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Food Colouring for Baked Goods?

Asked by JetteGoldie. Answered on 9th November 2011

Full question

Hi, I have some wonderful silicon cupcake moulds in the shape of roses and I wanted to bake some rose shaped cupcakes, with rose water essence to give them a floral scent/taste and add some food colouring to make them a red or pink colour. Unfortunately when I try it the rose essence works fine, but the food colouring (a cheap supermarket own brand food colour) isn't working - the cakes come out sort of a brown. I can only suppose that the colour is ok for icing but not baking - but there must be a food colour that works when baked for the Red Velvet cake recipes.

Our answer

Unfortunately liquid food colour can be a little difficult for baking as the colour is not that strong and the colour will change slightly as the cupcake bater bakes. Even for red velvet cakes the batter goes from a fairly bright red to a more maroon colour as the cakes bake. We would suggest switching to a food colour paste. These are significantly stronger than the liquid colours and will give a much more intense colour. Nigella suggests Wilton's "Christmas Red" food colouring paste for her red velvet cupcakes.

However to get a good red or pink colour you will probably still need to add a generous amount of the paste and some of them do carry a slightly bitter taste. So for these particular cakes you may prefer to use Wilton's Red (not taste) food colour paste which can be used in larger quantities. It is slightly difficult to get in the UK but there is a link below to a supplier and in the US it can be bought direct from the Wilton website. Failing this, Sugarcraft make a Red Extra paste that is very intense and can be used in smaller quantities. This is available from many UK sugarcraft websites and we have included an example in the link below.

UK Wilton Red (no taste)

UK Sugarflair Red Extra

US Wilton

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