|My three year old's birthday cupcakes with naturally dyed pink icing using this cream cheese icing recipe|
Well, sorry that I'm too late for your Easter festivities, but I thought I would share anyways because this is helpful stuff!
Formerly having decorated cakes professionally, with the "bad" dyes that worked so well, I also never found any natural dyes that fit the bill for my dying needs.
Until now, that is- and I made them myself so even better! Here is my recipe for pink icing and a couple of tips and how-tos for home dye used for icings.
Home-made Icing/ Food Dyes: Pink (see below for other color possibilities)
This recipe ends up yielding about 3-4 Tbsp of concentrate (depending on how concentrated you make it), which I used to dye about 4 cups of icing for a light pink color. Use more beet and honey if you want it to be more fuchsia or dark pink.
|The slightly tan icing on the right is what I started with before adding this dye recipe|
- Beet, shaved or grated with a microplane (a microplane is particularly helpful if you don't have a high powered blender)
- I used equal parts grated beet and honey- 2 Tbsp of each, and filled the bottom of a pot with water- just enough to cover. The main part is to have equal parts honey and equal parts grated food you are using for color.
- Bring to a boil and then simmer until most of the water has evaporated off. You can let it simmer for up to 30 minutes if you want it to be really concentrated- which will emulsify better with an icing or frosting.
- When it has reached desired consistency- like a thick sauce, puree, preferably in a high powered blender, but you can also use a food processor or a magic bullet type blender.
- When you blend with icing or frosting (or ice cream base, etc. the possibilities are endless :), make sure all parts are at room temperature so they will emulsify better. Add concentrate one tsp at a time for easier emulsification.
- And pipe, prepare, eat. etc.- that's it!
- The trick to a good dye is for it to be viscous (very thick) and concentrated. You want it to emulsify well with the icings or frostings since your they will most likely contain a good amount of fat (water- or runny icing dye and fat would not mix well together).
- You will want to also have a thick sweetener handy. Honey, I believe, would be best here. But you could also use glucose (although somewhat hard to come by), coconut nectar, and perhaps maple syrup. I have had the best results with honey.
- The honey neutralizes the beet flavor so no, there is no funky beet taste :).
- If you have found that your color is too bright or bold, and you want to make it more muted, then try adding a color from the opposite of the color wheel, which you can find here. For example, if I wanted more of a salmon color- like a muted pink, I could have used a pinch of spinach or mint added to the beet dye to mute the pinkness some. If you notice that the icing above seems somewhat muted anyways because I started with a brownish (because of the coconut sugar) icing. Brown mutes everything- all colors interact with each other so experiment, experiment!
- There are many colors found in nature; however, when it comes to food dying I believe the lower the water content of the food, the better. Also avoid foods that oxidize easily (like bananas- they turn brown) when heated.
- Possible other foods that could be used with this recipe formula:
- Red/ pink foods- raspberries (although higher in water content), beets, red cabbage. I would not recommend using strawberries- even if ripe because they are extremely high in water content.
- Orange/ Yellow foods- turmeric (one tsp of this goes a long way without adding any kind of funky taste), lemon or orange zest.
- Green Foods- spinach, even though it has a high water content is the best I have found for turning things green, also mint.
- Brown- dates and prunes are a great source for brown
- I'm still trying to come up with ideas for blue. Purple is easier- blueberries I'm sure could do the trick.
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