Royal icing

If you’re looking for a healthy icing recipe, please look away now! This is definitely not it! However, if you want to ice a celebration or Christmas cake and need an easy plant-based, oil free recipe, then you’re in the right place.

I rarely ice cakes, but sometimes it really is a key part of a cake. Since changing to a very low saturated fat diet, icing has been a challenge. In the past I’ve always cheated, buying ready roll sheets of fondant icing. But if you explore the ingredients, it tends to contain palm oil – for the last few years I’ve ended up peeling it off my slice of Christmas cake, which is a shame.

Royal icing traditionally contains egg white, so therefore no good for a vegan diet. Fortunately, aquafaba works really well as a replacement in many dishes – including royal icing.

If you’ve not come across it before, aquafaba is the brine from a tin of chickpeas, the water that’s usually thrown away. It contains proteins which act similar to egg white and whisk up a treat, making it suitable for meringues, light cakes, mousses and anything where you’d use traditionally use it. It has a slightly odd aroma, but that’s soon taken away with whatever you’re adding into it.

There’s just 2 ingredients in this icing – aquafaba and icing sugar. And there’s A LOT of icing sugar! Hence the inability to claim this as a healthy recipe.

There’s two types of icing that can be made this way – a looser one which can be used to pipe decorations on biscuits or gingerbread. And a thicker one, suitable for icing larger cakes, like a Christmas or birthday cake. It takes some pretty hefting whisking, so if you have a stand mixer, horray, your arm will thank you for it. However, a hand held electric whisk (my option) works just as well, and could count as a little exercise…….maybe 😉

Here’s a little video showing you how it all comes together. The video gets you to the pipable consistency – if you want to make icing to cover a cake then you’ll need to carry on adding and whisking in an extra 100g of icing sugar. This is enough to cover a smaller cake around 18cm wide. If you have a bigger one, just double the amounts.

You can make this icing in advance and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to spread it. Once on your cake, the outside will harden a little, but it will remain soft underneath and won’t break your tooth with the first bite.

I’m looking forward to having my Christmas cake with icing this year! Do let me know if you give this a go and how you get on.

Merry Christmas!

Royal icing

A plant-based royal icing that contains just 2 ingredients
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings 1 portion


  • Electric whisk


  • 60 ml aquafaba chilled
  • 250 - 350 g icing sugar


  • Pour the aquafaba into a large bowl and whisk constantly until thick, white and bubbly. A soft peak is good.
  • Add the icing sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking all the time until it has all be used up. The icing will become thick and glossy. Use 250g of icing sugar if you want to decorate biscuits and 350g for icing a cake.
Keyword birthday cake, christmas cake, icing, plant based, vegan icing

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