Making water icing for cakes

This cookery skill is all about making water icingWater icing can be used in recipes such as fairy cakes and making water icing can be fun using different food colourings and flavours.  The first documented recipe for icing was in 1769.

Ingredients – as required

  • 250g icing sugar
  • 45ml water
  • A few drops lemon juice


  1. Sieve the icing sugar into a clean bowl.
  2. Gradually add the water, beating with a wooden spoon until you have the consistency that you require.
  3. Add the lemon juice.
  4. Cover with cling film and allow to stand for about 30 minutes to allow any air bubbles to come to the surface.  When required, give the icing a gentle stir before using.

Water icing – hints and tips

Making water icing using sugar, water and a few drops of lemon juice is the simplest form of icing and is a good place to start if you are trying to make icing for the first time.  Other forms of icing include buttercream and Royal Icing.

You can add different food colourings and flavours to your water icing to give many different finishes.  Be careful with food colouring and only add a little at a time.  Food colourings are like salt in a way – you can always add, but you cannot take away.

Water icing can be applied with a knife or spatula or can simply be dipped or drizzled onto the food.  It can also be used to completely cover the food or just the top or sides – it is very flexible in how it can be used and can certainly add the ‘wow’ factor to any cake or dessert, particularly if you are using different colours and textures.

Watch water icing for cakes being made