Today is my daughter's 2nd birthday. Time has flown by quickly! Yesterday we celebrated her birthday and I was determined to make her an Elmo cake (gluten-free) because she has a bit of an Elmo obsession. Conventional food coloring was not an option because they are not safe or natural. None of the health food stores nearby carried any natural food coloring so I had to start from scratch. It took a few tries but in the end it turned out great.
In researching food coloring from food, most of the ideas I found were based in water which wasn't really an option for icing. Once I made the icing, adding more then just a few drops of water thinned out the icing and made it too watery. In an attempt to make red icing, I tried cranberry juice. It was making a nice color but the amount of juice needed to get the very red color of Elmo was thinning out the icing way too much. I concluded that it would be best to use a whole food or something in a powdered form to color the icing.
Here is how I got my colors to work…
Red: The best way to color the icing red was by using Beet Root PowderI put the white vanilla icing into a blender and blended it with the powder until I got the color that I needed.
Pink: In my trials of making the red icing, I came up with a very nice deep pink color with strawberries. Take a handful of whole fresh or frozen strawberries and put them in the blender. Once they are chopped well add the icing into the blender and blend until mixed. The strawberry flavor is also delicious!
Yellow / Orange: For Elmo's nose I needed an orangy color. I read that a great way to get yellow was by using TurmericTo get the orange color I needed I used mostly turmeric and a small pinch of beet root powder. I was worried about the icing tasting like turmeric but it didn't effect the taste at all. It was delicious.
Green: I didn't need a green for my Elmo project but I found out that a great way to make green is to use Matcha Green Tea PowderSince this is in a powder form, I am sure it would work just as great as the beet root powder or the turmeric.
Blue: In my coloring research, the option that would work best for icing is blueberries. Blend blueberries in a high powered blender and once they are well chopped add the icing and mix well.
All of my efforts were well worth it. The cake looked and tasted great. No one even suspected that I didn't use regular food coloring and best of all my daughter couldn't have been happier. She absolutely loved the cake!
Have you used food to color your cake icing? What has worked for you?