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Pfoinkle

How to Color Frosting

By: Pfoinkle
Category: Cake Decorations

When I bake and decorate a cake, I’m happiest when I don’t have to make a run to a “specialty store” for supplies. Usually, if I can’t get it at my local grocery store, I figure I don’t really need it (whatever “it” may be).

Liquid Food Coloring

McCormick's Food Coloring

McCormick's Food Coloring

I make one exception and that’s with the food coloring I use in frostings. The food colorings readily available in most U.S. groceries are McCormick’s squat plastic squeeze bottles with their pointy gnome caps. The McCormick’s food coloring is liquid, convenient, and great for many purposes, but not for getting brilliant vivid colors in a big batch of buttercream.

It’s not that liquid food coloring is bad, it’s that it’s liquid. Buttercream frostings are very sensitive to the addition of liquid and the amount of liquid coloring you would need to color a full batch of frosting would spoil the consistency of the frosting.

Gel Food Coloring

Wilton's Icing Colors

Wilton's Icing Colors

So for this one supply, I make a special trip to my local Michaels (yes, the big chain arts and crafts store) and pick up some Wilton’s Icing Colors. These food colors are a concentrated gel formula that allow you to achieve bright colors without thinning your frosting.

And they’re super easy to use — just start with a small amount added to prepared frosting and mix thoroughly. If the color isn’t dark enough or vivid enough, add (in steps) until you achieve the desired color. Some colors (blue) require less gel than others (red) to get to a full rich color. Until you’re familiar with using Wilton’s Icing Colors, start slow, add small amounts, and don’t be afraid to experiment.

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