Recipe: Royal Icing for a Christmas Cake

by KathleenDuffy

Your Christmas cake, whether bought or home-made, will benefit from a covering of your own Royal Icing. This traditional Royal Icing recipe is the icing on the cake!

Nothing can beat the delicacy of home made Royal Icing smoothed onto a traditional Christmas cake. Even if you buy a good branded cake in a supermarket, it will be enhanced by your own Royal Icing.

It takes a bit of patience and time to complete icing a cake the traditional Royal Icing way. However, with practice, the experience can be very rewarding and the results extremely satisfying.

First, however, ensure you have applied almond paste all over the cake for the preparatory base, otherwise your icing will simply slide off the cake’s surface. You can make your own almond paste or buy it ready-made from the store.

Traditional Royal Icing

This Royal Icing is a recipe to cover the cake only. It is not for decoration, but is the base on which you can decorate.

Mix the icing the day before you mean to ice the cake. Also, at stages 5 and 8, it requires to be left overnight.

Covers the top and sides of a 20 cm/8 inch diameter round cake or an 18 cm/7 inch square cake.



  • 450 g/1 lb icing sugar
  • 2 egg-whites
  • 2 teaspoons glycerine (buy at chemist)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice with no bits, so strain if necessary



  1. Sieve icing sugar three times. This ensures that the icing has absolutely no lumps at all, even tiny ones.
  2. Put egg-whites into a bowl and beat, very lightly.
  3. Add the icing sugar to egg-whites, a tablespoon at a time. Beat each spoonful in rapidly with a round-bladed knife.
  4. Add glycerine and strained lemon juice and mix in well. (Glycerine stops the icing from going hard).
  5. Put a damp cloth over bowl of icing. Put bowl in a polythene bag and leave it overnight.
  6. The next day, put the cake on a board at least 8 cm/3 inches wider than the cake.
  7. Put a first coat of icing on the sides of the cake. You can use a plastic scraper, a hot knife, or a metal ruler. Dip the knife if used in a jug of boiling water, but wipe it dry before use. Never use a wet knife with this type of icing as it makes the icing too soft and it may start to run.
  8. Allow the icing on the sides to dry overnight.
  9. Put a first coat on the top of the cake. It is better to use a hot knife or metal ruler for the top, not a plastic scraper.
  10. Allow time for the icing to dry on top, then give the sides a second coat. Two coats of icing give a better finish.
  11. Finally, finish icing the top a second time.

 Once dry, you can decorate your Christmas cake!

You Might Like These Recipes for Traditional Christmas Cake and Almond Paste

The sooner you make your Christmas cake, the better it will taste on the great day! Here is a traditional Christmas Cake recipe for baking as early as September.
This traditional almond paste recipe will give your Christmas cake, whether bought or home-made, the foundation for Royal Icing.

Christmas Cake Decorating Items

Buy from E-Bay
Updated: 07/27/2013, KathleenDuffy
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?


Only logged-in users are allowed to comment. Login
VioletteRose on 11/26/2013

Thank you so much for sharing this, very nice article.

KathleenDuffy on 11/05/2013

Ologsinquito - Your really welcome! :)

ologsinquito on 11/05/2013

This recipe looks so simple, but delicious. Thanks for sharing it.

KathleenDuffy on 09/16/2013

Mira - thank you!

Mira on 09/16/2013

I definitely have to go to the UK one Christmas! :) You articles are all so wonderful. Thank you, Kathleen!

KathleenDuffy on 07/29/2013

...and scraping round the bowl afterwards!!

jptanabe on 07/29/2013

I do remember making royal icing for our Christmas cake when I was young - happy memories!

You might also like

Traditional English Christmas Cake Recipe

The sooner you make your Christmas cake, the better it will taste on the grea...

Six Christmas Markets in Europe - Ideas for a Christmas Shoppi...

Here are a few ideas for some of the many Christmas Markets to visit in Europ...

How to Organise A Great Office Christmas Party - Six Inspirati...

Here are some fun, thrifty ideas to make this year's office Christmas party a...

Disclosure: This page generates income for authors based on affiliate relationships with our partners, including Amazon, Google and others.
Loading ...