Royal Icing Microwave Coral

Puffed-up royal icing
I saw this royal icing coral technique a while ago and decided to try it to see if it was something that I could use on a recent cake.

This makes large pieces of porous-looking sugar that looks like big chunks of coral. You can color it after it dries, or just add some food color before you heat it.

You need some royal icing, preferably with egg whites, not meringue powder. I made some and used it right away, so it doesn't seem to matter whether it's old or new.

Grease a pyrex bowl (I used nonstick cooking spray) and put about 1/2 cup of RI into it. Heat it in the microwave for 1 minute. It will puff up and look like a rocky surface.

Check the icing to make sure it doesn't look like it's burning. In the picture of the white you can see that there's a spot in the center that seems to be getting darker. If that happens don't heat it anymore.

If it's not too hot, heat it for another 20 seconds or so.

Take the bowl out of the microwave, or leave it in the microwave with the door open and let it set. The bowl will be hot, so be careful. DO NOT try to stir the icing or remove it from the bowl yet.

Let the sugar set up and cool off completely, then take a spatula or a knife and slide it around the side of the bowl to release the sugar. It will probably break into pieces.

Colored with orange dusting powder and dipped in glaze
Once it cools completely you can break off irregular pieces to the size that you need and use them on the cake.

To color the coral, brush on powders, then either leave it or dip it in confectioner's glaze. If you dip it you should leave it to dry and not touch it for a while because it will be sticky and collapse on itself if it's handled too much. It will shrink a little naturally, so start with a slightly larger piece than you want to end up with.

Next week: Two other ways to make coral in different shapes.

 Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at and

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