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Christmas Cake with royal icing, decorated with sugarpaste holly and Christmas puddings
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Royal Icing

A quick and easy royal icing for a 20cm Christmas Cake. It's best made in a stand mixer if you have it.
Prep Time20 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Teatime
Cuisine: British
Keyword: Christmas cake, royal icing
Servings: 1 20cm cake
Author: [email protected] Cooks


  • 2 large egg whites
  • 500 g icing sugar, see Notes
  • 1 teaspoon glycerine (5ml)



  • Put the egg whites in a large bowl and beat briefly to break them down
    2 large egg whites
  • Add the icing sugar a tablespoonful at a time and beat thoroughly in between (or leave the mixer on if using). Stop when you get to a mixture that holds its shape and forms soft peaks.
    You may not need all the icing sugar. It will depend on the size of your eggs
    500 g icing sugar,
  • Add the glycerine and beat for 5 minutes to get a good shine
    1 teaspoon glycerine
  • Tip or spoon the icing onto your marzipanned cake and spread more or less evenly over the top and sides with a palette knife. If you want a snow effect, put the flat blade of the knife on the icing and pull off quickly. (It's a bit like dabbing at the icing)
  • Decorate with whatever you like - or whatever the supermarket has the week before Christmas


Everyday Cooks tips:

  • Use the freshest eggs that you have as they aren't cooked. The sugar preserves them, but I like to start with freshest possible
  • You don't need to sieve the icing sugar if you open a fresh pack that is in date and hasn't got damp (if it's in a box it will be fine). If you're using icing sugar from an opened bag you will need to sieve it
  • Glycerine keeps the icing soft but, if you're making royal icing for a tiered cake, leave it out as the icing will need to support the weight of the other cake(s).