Royal Icing Q&A with Ceri Griffiths

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Ceri Griffiths joined Katy Sue Designs for a Facebook live Royal Icing special in December and we had such a fantastic response with so many great questions! We’ve compiled the questions below with a detailed response from Ceri.

If you have any burning questions you need answering, head over to the Cake Doctor Facebook Group where one of the Doctors will be more than happy to help you 🙂

Don’t forget, you can still view the entire Facebook Live here

Q. There are no icing courses available at colleges around me at all. Are there any other resources?

A. Unfortunately over the years most of the bakery and confectionery colleges have closed because the trade of being a masterbaker has been in decline and most large companies now do in-house training, however there are still a few dotted around. I would suggest that if you can’t get to classes then look at online resources such as Craftsy.com, Paul Bradford Sugarcraft School or YouTube. Nothing will replace a face to face class with a teacher in the room but sometimes it’s the only option.

Q. How do you do runout collars?

A. I would always use royal icing made with real egg whites or albumen powder as you want the best strength royal icing for collars. First you would design your collar and then attach it to a flat surface such as a roll out board or a large cake drum, then lay over the top of that either a sheet of wax paper or cellophane. Attach with pieces of tape so that it doesn’t move and then if you’re using cellphone you can wipe it with a little white vegetable fat to help release. Using a small round piping tip, usually a 1.5 or a no. 1 piping tip pipe the entire outline of your collar. Once complete you will then flood the internal areas with runout or flood icing. This would then need to be placed somewhere warm and dry to dry for at least 24 hours. I would recommend searching for videos on collar work as there are nuances and tips and tricks that each decorator may share.

Q. Do you always recommend a coupler?

A. If I know I’m only going to be using one piping tip for the whole project then no the coupler is not always required, just don’t cut too much off the end of the plastic bag or the bag will stretch and your tip will pop out.

Q. Someone said to practice with toothpaste. Is that right?

A. I’ve heard people practice with lots of different mediums and I see no reason why toothpaste wouldn’t work.

Q. I would love to Royal ice on ginger biscuits

A. I intend doing a Facebook live on Cookies in the future so I’ll add you to the list.

Q. My hand shakes so much when I pipe.

A. There could be several reasons for that, if the consistency of your icing is too firm then the muscles will fatigue and shake as you pipe, are you holding your breath. I personally find I can’t drink more than one cup of coffee prior to piping detailed work as I will then have the shakes. Sadly some people just have a slight tremor when they are concentrating.

Q. What about coating cake please?

A. I will get some coating Facebook lives done in the future I promise.

Q. Don’t you put glycerin in icing that is going to cover a cake??

A. Yes you can put between one and two teaspoons of glycerin into every 500g/1lb of royal icing when it’s been made up. This will slow down the drying out of the royal icing but after a few days it will still become quite hard.

Q. How to write on cakes in a straight line and correct spacing.

A. I’ll try and get to inscriptions at some point in the Facebook lives so keep checking back.

Q. Is there a special recipe for string work or is it just royal icing ??? (stiff peak)

A. Many different decorators will recommend many different recipes for string work and extension work however a basic royal icing will work, the things to remember are the size of the piping tip you intend using and length of the lines you will be piping. If you’re using a 00 piping tip you will need to make sure you have extra fine icing sugar and then pass the paddled using through a clean nylon stocking to remove any grains of icing. If you do only short lines of icing, the icing can be a little softer in consistence, the longer the line the more strength it requires but I would never pipe extension or string work with firm peak royal icing as you won’t get a nice flow of icing which will in turn give you smooth lines of icing. If your planning on doing fine piping I would recommend you check out Dawn Parrott’s Royal Icing mix, it’s very fine and strong and is perfect for piping extension and string work. Dawn also has many videos on piping filigree work which may be of interest to you.

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