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FooD Coloring - HELP

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COLOR MATCHING: For color matching, as with wedding cakes, watch the lighting, especially fluorescent lights. Fluorescent lighting makes colors look a different shade than they really are. Its easiest to mix your icing in the daytime with these kind of lights.

FOR TRUER PURPLES: For truer purples, use milk to make your buttercream icing. Otherwise, purple buttercream flowers turn to a tint of blue as they crust.

MIXING COLORS: All colors are derived from only 3 colors: RED, YELLOW and BLUE. A combination of equal parts of RED, YELLOW and BLUE equal BLACK. That doesn't mean the SAME amount of each color. It does mean the same STRENGTH of each. If you end up with an off-color, just add a bit more of one or the other. It is not always as easy to achieve the exact shade of color you desire by mixing a combination of colors. I prefer to buy pink or purple colors, etc. already prepared to what I need.

IT'S STRONG: Our food coloring is highly concentrated, so you need very little for pastels. It is easiest to control if you mix the coloring with a small amount of icing and mix [only] what you need into the batch.

RED: Some people think it is hard to get icing a deep red. Some coloring is not as strongly concentrated as another. If you use SUPER red, you will find you will not need to use as much to achieve the same shades. As above, I use Baker's Preferred. But you must stop 2 shades too light. The color will deepen as the icing sits. If you add too much your roses will have black edged petals!

BITTER TASTE: Deeply colored icing sometimes tastes slightly bitter. (Red especially). There are several solutions to this problem.
1. Use powdered food coloring.
2. Mix the coloring into the icing and let it set for 1-2 days before using. (Color will also deepen after a few hours or days).
3. Use it a s a trim color, not solid shells.
4. Use Baker's Preferred...it doesn't take so much!

FADING COLORS: Any icing tinted with food coloring will fade if left in the sun or under fluorescent lighting for any period of time. That's why you shouldn't make flowers for your cakes too far ahead.. Buttercream has a tendency to turn "gray" looking after a week or so. I use royal icing when I really need true color. But roses made with royal icing aren't very edible. They dry too hard.

GREENS: What shade of green to use? This depends on the occasion. LEAF green is great for Christmas green. MOSS (sometimes called 'Avocado'), is used whenever you want a color similar to actual plant color. KELLY green is a nice "all around" green to use. It looks nice when rich-dark shades are desired. I like to mix willow green with leaf green for a nicer color...too much blue in willow and too much yellow in leaf green. As a "rule" if you are using soft pastel flowers, then use a pale shade of green leaves. If you are using deep-rich colors, use a deeper shade with the leaves.

BROWNS: If you are coloring a large area on a cake, it may be better to use powdered cocoa instead of food coloring at all. People expect CHOCOLATE when they see lots of brown icing. Don't disappoint them! The cost will be relatively the same. Just add the cocoa until icing is the shade of brown desired. Also add water to thin the icing back to the consistency you need to work with. It tastes like old fashioned fudge.

MATCHING BLUES: Many shades of blue food coloring are available, but almost never just the right shade you need. The biggest problem may be in matching icing flowers to the wedding ornament.

PASTEL BLUE: Using royal or sky blue will not usually achieve a really true blue....the blue of an ornament at least The only thing to do is add purple until it turns the right shade. The easiest way is to add purple icing DO NOT USE straight food coloring. It won't take a lot, so be careful.

ROYAL BLUE is not exactly the color of the royal blue food coloring either. You may need to add more red OR purple. Of course it will require more color for the dark royal blue than the Paste above, so you can use straight food coloring instead of colored icing in this case.

COLORS BLEEDING: Though I really haven't had too much problem with this I read about it on the message board a lot. I think, when cakes are covered really tight, the colors stay moist and blend together. The icing is your 'lid' and you don't need to cover it tightly. Though powdered coloring is guaranteed not to bleed, it isn't easy to mix in.
 

To get a satin finish I use lustre powders from Orchard or Squires
Kitchen (I prefer the Orchard Products) and dipping solution. There
are some nice sheen powders like "Mother of pearl", "String of pearl"
and various colours.

The sugarpaste once applied to the cake has got to dry for a day or
two. Put about a teaspoon of dipping solution (also called iso propyl
alcohol) in a small clear bowl. Add lustre powder and mix well until
the powder dissolves. You have to work very quickly as the solution
evaporates in no time. Use a thick flat brush and apply to the
sugarpaste surface.  Brush the colour on only once. Leave to dry and
reapply until you get a lovely sheen. Do not reapply if the surface
is still wet.  The problem with this method is that the solution
evaporates and leaves the powder behind and therefore you have to be
careful otherwise you can mark the sheen easily.

Another method I use is a very very weak solution of glaze diluted
with glaze cleaner. You have to work even faster with this method but
will give a better sheen. Once it dries on the cake, it does not
smudge at all. Do not use expensive brushes for this work as they get
ruined. Clean the brushes in glaze cleaner as water definitely ruins
them.

The rules on the use of Non Toxic Dusts/Powders is - that you may
use it on a item which can be removed from the cake ie
flowers/placques. This item must be removed before the cake is cut
(consummed). You may not use Non Toxic Dust/Powders for painting
directly on to a cake.