet sugar...

Cane sugar is the best ..
post #4 of 9
While some people can taste a difference between sugar made from beets and sugar made from sugar cane, I can't. I also don't see that there any differences in the bulk properties of the two sugars. They both are 99.9% sucrose. most of the prejudice against beet sugar comes from early days of beet sugar refining, when the process wasn't as well developed as it is today.
post #5 of 9

Royal Icing

This is what I have learned by scouting around on the net......

Royal Icing Tips
• Store icing in a glass or metal container; it will break down in plastic.
• Reserve a set of pastry bags, couplers, and tips exclusively for royal icing. (Your old cake-decorating bags may not be grease-free.) Disposable pastry bags or parchment triangles rolled into cones will work.
• Store filled pastry bag tip-down in mug with damp paper towels in bottom. Seal top with twist-tie or rubber band, and drape with plastic wrap.
• Keep bowl of icing covered with damp paper towels and plastic wrap at all times. Uncovered, it will harden like concrete.

from: Food - Royal Icing - CottageLiving.com

Make sure your bowls and mixing equipment is grease free!
Be sure to sift your powdered icing sugar.
Add icing sugar slowly...1 tablespoon,or so, at a time.
Use a recipe with Cream of Tartar, to insure a smooth consistency.
Add a bit of glycerin if you don't want the "rock-hard" consistency.
Make sure your cake is completely cold!
Do not refrigerate (unused icing - nor the iced cake ), cold causes weeping.
Do not store in any plastic containers.

YouTube - Episode 2 - How to make Royal Icing
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

royal icing woes....updated

Thanks Lisbet, I think my problem was either humidity or a bit of grease on a utensil. I'm washing all of the equipment separately in the dishwasher now instead of with my normal dishes (and pans). It was a humid day when I had the problem. I used the same recipe last week and they turned out fine. Air bubbles is still a tiny problem, but not as bad as before. I always thought you had to use the icing "immediately" but as long as its covered, it's okay for a few hours. I guess waiting lets the air bubbles come to the top, plus stirring it in a figure eight helps to get rid of air. So many pitfalls to think about..
post #7 of 9
Grease will mess up royal icing! It just takes the tiniest speck to ruin your work.

Some people recommend boiling the tips and couplers with a tiny bit of liquid detergent. I have boiled what I thought were absolutely clean tips and still had a sheen of oil on the top of the water. Using the liquid detergent to boil with helped immensely!

Good luck!
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

Royal icing woes

Thanks QOS, I will try boiling the equipment. Here's another thing I may be doing wrong. I make alot of royal icing. I divide it up into containers and color each containerful. Then I take each container/color and pour half into a disposable pastry bag to make the piping icing.The other half of each container/color I add water to so that it is thinner flood icing but the same color as the piping icing. I never considered that the piping icing recipe calls for 5 tbsp of meringue powder whereas the flood icing calls for 3 tbsp meringue powder. My next step is to make the two icings separately and try to match the colors afterwards. Does anyone think that the amount of meringue could be what causes the problem where the icing stays tacky and doesnt set overnight?
post #9 of 9
I doubt it. When I do run out icing, I never use different recipes--I just thin the portion I need for flooding, as you described. Further, I think you may be underestimating the difficulty of color matching. If you feel you must try this, I would highly recommend making an intensely colored batch and using a bit of this to color the individual batches, as then you just have to match the tone.
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