natural food coloring

i love my Americolor Gel Colors and have never considered anything else, until a friend asked if i ever use natural colors from fruits and veggies to decorate cakes, that really got me thinking…as i’m always down for a good experiment i started doing some reading online to see how other people use natural food colors. i found this post on nourishingjoy.com with instructions for different ingredients including pictures showing the results.

i borrowed a friend’s juicer to make carrot, red cabbage, blueberry, and parsely juice then got to coloring! i started out with unflavored, pure white american buttercream as a base; unflavored so i would get a sense for what additives would add a really strong flavor. i used beet juice and blueberry juice for pink, carrot and paprika each made orange, tumeric powder for yellow, parsely juice for green, red cabbage juice + baking soda for blue, red cabbage juice for purple, activated charcoal for black, and cocoa powder for brown.

beet juice was definitely the easiest, needing only a few drops to get a deep pink color with no added flavor. blue was the most fun, i was skeptical at first that adding baking soda would turn the bright purple, but after a few minutes of mixing…voila, science! purple tasted the worst, would need A LOT of flavor to cover up that one (also my kitchen smelled terrible because i boiled it down to get a more concentrated syrup), the charcoal was by far the weirdest and messiest, but made black icing which was neat.

this was just my first foray into natural colors and gel colors will continue to be my standby for most colors, but this experiment got me thinking about incorporating more natural coloring into my everyday baking…

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