One of the biggest problems with cake decorating is waiting for everything to dry, and Royal icing is no exception. There are ways to speed up the process, but they must be done carefully to get the best results.
You can speed up the drying of Royal icing by using a fan, a dehumidifier, or other household appliances. However, you must be very careful whilst doing it, or you will ruin all your hard work.
Read on …
Can you dry Royal icing in the oven?
Yes, you can. However, there are certain things you must take note of first. Your oven must be spotless.
Sugar absorbs tastes and smells, so if you have used your oven to cook your dinner, you could transfer the taste and smell to your Royal icing.
Start by cleaning the oven, then when you have thoroughly rinsed off any chemicals you have used, wipe it all down with lemon juice, which will neutralize anything that’s left.
Turn on the oven light inside, place your royal iced cake or cookies in the oven, and that should give off enough heat to dry them. That’s the method I use.
If you have an oven that has a very low-temperature setting e.g., 50C/122F you can preheat your oven, turn off the heat, and then place their Royal iced items into the oven for about 15 mins to speed up the drying process.
Either of those methods would not be a good idea for buttercream covered cakes that have Royal icing decorations as the buttercream would melt.
We’ve talked about using heat to dry Royal icing, but what about drying it in the cold?
Will Royal icing harden in the fridge?
The only time you can put Royal icing in the fridge is after it’s been made and before it’s used for a project.
After you make the royal icing, put it in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days, especially if it contains egg whites. To keep it longer, place it in the freezer, and it will keep for several months. To use, thaw to room temperature, stir and adjust the consistency either with more powdered sugar if it’s too thin or more water if it’s too thick.
Once you have used it for a project and need it to dry, don’t put it in the fridge because the cold, damp air won’t allow it to set and will make your baked goods go soft. Let the icing dry at room temperature.
The only exception is if you have a special low humidity baker’s fridge or a domestic fridge adapted for the purpose.
There is a way to control the humidity in your own domestic fridge, and you can find out how it’s done in “Tips for Extreme Weather Cake Decorators: Rolling Fondant”
What about using a hairdryer to dry your Royal icing?
Can you dry Royal icing with a hairdryer?
Yes, you can dry Royal icing with a hairdryer?
The temperature should be set to the coolest setting to prevent the Royal icing from melting. Set the fan speed to low, and without holding it too close to your work, move it backward and forwards in a gentle sweeping motion so the icing won’t wrinkle or be blown out of shape.
Can you dry Royal icing with a fan?
Yes, using a fan to dry Royal icing not only speeds up the drying process but gives icing that has been used for flood work, such as on cookies or for cake runouts, a smooth, shiny finish. It helps eliminate pits and craters because the faster the icing dries, the smoother it will be.
Set the fan to low and position it about 2ft/ ½ m away from your work.
Can you use a hot air gun to dry Royal icing?
I have never used a hot air gun to dry my Royal icing, but what a great idea. I’ve been looking around on the internet for information, and bakers who decorate cookies, are raving about it.
It dries the icing faster, so it’s quicker to add different colors side by side. The icing dries to a shiny finish, and it helps avoid craters in the icing as it’s drying.
However, once you’ve finished putting icing onto your cake or cookie, start to dry it right away.
Don’t put the gun too near or hold it in one place while you are drying the icing.
Move it backward and forwards in a gentle sweeping motion, or the icing could wrinkle.
You can buy a hot air gun from your local do-it-yourself shop or Amazon, where they even have some inexpensive mini ones that don’t get as hot as the larger ones.
This is definitely something I will try myself.
However, you must remember:
- Place your work on a heat-resistant surface such as a baking tray but don’t place the tray on a countertop, or that will scorch.
- The gun gets extremely hot, so don’t hold it too close to your work, or the icing will melt, or it will leave scorch marks on the surface.
- Put heat-resistant gloves while you handle the gun to prevent burning yourself.
- When you have e finished using the heat gun, place it on a heat-resistant surface.
How long does royal icing take to harden?
Royal icing’s surface will seem hard after about 30 minutes, but it will not be dry right the way through. For this reason, you have to be very careful when moving a cake that has intricate piping, as it is quite likely to fall off if it isn’t completely dry. It’s better to leave it overnight to dry.
If applied thinly for flood work on a cookie, it should take around six hours to dry and faster if you have used a fan or a heat gun. Make sure they are completely dry before placing them in a package.
If the flood work is thicker, then it will take longer to dry. Make an extra cookie using the same thickness of icing so you can test if it’s dry or not.
A runout for a cake will dry overnight. I always make a small, extra runout using the same thickness of icing so that I can test if it’s dry or not.
If you’ve used Royal icing to cover a cake, for example, a Christmas cake, it will take several days to dry out completely. However, it won’t be as hard as the icing on a cookie because glucose will have been added, so the cake is cut easily, and the icing is not too hard to eat.
If you have any other questions about drying Royal icing I have not covered here, let me know in the comments box below, and I will do my best to answer them.