Learn how to whip up a quick, easy and delicious royal icing with or without almond paste for Jamaican black cake! Whether you want to decorate a Christmas cake or serve it as a traditional Jamaican wedding cake, this sweet, slightly tangy frosting will elevate your rum cake recipe.
Jamaican Black Cake with Icing
I absolutely love Jamaican black cake because it’s moist, fruity and boozy. Whenever I see a black cake, I know it’s going to be a celebration! Traditionally served on Christmas, black cake is also a staple at other gatherings like birthdays and graduations. This royal icing recipe for Jamaican black cake is most commonly used for weddings.
Here’s Why You’ll Love this Recipe
- Beautiful Presentation: Jamaican black cake is a deep shade of dark brown to black. Adding a layer of white frosting is an aesthetically pleasing contrast. This recipe also includes optional food colouring so you can add colour to suit a particular holiday or theme.
- Mouthwatering Flavour: Lusciously sweet, with hints of tangy tartness, this homemade icing will have you licking the bowl once you’re done.
- Easy to Make: Make icing for black cake with just a few simple ingredients, in less than 15 minutes.
What is Royal Icing?
Royal icing, also known as white icing, is a frosting applied to Jamaican black cake. It is usually applied to Jamaican wedding cakes to mark the occasion. Royal icing is traditionally made with powdered sugar and egg whites. It’s slathered on freshly baked black cake and as it sits at room temperature, it hardens.
What’s Needed to Make This Recipe (Kitchen Tools and Equipment)
- Electric Mixer or whisk: Use to blend the ingredients.
- Large Bowl: This contains the icing.
Ingredients and Ingredient Notes
- Confectioners’ Sugar: powdered sugar, sifted to remove any lumps
- Egg Whites: Whipped egg whites introduce air into the frosting, creating a light and fluffy texture. This helps to achieve a smooth and airy consistency. Its neutral flavour allows the other ingredients to shine through.
- Rose Water: This infuses the frosting with a unique floral note.
- Fresh Lime Juice: This adds a bright, tart citrus taste.
- Almond Paste: Although optional, almond paste is a great addition to black cake. It adds a delicious nutty taste to the cake. The thick paste also acts as a barrier between the moist cake and the royal icing, so the frosting is applied smoothly and the color of the rum soaked cake doesn’t bleed into the icing.
- Edible Sugar Pearls: Add this for an elegant flair.
- Food Colouring: If you don’t want white royal icing, use whichever colour you prefer.
- Extracts: Some recipes include vanilla extract or almond extract for a boost of warm flavour.
How to Make Royal Icing for Black Cake
If Using Almond Paste
If using almond paste, gently knead the almond paste for 30-60 seconds until it forms a smooth ball. Place it on a clean surface lightly dusted with powdered sugar to prevent sticking. Roll the almond paste out to approximately 1/8 inch thickness, to the shape of your cake. Then, brush the cake with a little rum or wine and place the almond paste on top of the cake.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sifted confectioners’ sugar, egg whites, rose water and fresh lime juice. Use an electric (hand) mixer on low speed to blend the ingredients until combined or until the desired consistency is reached. If using food colouring, add in and mix until evenly distributed.
Spread the royal icing evenly over the top and sides of the cake/almond paste. Use a spatula or a butter knife to achieve a smooth finish. Decorate with edible sugar pearls if using. Let harden before cutting, and enjoy!
Recipe Substitutions and Tips
- Egg Whites: Some royal icing recipes use meringue powder in place of egg whites. If you use powder instead of eggs, add water to supplement the liquid portion of the mixture. Meringue imparts a tangy flavour so you may want to omit the lime juice if you go this route.
- Lime Juice: Instead of limes, you can use freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- Almond Paste: You can marzipan as a substitute for almond paste. Marzipan is smoother and sweeter, with a fainter almond taste.
Serving Suggestions and Tips
Although royal icing is made for Jamaican black cake, you can use it to frost other cupcakes, cakes or loaves. It would complement carrot cake.
Recipe Notes and Tips for the Best Royal Icing
- If using almond paste for Jamaican royal icing, be sure to spritz the surface of the cake with rum or brandy first so it sticks better.
- Allow time for the frosting to set before slicing the cake. The frosting should harden.
- Feel free to use a piping bag if you want to create a special design for the cake.
- The icing must be smooth for it to properly adhere to the cake.
- If the icing is too thick, add a little more water, a teaspoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency. If it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar.
Can I Make Royal Icing Ahead of Time?
Yes. Make it up to 3 days in advance and store it in the fridge in an airtight container.
Store royal icing for black cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Royal icing is sweet with a light, airy consistency when freshly applied to the cake. It has citrus and floral notes that give it depth.
Black cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 4 days. After that, it should be refrigerated. Alternatively, feed the cake with rum to extend its shelf life.
Although it will start to dry within 30 minutes of application, royal icing can take 6-8 hours to completely dry and harden.
Interested in more Jamaican Dessert Recipes? Check These Out!
- Jamaican Black Cake
- How to Soak Fruit for Christmas Cake
- Peanut Drops Recipe
- Jamaican Busta Candy (Stagga Back)
- Tamarind Balls
- How to Make Condensed Milk
- Grater Cake
- Jamaican Easter Bun
- How to Make Soft Cinnamon Rolls (Easy Recipe)
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Royal Icing for Jamaican Black Cake
- Electric Mixer or whisk
- Large Bowl
- 2 cups Confectioners' Sugar powered sugar, sifted to remove any lumps
- 1 Egg White
- 1 tsp Rose Water
- 2 tsp Fresh Lime Juice
- Water add 1 tsp gradually if needed until desired consistency is reached
- 8 oz Almond Paste optional
- Edible Sugar Pearls for decorating, optional
- Food Colouring for decorating, optional
If Using Almond Paste
- If using almond paste, gently knead the almond paste for 30-60 seconds until it forms a smooth ball. Place it on a clean surface lightly dusted with powdered sugar to prevent sticking. Roll the almond paste out to approximately 1/8 inch thickness, to the shape of your cake. Then, brush the cake with a little rum or wine and place the almond paste on top of cake.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the sifted confectioners' sugar, egg whites, rose water and fresh lime juice. Use an electric (hand) mixer on low speed to blend the ingredients until combined or until desired consistency is reached. If using food colouring, add in and mix until evenly distributed.
- Spread the royal icing evenly over the top and sides of the cake/almond paste. Use a spatula or a butter knife to achieve a smooth finish. Decorate with edible sugar pearls if using. Let harden before cutting, and enjoy!
Note, the nutritional information is calculated using a nutrition facts calculator. It is a rough estimate and can vary based on products used.