Using food coloring for cakes can make every dessert that you choose to make more interesting and special. If you have no experience with food coloring, want to learn how to make different colors with food coloring and create an interesting food coloring combination or see where to buy food coloring, the following tips for coloring cake batter are bound to come in handy. Let’s dive in so that your next cake can amaze everyone who gets to try it.  

7 Useful Tips for Coloring Cake Batter

1. Start with a Small Amount at First

Just like with many other things, it’s always easier to add more food coloring if necessary than to deal with the situation where your batter is too dark. It’s not impossible to lighten up your mixture, but it’s definitely more challenging and time-consuming compared to simply going in lightly from the very start. That said, regardless of whether you want to use just one shade or plan to create a food coloring combination, mix in the tiniest amount initially so that you can easily see whether any further adjustment is needed.

2. It Takes a Bit of Time for the True Color to Show Up

Food coloring for cakes is pretty similar to other colors and paints you’d otherwise use for different projects in the sense that it won’t show its final shade immediately. Essentially, it takes about 10 to 15 minutes for the color to completely set and darken. In case you’re coloring the fondant, it’s extremely important to remain patient and wait for the end result to show. It can be too easy to keep adding the coloring just to end up with, let’s say, a bright pink cake instead of a pastel one. What’s more, if you plan to make your cake matchy-matchy with some other details, make it a point to stop about two shades before the perfect match and then wait for the true color to develop.

3. Not All Food Colors Are the Same

When you’re looking to purchase food coloring for the first time, you might feel a bit overwhelmed learning that there are actually several different types available. They are not all the same in terms of effect and usage, which is why it will help you a lot to know what you’re looking for beforehand, especially if you’re interested in the matter of how to make different colors with food coloring. Namely, the 5 main types include natural coloring, powdered coloring, gel food coloring, liquid food coloring, and liquid gel coloring.

Natural food coloring

If you’re looking to avoid synthetic food coloring for cakes, your best bet is to go the natural route. Essentially, natural food coloring is completely plant-based. Keep in mind though that this also means that the end shade result is going to be a bit dull compared to other types available.


Powdered food coloring

In case you want to use powdered food coloring, be prepared for a rather limited number of available shades. Also, these are better for experienced bakers as going overboard with powder can turn your batter and/or fondant dry. If you still want to use powdered colors for your cake and wonder where to buy food coloring of this type, your best bet is to search online.

Gel food coloring

Gel food coloring is very beginner-friendly. As the name suggests, these colors have a gel-like consistency due to the high content of corn syrup or glycerine. Their biggest advantage is the fact that they don’t alter the consistency of the batter/fondant and provide amazingly vibrant results shade-wise.

Liquid food coloring

Liquid food coloring also yields vibrant shades, but due to their liquid consistency, they’re not recommended for amateur use. Essentially, adding too much colored liquid to the mix can thin out the batter/fondant and, as a result, ruin the whole cake.

Liquid gel food coloring

With a honey-like consistency, liquid gel food coloring is a mix between the liquid and gel. This type of food coloring is used most often as it allows for creating a cool food coloring combination and it’s readily available at stores.

4. How to Make Different Colors with Food Coloring

It’s not uncommon to mix different food colors in order to get the ideal shade, especially when it comes to fondant. What’s more, if it happens that you simply don’t have the color you need, you might not have to rush out to the store to buy it at all if you have the right shades for the mix. That said, consider the following guidelines for effective mixing:

  • Pink – using the smallest amount of red color will appear pink in the end
  • Mint – add a bit of green color to get a soft shade and then proceed to mix in a small amount of baby/sky blue
  • Sepia – if you want a sepia shade, start by creating a soft cream color and then add the desired shade
  • Purple – use equal amounts of blue and red in the mix
  • Orange – use equal amounts of yellow and red in the mix
  • Green – use equal amounts of yellow and blue in the mix
  • Brown – use equal amounts of yellow, blue, and red in the mix


5. Color Your Cake Without Food Coloring

In case you’re not interested in store-bought food coloring, even the natural type, you can always utilize the following tips for coloring cake batter:

  • Beet – mixing in grated beet to your cake can yield a nice reddish shade
  • Pomegranate juice – If you want pastel or vibrant pink shade for your glaze, it’s possible to use freshly squeezed pomegranate juice
  • Edible petals – Flower petals that are edible and naturally vibrant in color can also be used in frosting mixes to add a pop of color to the cake

6. Natural Light Provides the Most Accurate View

It’s important to let plenty of natural lighting inside your kitchen when making your cake and adding food coloring. Essentially, natural light is the key to viewing the shade the most accurately. Even though it’s necessary, relying only on artificial lighting can make it seem like your shade is more yellow and duller than it really is.

7. The Best Mixing Technique to Use

Depending on the materials you’re using or the part of the cake you want to color, you’ll have to adjust your mixing technique a bit.

  • Fondant – create a well in the material and add some coloring; proceed to fold the fondant over on itself until the coloring is perfectly fused
  • Buttercream – add a tiny amount of food coloring to your buttercream alongside other extracts/flavorings and mix
  • Icing – prepare your plain batches of icing and only then proceed to add the coloring while monitoring the consistency

In case you’re interested in sprucing up the look of your famous tasty cakes, there’s no better – and easier – way to do precisely that than by adding food coloring. For all of your baking needs, you’re welcome to get in touch with us at Medina Baking & Powder Supply. It’s our goal to support home bakers and restaurants every step of the way. We provide affordable, reliable, and fast service across South Florida, South and Central America, and the Caribbean.