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Reba's Buttercream Icing
Reba's Royal Icing
Jeanne's Egg Albumen Royal Icing
Class Buttercream Icing
Class Royal Icing
Rolled Fondant
White, Coffee, Maple Fondants
Fondant Candies
Gum Paste
Pulled Sugar

Classic Icing Recipes

Jeanne Fante and Reba Cohn were among Philadelphia's first teachers of Cake Decorating to spread the art to a wide audience. Jeanne worked in the store, and Reba taught many of our classes in the early 1980's. Here are a some of their most memorable icing recipes for your enjoyment:

Reba's Buttercream Icing Recipe

1 lb white shortening, such as Crisco or Spry
2 lbs sifted 10X sugar
1 tsp of flavor
About 5 tbs milk, more or less depending on desired consistency

To mix: cream shortening, add a couple heaping tablespoons sifted 10X sugar, cream well; add one tablespoon milk, cream well; keep adding sugar and milk until all is used, omit last of milk unless needed. If too thin add extra sugar, if too stiff add more milk.

Always mix well. For icing cakes, use mixer at high speed after all ingredients are incorporated. For flowers, must be hand mixed.

Keep covered with damp cloth until all icing is used.

Reba's Royal Icing Recipe

Use 1/2 cup of Albumen Flakes (Dried Egg Whites). Mix with cold water to make 8 oz., and soak overnight. Stir well and strain.

Beat at a high speed on your mixer until stiff. At slow speed, add about 3 Lbs. 10X sifted sugar, more or less for the job to be done. When all sugar is incorporated, beat on a high speed for one minute, so not to over beat. You don't want to beat too much air into icing, as this breaks down the icing. Always keep this icing covered with a damp cloth.

Jeanne's Egg Albumen Royal Icing

1 oz egg albumen crystals
2 oz water (cold)
I add 1/2 oz to the amount of water to make it silky

Dissolve in a covered jar and let stand overnight at room temperature. When dissolved, the crystals will look like dark Karo at the bottom of the jar. Stir and strain.

Place egg albumen liquid in electric beater and beat until it forms peaks like fallen snow. Gradually add sifted 10X sugar until you can pick it up on the edge of a spatula and it forms sharp peaks.

There is no set amount of 10X sugar to be added, because humidity controls royal icing to a large extent. Therefore on a damp and humid day more sugar is needed to acquire the texture desired. Do not make it too stiff because the Australian string work requires a flesable icing.

This icing is great for lace and string work, however I would recommend strongly meringue powder royal for other novelties, such as bult work, piping and flow.

Master Decorator Debi Lang's
Class Decorating Buttercream Icing Recipe

Yield: 3 cups

Stiff consistency (for flowers with upright petals):

1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp flavoring, such as almond extract (optional)
Pinch of salt (optional)
2 tbs milk or water or cream
1 cup solid vegetable shortening or 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening and 1/2 cup butter
1 lb sifted confectioner's sugar

1. Sift the confectioner's sugar into a large mixing bowl.
2. Make a well in the sifted sugar, then measure remaining ingredients into same bowl.
3. Blend on medium speed until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed together. Scrape bowl as necessary.
4. Blend an additional minute or so, until creamy.

Note: To prevent air bubbles in the icing, do not over-beat. Be sure to use low-medium speed on your mixer.

Medium consistency (for borders, flowers with flat petals):

1. Add one additional Tablespoon of milk or water to each batch of stiff icing, when you are mixing the full recipe.
For partial batches, add 1 teaspoon of milk or water for each cup you wish to thin.

Thin consistency (for writing, making stems and leaves):

1. Add two Tablespoons of milk or water for each batch of stiff consistency icing, when you are mixing the full recipe.
For partial batches, add 1 teaspoon of milk or water for each cup you wish to thin.

Master Decorator Debi Lang's
Class Royal Icing Recipe

1 recipe makes 3 cups of stiff royal icing

3 tbs meringue powder
4 cups (approximately 1 lb) sifted confectioners’ sugar
6 tbs water (add 1 extra tbs for medium consistency)

In a large bowl, beat all ingredients at low speed for 7-10 minutes (10-12 minutes at high speed for hand mixer) until icing forms peaks.

