Tips on Icing

Tips to create a simple, smooth icing surface

Instructions and tips on how to create a smooth surface using Royal Icing

Best results will be achieved by icing the cake in two-three thin coats, so this will take a few days.


  1. Place marzipanned cake centrally onto a turntable if one is available, if not an upturned bowl will do.

  2. Using a palette knife put a large dollop of icing onto the top of the cake.  Cover the bowl with the remainder of the icing with a damp tea towel to stop it from drying out.

  3. Using the palette knife, spread the dollop of icing evenly over the top of the cake using a backwards and forwards movement, turning the cake as you go.

  4. Using a clean ruler or something similar with a straight edge that is longer than the width of the cake.  Holding it at the two ends, start at the furthest edge away from you, at an angle to the surface; draw it across the cake towards your body in one continuous movement, making sure not to press down too hard.  You should be left with a level surface. 

  5. Remove any icing from the sides of the cake.  Leave to dry for two- three hours before applying icing to the sides.  Make sure the icing left over in the bowl is covered well while cake is drying.

  6. To ice the sides, using the palette knife spread the icing onto the side of the cake, turning the cake as you go.

  7. Using a side scraper, hold the scraper against the side of the cake and with your other hand take hold of the board/turntable at the back of the cake near to the scraper.  Slowly, but without stopping, revolve the cake until a circle has been completed or until the entire surface is smooth.  Lifting the scraper away from the side will leave a take off mark, but this can be removed once the icing has hardened.

  8. Using the palette knife, remove any surplus icing which has crept over the top edge of the cake.  Clean off any icing left on the cake board and leave the cake in a warm dry place to harden overnight.

  9. Any remaining icing can be kept overnight by covering the bowl with a damp tea towel and then sealing well with cling film to prevent drying out.

  10. Before adding the second layer of icing make sure the first layer is completely dry.  Remove any rough edges and the take off line with a sharp knife.  To apply the second coat of icing just repeat the above steps.  If the required surface hasn’t been obtained by the second coat, a third and even forth coat can be applied.

  11. If there are still some rough edges after a few coats, leave the cake to dry for a couple of days and using a fine grade sandpaper, rub over surface of cake until required surface is achieved.