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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tutorial: Royal Icing Flowers

See the full cake here.
Royal icing may be my new favorite decorating technique! I used the same flower piping techniques I learned using buttercream as a teenager taking my first Wilton classes. But royal icing not only holds its shape better, but it allows you to create them ahead of time. You can also rearrange them on the cake without destroying them.

Anyway, here is the recipe I used to make the royal icing:
-2 lbs powdered sugar
-2 Tbsp meringue powder (or egg white powder, you may use 2 egg whites instead)
-1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
-2/3 C water

Dissolve the meringue powder into the water, then throw everything into your stand mixer and let it go until it is a smooth, even consistency. It should have a "stiff peak" consistency, which means that the peaks of the icing look sharp and don't move. There are also "soft peak" and "flooding" consistencies, but we want the stiff peak for flowers. If it is too soft, mix in more powdered sugar until you get the stiff peaks. Now put it all in an airtight container, because it dries quickly. Only pull out what you will be working with.

Now, what you'll need to make the flowers:
-food coloring (I use AmeriColor gel dyes, but I think any food coloring will work)
-pastry bags (I prefer using parchment triangles and making disposable bags because it really minimizes the clean up time)
-flower nail
-wax paper or parchment paper
-Wilton tips 3, 4, 104, 352

To color icing, put the amount you want in a separate bowl and immediately cover the rest to keep it from drying out. Here are instructions from a book for making the big 5-petal flowers and the daisies:

5-Petal Flower (white) and Daisey (pink) -- sorry one of them chipped as I was setting up for the picture.
5-Petal Flowers
1. From a sheet of parchment paper, cut small squares slightly larger than the flower to be piped.
2. Make a paper pastry bag an snip the tip off the empty bag to produce an opening large enough to fit a metal piping tip. Drop a Wilton 104 piping tip inside the bag, narrow end first.
3. Fill the bag with appropriately colored stiff-peak icing.
4. Pipe a small dot of icing on top of the flower nail, stick one of the paper squares on top, and hold the nail in one hand.
5. Hold the pastry bag in the other hand at a 45-degree angle to the nail, with the wide end of the tip touching the middle of the flower nail and the narrow end pointing out and slightly raised.
6. Squeeze out the first petal and give the nail a one-quarter turn as you move the nozzle out toward the edge of the flower nail. Use less pressure as you are moving back toward the middle and curve the nozzle slightly to give the petal a natural shape. Stop squeezing as the wide end touches the middle of the nail and lift up the tip.
7. Repeat this 4 more times to make all the petals.
8. Remove the flower with its base paper from the nail and leave to dry.
9. Pipe small yellow dots (using Wilton 4) into the middle as stamens.

1. Use a Wilton 104 piping tip and some stiff-peak white royal icing.
2. Prepare your pastry bag and paper squares for the flower nail as above.
3. Mark the middle of the paper lined nail with a dot of icing.
4. Start at the outer edge of the nail, holding the wide end of the tip away from the middle and the narrow end towards the middle of the nail.
5. Slightly touch the paper with the wide end of the piping tip, squeeze out the icing and pull the tip toward the middle as you release the pressure. Stop and pull the tip away.
6. Repeat for 8 or more petals, while turning the nail appropriately.
7. Remove the flower with the base paper from the nail and leave to dry.
8. Pipe small yellow dots (using Wilton 4) into the middle as stamens.

The roses, rosebuds, and leaves I made from what I remember learning a long time ago, and I just made up the little yellow flowers. I'll try to give the best instructions I can.

Leaves, little flowers, and rosebuds (apparently I forgot to take a close up of the rose)
Little Flowers
1. Using a Wilton 104 piping tip and stiff-peak royal icing, make a dot and release pressure as you drag toward the middle.
2. Repeat for remaining 4 petals and allow to dry.

1. Use a Wilton 351 piping tip and stiff-peak royal icing. One of the sharp points should be touching the wax paper, the other should be straight up in the air.
2. Briefly apply pressure to the piping bag, then release pressure and pull away.
3. For a slightly wider leaf, apply pressure a bit longer. For a ruffled leaf, apply pressure even longer and it will ruffle itself. End the same way, by releasing pressure and pulling away.

1. Using a Wilton 104 piping tip and stiff-peak royal icing, make a small mound of icing on the wax paper (on the flower nail).
2. With the wide end of the tip down and the skinny end pointing straight up, pipe icing on top of the mound while spinning the flower nail all the way around (you will create an upside-down cone).
3. Touching the wide end to the base of the cone, pipe as you turn the nail 1/3 of the way around. Release pressure and lift tip.
4. Turn the nail backwards a tiny bit and start the next petal so that it overlaps the one you just made by a little bit. Pipe as you turn the nail; release pressure and lift up.
5. Continue making petals around the flower until it is the size you want.

1. Use a Wilton 104 piping tip and stiff-peak royal icing. Place the wide end down on the wax paper, with the skinny end raised about 45 degrees.
2. Pipe and draw a figure "S" with the icing. Release pressure and lift tip. Allow to dry.
3. Following the directions about, pipe one or two small leaves directly on to the rosebud, starting at the base and pulling toward the top.

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