Color is as important to your cake as choosing the decorations and flavor of the cake. Choosing the appropriate color
will help establish or coordinate with the theme for your occasion. Below you will find information and helpful hints
to assist you with coloring your icing.
Use a paste or powder icing color. Paste or powder icing color is designed for coloring
icing. They are concentrated, giving vivid or deep colors without changing the consistency of your icing. Using food colors
not only will thin your icing, but will limit your color options. If your icing consistency changes, you may have difficulty
in piping some decorations.
Mixing Color In Icing
If you are using an icing color paste, insert a toothpick through the foil cover, then swirl the toothpick
into the icing. Leaving the foil cover on the jar will extend the life of your paste. Add small amounts of color at a time,
using a fresh toothpick each time, until you have the desired color. If you are using red, royal blue, black, brown, or
orange, you can remove the foil cover and use the tip of a knife to add the paste to your icing. Clean the knife blade before
inserting into the jar to add more color. Use a spatula to blend the color, making sure the color is evenly distributed. Royal
icing requires more color than buttercream icing to achieve the same color intensity.
To keep the color consistent on the cake, mix enough of any one icing color for the entire cake. It is difficult to match
the same shade of color again.
When making deep colors, such as black, brown, red, orange or royal blue, use paste food colors in larger
amounts than normal. It can take as much as 1 oz. paste food color per one cup to obtain deep colors. Deep colors are recommended
for accent colors only.
When icing is colored deep red, a bitter aftertaste may be detected. Wilton No-Taste Red should be used when a large portion of
red coloring is used on the cake, such as for flowers and borders. Wilton No-Taste Red does not contain red 3 which causes the
When white buttercream is tinted dark black, it also can have a bitter taste. Instead add black paste food color to dark
Colors deepen in buttercream icings after setting or exposure to light. Color your icing 1-2
hours before decorating. Colors might fade slightly in royal, boiled or Color Flow icing after they have set.
Lemon juice or cream of tartar can cause colors to change, for example, violet will become blue. If the recipe has one
of these ingredients in it, omit it. In addition, water can cause color changes depending upon your geographical area. If
buttercream icing is made with water, replace some of the water with milk or milk powder.
Brown color occasionally has a green overtone to it. This usually occurs with the presence of acid in the icing, such as lemon
juice or cream of tartar. Omit the acid if tinting icing brown. Dissolving brown color in 1/4 teaspoon water before adding
to icing will eliminate the green tone.
By stacking different shades of tinted icing in your bag, you can achieve a marble effect to your decorations.
Bag Striping Effects
To achieve a two-tone effect, add a different color on the side of the bag before you put in your tinted icing.
This way, you can create flowers with light and dark tones or create a clown with striped shirt and trousers.
Produces more intense multi-colors because it is done with icing color brushed directly on the side of a bag.
Apply one or more stripes of icing color to the sides of the bag with a decorating brush, then fill the bag with white or tinted
icing. Your decorations will come out striped.
Produces two-tone and realistic flowers and figure piping. Use a spatula to strip the side of a decorating bag
with tinted icing. Fill the bag with white or a contrasting shade of icing. Your decorations will consist of soft contrasts.
White-white is used for lightening icing that has been colored too dark. White buttercream made with butter
or margarine can be whitened with white-white paste food color.
Paste colors can stain teeth, skin and clothing. Washing the area with soap and warm water will remove color
from skin and clothing. Bleach can be used on counter tops to remove stains.
Lukewarm water should be used first to spot stained color. Rinse thoroughly, allow to dry. If color is still visible use
a commercial cleaner on the garment, carpet, upholstery, etc. In the case of a color that has Red 3 as an ingredient use an
acid such as vinegar or lemon juice to soak the stain first. Continue with lukewarm water and allow to dry before using a