Dot writes: Ken has made a Christmas cake. It looks and smells lovely, and it doesn’t need to be saved for Christmas as we suspect there may be another waiting in Norfolk, but we decided to hold off gobbling it up until it had been properly iced. Ken covered it in marzipan and I was supposed to make and apply the royal icing. According to Delia Smith’s recipe, you have to sift a pound-and-a-half of icing sugar, add it to four egg whites stirring it in in lots of two spoonfuls, and then whisk with an electric whisk for ten minutes until the mixture stands up in stiff peaks.
Sadly my weedy little electric whisk wasn’t up to the job. It has never really recovered from when I did this last Christmas and the attachment that joins the whisk to the mixer wand has gone all wobbly. So it was time for Ken to step in again and give whisking the manly man’s touch.
Sadly, even this wasn’t enough to make the icing stand up in stiff peaks. It did thicken, and I’ve put it on the cake, but it has run down the sides and given the cake a sort a traily frill all around as though it’s wearing a dress that’s too long for it. I suspect what we need is a good old-fashioned metal egg beater with a handle to turn.