Royal icing made simple: Renshaw Academy's guide to easy decorating

Whether you’re a beginner or an expert when it comes to royal icing, Renshaw Academy is here with their handy guide on easy ways to decorate using royal icing to help you improve and expand on your decorating skills.

Traditionally, royal icing was used to finish the covering of fruit cakes coated in marzipan. As trends have changed over the years, so has our preferred taste in types of sponge, flavours and finished style of cake. The comeback of royal icing has seen it meet new types of applications such as colourful piping, flooded biscuits, and intricately piped decorations. In this blog we'll teach you how to use Renshaw’s White Royal Icing in different forms of application suitable for a range of skill levels.

Scroll down or click to jump to each section 
How to use Renshaw White Royal Icing
How to create flooded biscuits 
How to pipe lace, beads, dots and shells
How to create embroidery floral biscuits

How to use Renshaw White Royal Icing 

First, we'll start with the basics. Open the pot of Royal Icing and give it a good mix with a spoon which will make it smooth. Only take what you need out of the pot and be sure to replace the lid after to ensure it doesn't dry out. Taking good care of your Royal Icing will ensure the product quality is not affected post-opening. 

There are three main types of consistency for royal icing: 

  • Firm peak
  • Soft peak
  • Flooding icing

Royal icing guide

Adjust your icing according to how you're going to use it.

Top tip! If you need to thicken the icing you can do this by adding sieved icing sugar, 1 tsp at a time until you get the required consistency.

Content continues after advertisements

How to create flooded biscuits using royal icing

This video is great for learning how to flood biscuits in this super cute peach design. Not only that, our very own Francezka Bell shows you how to add further decoration on top of the flooding once dried. Don’t stress if all designs look different – that’s what’s great about cake decoration, you can eat the evidence! If you want even more tips on flooding, we’ve got another great video below which teaches you how to achieve the perfect ‘flood’ consistency and how to add colour.

How to pipe lace, beads, dots and shells using royal icing

Vintage lace wedding cake

A royal icing lace motif layered over our coloured Ready to Roll Icing is perfect for a modern take on a wedding cake. For this technique, all you need is ‘soft peak’ consistency royal icing, a piping bag, a selection of nozzles, and a cake to decorate. Go get your lace on. 

Royal icing – lace

1. Fit a piping bag with a number 1 piping nozzle and fill the bag a quarter full with royal icing. Hold the bag and tip slightly at a 90° angle, close to cake without scraping the cake with the nozzle.

Royal icing piping bag

2. Begin piping on the icing, letting it catch the surface you are piping on, then immediately lift the piping tube and apply slow and steady pressure, guiding the piping bag in the shape you want the icing to fall in a continuous string, slowly allowing the string of icing to fall in place on the icing.

Piping a lace effect using royal icing

3. Curve it up, down and around in your chosen lace pattern until the selected area is covered.

Piped lacing royal icing

4. To finish a string of royal icing, remove pressure on the bag and deftly pull away.

Tops tips!

  • Research lace patterns and designs to gather inspiration or draw out your own lace design to make your decorated cake unique. Traditional cornelli or simple floral lace designs are a perfect place to start.
  • Practise your royal icing pattern on greaseproof paper, experimenting with designs and increasing confidence in piping before applying to the decorated cake. When creating lace designs on icing by hand, use a scribing tool to mark your pattern before piping or indenting to make sure your design is neat.

Royal icing – beads

1. Fit a piping bag with a number 1 piping tube with a round nozzle and fill the bag a quarter full with soft consistency royal icing. 

Piped beads using royal icing step 1

2. Squeeze the piping bag as you lift your hand, raising the nozzle slightly so that icing fans out.

3. Relax pressure as you draw the nozzle down and bring the bead to a point. Stop squeezing and pull away. 

Piped beads using royal icing step 3

4. To make a bead border, start the next bead a little behind the end of the previous bead so that the fanned-out end covers the tail to form an even chain.

Piped beads using royal icing step 4

Royal icing – dots

1. Fit a piping bag with a number 1 piping tube with a round nozzle and fill the bag a quarter full of ‘soft peak’ consistency royal icing.

2. Hold the bag at 90° straight up, with tip positioned slightly above surface.

3. Apply gentle pressure to the piping bag, keeping the point of nozzle buried in the icing until the dot is the size you want.

Piped dots using royal icing step 3

4. Stop applying pressure to the piping bag and simultaneously pull the tip up and to the side to help prevent leaving points in the dot you're creating.

Piped beads using royal icing step 4

5. Repeat over to create the pattern you want on your iced cake or bake.

Piped beads using royal icing step 5

Royal icing – shells 

1. Fit a piping bag with a number 1 piping tube with a star nozzle and fill the bag a quarter full of soft consistency royal icing.

2.  Squeeze the piping bag hard, letting the icing fan out generously as it forces the nozzle up.

Piped shells using royal icing step 2

3. Gradually relax the pressure as you lower the nozzle. Pull the bag toward you until the nozzle reaches the surface. Relax the pressure and pull tip along the surface to form a point.

Piped beads using royal icing step 3

4. To make a shell border, start your next shell so that the fanned end just covers the tail of the preceding shell to form a chain.

Piped beads using royal icing step 4

Ready to have a go? Our vintage lace cake is the perfect place to start in piping brush dots and beads. 

How to create embroidery floral biscuits using royal icing

These biscuits are simple, but effective. By simply wetting your brush and working quickly on your royal icing, you can achieve this elegant gradient for the perfect petal shape.

Now you’ve got everything you need to become a royal icing expert! But if that wasn’t enough for you, why not try these royal icing lines and scallops? Or perhaps you want to go traditional and get your practice in for Christmas? Check out our video on how to stipple royal icing to create the perfect snow scene. 

More in Cake Decorating Hints & Tips

More in Advice Hub

Click here to view our range of live webinars!

Click here to view our range of live webinars!