In this guest blog post, Ceri Griffiths – royal icing guru, tells us all about the various royal icing trends and his journey while mastering the medium. You can enjoy learning with Ceri in his fantastic and easy-to-follow series of royal icing tutorials, catering to a variety of skill levels.
I’ve been a baker, confectioner, cake decorator and designer for over thirty five years now and royal icing has always been with me on my journey through life. Yes you heard me correctly; royal icing has been around continually, as with any other mediums it comes and goes with fashion but royal icing has never truly gone away.
I doubt you’re going to see many fruit cakes covered in marzipan and then coated with royal icing nowadays but that’s where the changing face of this versatile medium has saved it from extinction. You never know what the future holds so don’t forget those coating skills as you don’t know when they’re going to be required again.
I travel extensively throughout the world as a teacher, demonstrator and judge and I’m constantly surprised by what cake artists achieve with royal icing. Now let’s not mislead you, as with everything in life fashion dictates and influences many things including cake. There have been times when royal icing has taken on the role of being glue or small piped dots, then on other occasions it has taken centre stage being an architectural centerpiece, but most commonly you will find it as an intricate and elaborate piped border to frame your cakey creation.
For me personally, I’ve moved away from traditional royal iced cakes and have eagerly embraced the world of multi-medium cakes, where I’m able to bring together different aspects of my training combining everything from modeling chocolate to isomalt, from Cake Lace to molded pieces into fabulous new and exciting creations, very often inspired by historical pieces of piping.
If I’ve had one major battle it has been to help people overcome their fear of royal icing, I don’t know what it is about this lovely medium that makes people run a mile but I think the main stumbling block has been mastering the different consistencies required for the different tasks it can be used for. This problem has been reduced considerably over the last couple of years with high quality pre-mixes and pre-made royal icing. If I was to recommend any product I would say that in my opinion the Squires Kitchen range of premixes for making royal icing are perfect for high quality piped work and the new Renshaw pre-made tub of Royal icing is perfect for the enthusiast requiring icing for cookies, brush embroidery, stenciling or basic piping skills etc.
I’m sure we’re going to see more royal icing trending on social media in 2016 as it grows in popularity, I know more and more people are visiting my Pinterest pages and pinning pieces of royal icing work to their own boards for inspiration.
I still love royal icing and if I live to be a hundred I don’t think I will ever learn everything that it is capable of or master the skills involved with its various uses. For me it’s a very invigorating time in the cake decorating world where sugar artistry is being taken to a new level and at last cake decorators are beginning to have their craft recognised as a stand along art form. Congratulations, you are all truly cake artists.
If I have one mantra I would like to share with you all, it is to remember this as you create your sugar pieces, even write it on a post it and put it on your wall……”you’re only limitation is your imagination”, everything is possible although the ‘how’ may need to be discovered by a trail of failures.
Good luck and I’ll see you around.