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Sugarless Writing Icing

Updated on February 9, 2015

I have a lot of friends and family members with sugar-free requirements and they often lament the fact that their food is not as decorative or pretty as the sugary options. It has been my mission for a while to work out a writing icing so that their cakes and cookies can still be adorned with 'happy birthday's, names, drawings of things that make them unique, such as hobby-related pictures or symbols, and so on. Here I have gone with the simplest thing I could think of - replacing icing sugar with cornflour, and it seems to have worked. After a short period of refrigeration and being allowed to sit, the writing icing has set hard as I would expect regular writing icing made with icing sugar to do. The only difference is likely to be longevity; the icing you see is made today, and suitable for cakes and things that are going to be served in the near future. Because it lacks the preservative qualities of sugar, this icing may not be suitable for items such as gingerbread that are often kept over a longer period and expected to last. I will return and edit this hub once I have observed what happens to the writing icing heart on my oatmeal gingerbread cookie above over time as it is stored.

Cast your vote for Sugarless writing icing
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 25 min
Yields: Enough icing for a batch of approx 15 cookies

You will need

  • approx 1 cup cornflour
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp honey or other non-sugar sweetener or some other flavouring if you want to avoid a cornflour taste
  • 1 tsp any colouring you want to use
  • Your tool of choice for squeezing writing icing onto your baked goods


  1. Separate your eggs and find another use for your egg yolks - you won't be needing those.
  2. Mix the cornflour into the egg whites just as you would icing sugar, until no lumps remain, and the mixture is thick and easy to spoon into your icing instrument of choice, be that a piping bag or other tool.
  3. Add any colouring you need to make your icing the colour you want for your purposes. This may thin the icing sightly and you may need to add more corn flour.
  4. Spoon your icing into your writing-icing tool of choice and off you go - draw or write whatever you desire - I actually found this mixture easier to draw with and handle than normal writing icing.
  5. Once you have the design you want on your baked goodies, put them in the fridge for 10 minutes or so. This will help the icing to dry and set faster.
  6. Leave the baked items to sit for another approximately 10 minutes before trying to pack them away so that the icing can set as dry as possible.

Once you have let your icing sit for approximately 20 minutes it should have set fairly hard, just like normal writing icing made with icing sugar. You can then pack your cookies or cake into boxes or wrapping for transport. I wouldn't recommend keeping food with this icing for more than 4 days or so though, because it lacks the preservative effect of sugar. So it may not be appropriate for your keep-all-year gingerbread house, but it will allow you to give those friends and relatives who need sugar-free food items that still have written edible messages and drawings. It would also work without any kind of sweetener added, but will taste a little of the cornflour used to thicken it, so it may be useful to add some other kind of flavour in the place of sugar such as spice, vanilla essence, or other flavoured essences that you do not need too much of to get a taste. I hope this opens up some baking possibilities for a few people!


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