Rolled Fondant Recipe

1 tbs unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water (or 2 tbs rosewater or orange flower water mixed with 2 tbs cold water)
1/2 cup glucose
1 tbs glycerin
2 tbs solid white vegetable shortening
2 lbs powdered sugar (10X)
Non-stick spray
Powdered sugar

Soften gelatin by sprinkling over water (or rosewater mixture) in a 2-cup glass bowl. Set in small pan of simmering water and stir until gelatin is dissolved. Blend in the glucose and glycerin. Add shortening and stir until melted. Remove from heat.

Place sugar in a large bowl and make a well in center. Add gelatin mixture to the well and stir with wooden spoon. Mix with hands, kneading vigorously, until smooth. If mixture seems too dry, add several drops of water, rosewater or corn syrup and continue kneading. If mixture seems too sticky after kneading, add more powdered sugar and continue kneading.

Spray work surface and rolling pin with non-stick spray. Dust with powdered sugar and cornstarch. Roll fondant into a circle large enough to cover top and sides of cake. Be sure to rotate fondant every two or three rolls to prevent sticking.

1 recipe will easily cover a 12 x 3" cake.
Unused fondant may be wrapped tightly and stored in the refrigerator.

Fannie Farmer's
White Fondant Recipe

2-1/2 lbs. sugar
1/2 cups hot water
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Put ingredients into a smooth granite stewpan. Stir, place on range, and heat gradually to boiling point. Boil without stirring until, when tried in cold water, a soft ball may be formed that will just keep in shape, which is 238° F.

After a few minutes’ boiling, sugar will adhere to sides of kettle; this should be washed off with the hand first dipped in cold water. Have a pan of cold water near at hand, dip hand in cold water, then quickly wash off a small part of the sugar with tips of fingers, and repeat until all sugar adhering to side of saucepan is removed. If this is quickly done, there is no danger of burning the fingers.

Pour slowly on a slightly oiled marble slab. Let stand a few minutes to cool, but not long enough to become hard around the edge. Scrape fondant with chopping knife to one end of marble, and work with a wooden spatula until white and creamy. It will quickly change from this consistency, and begin to lump, when it should be kneaded with the hands until perfectly smooth.

Put into a bowl, cover with oiled paper to exclude air, that a crust may not form on top, and let stand twenty-four hours. A large oiled platter and wooden spoon may be used in place of marble slab and spatula. Always make fondant on a clear day, as a damp, heavy atmosphere has an unfavorable effect on the boiling of sugar.

Fannie Farmer's
Coffee Fondant Recipe

2-1/2 lbs sugar
1-1/2 cups cold water
1/4 cup ground coffee
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Put water and coffee in saucepan, and heat to boiling-point. Strain through double cheese-cloth; then add sugar and cream of tartar. Boil, and work same as White Fondant.

Fannie Farmer's
Maple Fondant Recipe

1-1/4 lbs maple sugar
1-1/4 lbs sugar
1 cup hot water
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Break maple sugar in pieces and add to remaining ingredients. Boil, and work same as White Fondant.

Fondant Candies Recipe

3-1/2 lbs granulated sugar
2 cups water
1/2 lb glucose

Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan and heat until sugar dissolves.
When syrup looks clear, wash down sides of pan with a brush dipped in warm water to remove any clinging crystals.
Repeat procedure several times.
Then increase heat and boil to 240°F on a candy thermometer.
At once, pour mixture onto a marble slab or mar-proof plastic table top and let mixture cool to lukewarm.
Work with candy scraper, lifting and folding to keep mixture in motion.
When thick enough that scraper can stand in mixture, pile it in a mound and cover with a damp cloth.
After a few minutes, knead like bread dough and quickly it will soften.
It can be used immediately or covered with a damp cloth and stored in the refrigerator for several weeks.
Yield: 5 lbs.

