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Wedding Cakes - Using Food Colouring with Icing

These wedding cake questions and answers have been taken from the wedding forum.

Q. I was wondering if you have a red cake is there a food colouring to use to make the icing safe to eat? I mean is there something natural as opposed to artificial? thank you.

A. Hi Empress,

i'm assuming your asking about colouring the icing and not the cake itself???

The only thing that will give a true red colour is artifical food colouring I'm afraid. There is no natural product that will give a real red colour, unfortunately.

When colouring icing you must use a paste colour, not a liquid colour. Liquid food colouring dilutes your icing consistency and makes it very difficult to work with and also makes it too sloppy.

With Reds, Blacks, Purples and some dark blues, you need a lot of colour to get it to the right shade. This can sometimes alter the taste of the icing, leaving it a little bitter, red in particular.

The "Wilton" brand paste colour in Red comes in a "No Taste" which is perfect for colouring icing as there is no bitter taste. Wilton paste colours come in little tubs and you might need a couple per kilo of icing (depending on how deep your wanting your red to be). A tub retails for around $4-$5 depending on where you buy it. Most cake decoration supply stores will stock the Wilton brand but you might have to request (pre-order) the "no taste" red.

Just a little tip, when using a lot of red, purple, blue and black colours, rub a little copha onto your hands before you touch the colour. This will prevent some (not all) colour staining your hands and looking as if you've been hand painting with your two year old cousin. You might have to re-apply. If you do get a lot of staining, some decorators swear by cleaning your hands with toothpaste but I've never had to. Otherwise of course there is always those trusty little disposable rubber gloves but you may get a rubber taste in your icing - up to you I suppose.

Good luck!

Follow up questions and answers

Empress wrote:
Hi, thanks for your reply. Yes I meant the icing, not the cake itself! Sounds pretty nasty.. hmm.. I might have to give the red cake a miss and go for paler hues.

Hi Empress,

You could always have a practice run. There is no harm in trying and a red cake for your wedding would look very striking. definitely would have a huge presence in the room and a talking point with all of your guests.

Please don't let a bit of red stained hands throw you off. Give it a go!

Good luck

Empress wrote:
Hi again, I'm not actually making the cake myself! I have no idea how to make cakes

We have a cake decorator we're going to consult with closer to our wedding date but I was always curious about the red icing thing. Thanks.

Hi Empress,

Me again. If your looking at having a coloured cake compared to a traditional white or ivory, you'll have to expect to pay extra for a cake decorator to colour the icing. It takes a lot of work to knead in the colour properly so it doesn't look as if it's a marbled effect. When you see your cake decorator as he/she if they could give you a quote with red icing and one without red icing (white icing). That way you'll be able to see if the colour thing is within your budget before you completely decide against it. It's your porogative to ask as many questions and ask for a few prices on different designs. That way it gives you a few options with each decorator you see.



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