It dries hard, but the meringue within it keeps it lightweight, making it just right for making flowers or other piped, edible decorations in advance, to be placed onto a cake later on.
Royal icing is also used to glue together the pieces of gingerbread houses, and to adorn them with snow-covered rooftops and hanging icicles.
Store them in an air-tight container and keep them out of the light so the colors won’t fade, and you’ll have decorations ready to go at a moment’s notice.
You can even pipe tiny little flowers onto sugar cubes and serve them at your next fancy tea party, or at bridal shower.
Make sure to pull out the silver sugar tongs for perfectly proper serving…or package them up in cute little bags to give as gifts to folks who like that sort of thing.
Conventional royal icing is made from egg whites (either fresh, or powdered and reconstituted), confectioner’s sugar, and cream of tartar, which is a problem for those who can’t or choose not to eat eggs. Thanks to the wonderful folks at the Vegan Meringues – Hits and Misses Facebook group, we have learned that “aqua faba,” or rather the liquid drained from a simple can of beans, can be whipped into stiff peaks much like egg whites. It can act as an egg white substitute in many recipes, and royal icing is no exception.
Egg-Free, Vegan Royal Icing Recipe
Beat all ingredients on high for 7-10 minutes. Use immediately.
If you intend to color your royal icing, it’s ideal to add the color while you’re beating it, and to color the whole batch. If you need to split your batch into multiple smaller batches for making multiple colors, it may lose a bit of its loft if you stir the colors in after the fact with a spoon. It will still work, but it’s not ideal.
Royal icing dries out very, very fast (except when you’ve piped a beautiful rose and you would like to put it onto your cake…then it will take forever!). While working with royal icing, keep your bowl carefully covered with a damp cloth, and if you need to set down your piping bag for a few minutes, carefully cover the tip so that it doesn’t dry and clog.
You can pipe royal icing decorations onto waxed paper or parchment paper, and peel them off when they are dry. If you have trouble with the paper pulling up as you lift your piping bag away, try taping the paper to the back of a cookie sheet or baking pan.
All icings are somewhat sensitive to the heat of your hand when you are using the in a piping bag, and aqua faba royal icing especially so. While you’re working with it, it may become too soft to get sharp edges on your decorations, so if this happens, place the piping bag into the refrigerator for a few minutes until it stiffens up again. Don’t forget to cover the tip carefully!
Allow your royal icing decorations to dry completely before storing them in an airtight container, out of the light.