July 12, 2009

Class 2 - Royal Icing Begins

This weeks class we got to begin working with Royal Icing. Having never decorating cakes before, I had heard of royal icing, but I had never worked with it. I had heard many people say the taste of it is nothing like buttercream, and after seeing what is in it, I can see why..

Royal Icing:
4 cups sifted icing sugar
3 tablespoons Meringue Powder
5-6 tablespoons warm water

Mix on low speed for 7-10 minutes, until it loses its shine. Hardens quickly. Keep a damp towel over the bowl when not using. (Make sure all utensils are grease-free)

Seems simple enough right? And it was. I don't think it needs 7-10 minutes though. I think I mixed mine for about 4 minutes before it lost its shine. The taste of it is very sweet. I think kids would probably lap this up a lot more than adults would. That said, I'd probably eat say a single flower or two, but probably wouldn't chow down on some roses or a figure.
The big bold headline at the top of my recipe reiterating to keep utensils grease free freaked me out. I don't own a lot of metal or glass bowls. I live in the land of Gladware, home of cheap plastic meant to hold anything and everything... So I wasn't happy to hear that Royal Icing is deathly afraid of grease. (For those who don't know any trace of grease(shortening/butter) will ruin a batch of royal icing completely.) I ended up going out and buying some "royal icing only" gladware and measuring cups. I want to keep my royal icing happy!

So this weeks class I had to prepare not only my icing, but my flower templates so I can learn to make the different types of flowers.

So these are the 8 templates for the flowers I will be making in this series. Well, 7 flowers and 1 leaf. For this first class with Royal Icing we learned Apple blossom, Violets and the Violet Leaf.
I was actually surprised at how easy these were to do. They look a lot more difficult that they really are. No wonder people think you are a magician when you make a nice looking cake!
Here are a few of my apple blossoms and violets:

Not bad eh? Maybe I do have a knack for this cake decorating stuff.... Nah, if I can learn to do this stuff, I'm pretty certain anyone can. I think that's why they put on these courses!

We also learned what is called "Color Flow" or "Fill-ins". These are interesting. Basically it is watered down Royal Icing piped in a "shell" There is an actual recipe for this using a product called "Color Flow" but our instructor told us a shortcut which is to use Royal Icing. Apparently the color flow recipe just means the piece is harder and shinier.
To be honest, I used the Color Flow icing, and my friend used the Royal Icing. There was very little difference in our pieces. I can't say anything about the strength of the piece, but had I known I could just use Royal Icing, I would have saved myself $7 by not buying the color flow powder.
Anyways, the piece we were supposed to do were two birds. I decided I didn't like the birds, so I did Butterflies. I like them much better.

I didn't think it was bad for a first attempt, but you can see where I need some help on my outline work.
So basically these dry for a few hours to a day and then they can be stored until needed for the final cake. I have a few ideas of things to put on cakes using this technique. I can't wait to try it out!

So there you go. A few new flowers, which can all be made with buttercream as well, and a new technique for designs. Thankfully no homework for this week, so I think I am going to make a cake just for the heck of it so I can practice a few things..

And because I have become obsessed with decorating cakes!

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