“But all things must have a beginning, and the student who is about to embark on a career of icing and piping must study well the aspect of his own fitness for the work, his adaptability, his will to overcome obstacles, and his willingness to practice.” (Nirvana, 1953, pg. 1)
So far I have learned that it began in the ages of kings and queens – from this I realize where the name “royal” icing must have come from. Before fondant and before soft buttercream icings, fruit cake was covered in royal icing, a simple mixture of two ingredients: icing sugar and egg whites. And with such a pure & simple medium, I am amazed that so much can be created with it!
The practice dummy was first iced in several thin layers of royal icing, allowing it to dry hard in between. 3-4 layers were needed to coat the cake. To decorate this, no molds were used here – just simple piping with a piping tube and some tips. The borders and lattice are built up with several layers of piping on top of each other, allowing the layers to dry in between.
Marian was the one I went to learn the secrets of royal icing – and she graciously shared her amazing skills and techniques. For that I owe her a forever thank you.
I’m very grateful for all the cake decorators I have had a chance to meet, whether they be beginners, professionals, or hobbyists – I find that these are all people of kind hearts and of giving and they have taught me so much. Cake & life is about sharing after all, and the people and cake decorators I meet really get it. I want to keep this as a keepsake piece as a reminder for me that the foundation of cake decorating is not necessarily just technique, but also the generosity of people in passing that technique on.