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Welcome to the Cake Decorators Q&A

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asked September 10th 2012

Unsure of what icing to use.

Hi 🙂

I have been asked to make a birthday cake, a 3d duck. I have made it before – I carved the cake, covered in buttercream and fondant, and then piped the fur using buttercream.

My problem this time is that the timings for the cake aren’t great. I am going on holiday, and the cake will need to be finished on Tuesday for a Sunday party. The cake should be fine I think, because I can freeze it the week before and defrost on Tuesday morning.

It’s more the icing I am worried about. What should I use? I am toying with the idea of using royal icing instead – does it have a longer shelf life?

Thank you

Kirsty

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Hi 🙂

I have been asked to make a birthday cake, a 3d duck. I have made it before – I carved the cake, covered in buttercream and fondant, and then piped the fur using buttercream.

My problem this time is that the timings for the cake aren’t great. I am going on holiday, and the cake will need to be finished on Tuesday for a Sunday party. The cake should be fine I think, because I can freeze it the week before and defrost on Tuesday morning.

It’s more the icing I am worried about. What should I use? I am toying with the idea of using royal icing instead – does it have a longer shelf life?

Thank you

Kirsty

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Hi kirstybaird

Royal icing will set too hard and won’t be very nice. Why don’t you pipe the fur with chocolate ganache. It’s possible to colour white chocolate ganache and it will be good for at least two weeks in a cool room. I use 600 gm of white chocolate to 200ml of double cream to make a firm white choco ganache suitable for piping.

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Thanks for your quick answer 🙂

That’s a good idea. It’s for a little girl who can’t have dairy, so the royal icing was a last ditch attempt to also make it dairy free! The client has said though that I can just make a small seperate cake for her though.

Is royal icing really not good? I can’t think of ever trying it!

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It’s so hard and brittle and will probably shatter when the cake is cut. For large flat surfaces and delicate decorations it’s fine but, for making piped fur, hmm?? I don’t think I’d attempt it, that’s my opinion. I might have a recipe for a non dairy icing. I’ll look for it in the morning and post for you if I find it. Just had a thought, how about fudge icing? now that can be made with non dairy spread instead of butter and will be fine for your timing.

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Oh that would be brilliant if you could post both? It would be so helpful 🙂 the cake isn’t until November so plenty of time to try a few options out!

Thank you 🙂

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Hi Kirsty

Apologies for posting so late, it has been a day of trials and tribulations! Here are a couple of dairy free frosting recipes which might be suitable.

Lemon fudge icing:

40gms any dairy free butter eg soya or goat
2 tablespoon lemon juice
225gm icing sugar

Melt the dairy free butter and lemon juice over a gentle heat and bring to the boil.
Remove from heat, add icing sugar and beat well. Let it cool slightly and use at once.

Piping icing:
This is one I used a few years back, it does use coco powder which you don’t want because it will colour the icing. I wonder if it can be replaced with the same amount of cornflour to give the same consistency or just add the same amount of icing sugar to balance the quantity?? an experiment perhaps?

A dash of boiling water to mix the equivalent of the coco powder
140gm icing sugar sifted
140gm of any dairy free butter/spread
Put add the ingredients in a food processor an beat until just soft enough to pipe.

I’ve also found two sites which might be of interest:
veganbaking.net/frostings-icing/645-rich-whitechocolate-frosting. This uses coco butter so is dairy free.

Baking&[email protected] Suite101 Lemon icing.

If I come across any more between now and November I’ll post to you. In my Gluten and dairy free book, it says margarine can be used as it is composed of vegetable oils and water. Might be worth asking mother of the little girl what type of spreads she uses instead of butter. Another source says to make a softer royal icing use 1 tsp of glycerine to 450gm of sugar, I would use only half a tsp as too much glycerine will not allow icing to set.
Hope this helps, again apologies for delay. x