An icing with a stiff consistency is essential in cake and cupcake decorating when you need icing to stand up or hold a shape. Stiff icing, also known as royal icing, can be used to make borders, dots and flowers for cakes and cupcakes. Ensure that all tools, bowls and utensils are grease-free when making a royal icing recipe; this will prevent the icing from becoming soft and losing its stiffness.
Sift icing sugar two times. Set aside.
Attach wire whisk to stand mixer. Plug in stand mixer and place bowl in proper location.
Place water into the bowl of the stand mixer. Add the meringue powder. Beat on medium speed until peaks -- formations in the mixture that stand upright when the beater is removed -- begin to form.
Slowly add icing sugar to the mixer in 1/4-cup increments. Mix well in between each addition. Add almond extract.
Mix until the mixture is smooth, shiny and stiff. Add more icing sugar to reach the desired stiffness. Use a spoon to scoop up some royal icing and hold the spoon upside down. If the icing does not move or fall from the spoon, it is the proper consistency and will be stiff enough to create stand-up designs.
Use a spatula to move the royal icing into a clean bowl. Cover it with a wet towel until ready to use. Store unused royal icing in a grease-free, airtight container in the refrigerator.