To make candy, heat some of the fondant mixture to 160°F over a double boiler, stirring constantly.
Then pour heated fondant into a mint patty funnel or decorating bag fitted with tube 6 and squeeze into molds that have been lightly sprinkled with powdered sugar.
After filling molds, tap lightly to assure fondant settling into all mold indentations.
Allow candies to harden for approximately 45 to 60 minutes; then when completely cool, invert to unmold.

Before molding fondant, you may flavor and color to taste using vanilla for white candies, caramel for light brown, raspberry or strawberry for red, lemon for yellow, and mint or pistachio for green.

Gum Paste Recipe

1 tbs gum-tex or tragacanth gum
1 heaping tbs glucose
3 tbs warm water
1 tbs lemon juice
1 lb powdered sugar (more may be needed)

Mix tragacanth gum and glucose in mixer until smooth and dissolved. Add warm water one tablespoon at a time. Stir in lemon juice. Add powdered sugar, a little at a time, until mixture can be worked by hand. Continue adding powdered sugar, kneading as you add, until about ¾ pound of sugar has been added.

Gum paste handles best when aged, therefore be sure to prepare your gum paste at least one day before intended use. Wrap well and store in refrigerator.

Gum paste will keep for several months when properly wrapped and stored.

Reba's Gum Paste
For Flowers, Molding, Colars and Cuffs, etc.

2 tbs gum tragacanth
1 tbs white Karo syrup
2 tbs strained lemon juice
1/2 cup egg whites
About 2 lbs 10X sugar

Sift together 2 tbs gum trag and about 1 lb 10X sugar.
In a mixer at low speed, combine the above mixture and egg whites.

Reba's Glitter

This is about the easiest thing to make.

In a teacup, place 3 tbsp of water, add 3 tbsp of gum arabic.
Place the cup with the mixture in a pan with a little water in the pan.
Place over medium heat and stir continuously until the mixture becomes clear.
You can stir in a bit of food color at this time, if you like.
Take a mirror, or a large piece of glass, and clean it well.
Now beat the white of an egg until frothy.
Pour onto the glass, smooth egg white all over with a pastry brush.
Now cool the first mixture slightly.
Pour on the glass, and spread as thin as possible.
Let it dry overnight.
The next day, scrape it all up with a razor blade.
Sift it through a fine wire tea strainer.

The uses for this glitter are endless, making anything it touches shine. Make numbers of gum paste, put on a little beaten egg white on them, and sprinkle with colored glitter. Put a little royal icing inside your Christmas ball or sugar eggs and sprinkle with glitter.

Reba's Pulled Sugar
For Crystal Flowers, Ribbons, etc.

This is a ltitle hard to master but is worth your efforts.

2-1/2 lbs granulated sugar
1/2 pint of water
1 level tsp Cream of Tartar
(Food coloring if desired)

You must use a small copper pot. Other pots do not hold heat as well and will let your candy burn before it reaches 312 degrees.

Place pot on a high flame. Wash the side down with hot water on a vegetable brush, and always shake off excess water from the brush. Prepare your marble slab by rubbing it very lightly with a little cooking oil; a drop of oil will be plenty. Place kid gloves on your hands, oil your gloves because you must pull this hot candy about 20 times, not too many pulls or it will grain and not less or it won't shine.

If possible have a batch warmer, or a small electric heater which you can control the heat. You must have a board with a piece of sailcloth on it to put your candy in, in front of the heat. Keep the heat on low so as to keep your candy soft, but not hot. If you don't have any of the above, you can place your board, with the sailcloth, on your oven door and have oven on low heat.

You need a Bunsen burner to heat leaves and stems to join to flowers.

To make ribbons, make small oblong pieces, very small, about 1/4" thick, about 3" long, and join them all together by heating the edges near the flame and press together. When all joined, hold the candy near the heat and pull as long and thin as you want it. Cut with scissors while hot. Lay pieces on a smooth surface. When ready to make bows, hold in front of the heat again and cut in small sections. Hold small section in front of the heat again, bend in half to make cut ends meet. Heat several of these pieces and place together and form bows.