Ever wonder how those chefs create beautiful, colorful cake masterpieces? We’ve all seen the videos of incredible rainbow cakes and seemingly gold-plated pastries. Well, we have the scoop. Those great feats were not achieved without careful planning and extensive knowledge of food coloring mixtures. But, have no fear because we are here to blow the lid on their secrets.
If you want to bake a cake with vibrant colors like the big bosses, you’ll want to check out these tips.
1. Baby steps
This is the first crucial step to using food coloring for cakes or any other pastry masterpiece you are creating. Start mixing colors in small amounts to achieve the color you want. It’s much easier to add color than it is to subtract. Always remember that color develops over time. So, when tinting fondant, for example, it’s best to let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes and check to see how much the color has darkened. Due to this invisible chemical process, it’s best to stop coloring a shade or two before you need to.
Does this process seem tedious and time-consuming? Perhaps, but it is a whole lot quicker and simpler than starting all over again. So, take your time in achieving the color you are looking for and your cake will thank you for it!
2. Powdered, natural, liquid, and gel colors, oh my!
Just giving a heads up before you dive in head first — different types of food coloring are on the market. Not to complicate things, but it’s a good idea to know which one will work best with your baking project.
- If you are interested in powdered food coloring, be aware that it will be more difficult to find, but not impossible. Luckily, you can find them on our website, so you won’t have to go far! Also, powdered colors are limited, so you’ll have to mix and adjust colors from scratch. Be mindful of the amount of powder added to your cake mixture, since too much can dry out the recipe.
- Going all natural has so many benefits! Not only are they a good and healthy option for pastry creations, but they are also infused with vitamins.
- Some options include beet juice, ground turmeric, pure carrot juice or powder, blueberry juice or powder, and spirulina or spinach powder. If you’re looking to avoid synthetic colors, plant-based colors are best — but can be dull. Be aware that they won’t be the best option for the rainbow cake.
- Gel or paste coloring is vibrant and versatile. Since they contain glycerine or corn syrup, they have a thicker consistency. Their concentration makes them perfect for batters and colorful creations.
- Liquid gel coloring has a different consistency but is just as effective. Most are familiar with liquid coloring that comes in miniature bottles and is typically very watery. These are not effective in making cakes since they can cause your cake not to rise.
3. Know the formula
Now that you have a handle on the types of food coloring available, you should familiarize yourself with how to create the colors you want. When making your masterpiece, you’ll need to create custom tints if the product is not on hand.
Knowing the formulas to mix the colors you want will help you get the effect you want. We’ll start you with the basics:
- Green: equal amounts of blue and yellow
- Purple: equal amounts of red and blue
- Pink: small amount of red
- Brown: equal amounts of red, blue, and yellow
- Orange: equal amounts of red and yellow
4. Mixing technique
There is a technique involved in mixing the perfect colors for your cake. It depends on what materials you are working with and your own personal preference.
When using fondant or gum paste, its best to fold the color until its incorporated. If you’re working with buttercream, add small amounts of food coloring at a time to prevent air bubbles. When using royal icing, it’s best to mix up batches of white royal icing and tinting it before adding the mixture to piping bags.
The joys of making your first rainbow cake are getting closer. Before getting started, consider the base colors of the material you are working with when applying tint. This will certainly impact the end result.
Be sure to take a look at our website for our vast supply of powdered, natural, liquid, and gel food coloring mixtures. If you’re not sure what to use, give us a call and we’ll be your guide to colorful cake heaven. Until next time, happy baking!