March 26, 2018

Easy Royal Icing

Recipe: Marit Hovland

Try this royal icing recipe from the cookbook Bakeland.

An icing is mixed together in an instant and is the perfect departure point for all decorations. It can be used in so many ways. You can dip something in icing or cover whole surfaces with it. With the help of a piping bag, you can also draw whatever you want. You can add both flavor and color to your icing. You may have to make a few attempts in the beginning to get the right consistency. You simply have to acquaint yourself with the icing and the fact that various usages require different consistencies. Fortunately, you can easily adjust the consistency, whether you want a runnier or firmer icing.


  • Icing sugar
  • Egg white/water


  • A small bowl
  • A spoon
  • A drinking glass
  • A piping bag

Flavor Suggestions

  • Lemon juice/zest
  • Lime juice/zest
  • Orange juice/zest
  • Rum extract
  • Vanilla extract
  • Mint extract
  • Blueberry juice
  • Raspberry juice
  • Ground cardamom
  • Cinnamon
  • Ground ginger
  • Vanilla
  • Saffron
  • Licorice root powder
  • Liquid gel food coloring



  1. Put the egg white or water in a small bowl, along with any liquid flavor you may be using. I often use 1 teaspoon of lemon juice in the icing to make it less sweet, but this is not necessary in order to make a beautiful icing. If you’re using lemon juice, it’s best to strain it. I almost exclusively make icing with egg white, which is harder and whiter than icing made from water. Sometimes I mix the icing sugar only with juice from citrus fruits or berries.
  2. Add icing sugar and stir until you have a smooth mixture.
  3. Add food coloring or spices (optional). The icing spots pictured above have added ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and saffron. As you can see, the spices themselves add color in addition to flavor.
  4. Is your icing too thick? Too thin? Adjust with liquid and icing sugar until you have the desired consistency. Test the consistency, and how the icing behaves, by lifting the spoon and allowing the icing to run off the spoon back into the bowl. You will then know if the icing is right for your purpose. At this point, the icing is done. Follow the next instructions if you’re going to pipe it out.
  5. Use either an ordinary freezer bag or a piping bag with a tip. Put a corner of the freezer bag or the tip of the piping bag into a glass and fold the bag over the rim. This will make it easier to fill the bag with icing.
  6. Put the icing in the bag. You can tie the top of the bag if you want.
  7. Cut a very small hole in the corner. If it turns out to be too small, it’s easy to cut it some more. It’s more difficult to make adjustments the other way around.
  8. Pipe the icing either directly onto your baking or onto parchment paper. If you’re making a shape with the icing, you can place a template under the parchment paper.

Tip: The remaining icing can be frozen. Freeze the entire bag. Then you can easily take it out and let it rest on the kitchen counter until it has defrosted and you’re ready to use it.


Excerpted from Bakeland: Nordic Treats Inspired by Nature by Marit Hovland, published April 2018 by Greystone Books. Reproduced and adapted with permission from the publisher.

Tags: Icing