How-To: Naturally Dyed Icing


As spring gatherings begin to fill our calendars, we're digging into our recipe books with fresh-baked treats in mind. Springtime sweets call for a pop of color, so we whipped up the rainbow of icings shown above. The best part of these bright confections? They're all made with natural dyes-- no artificial coloring required! To start, use this four-ingredient recipe to make a batch of classic, white frosting.

White Frosting
1/4 cup softened butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups powdered sugar
4 Tablespoons milk

In an electric mixer, beat butter, salt, 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and 3 Tablespoons milk at medium speed until blended. Gradually add remaining powdered sugar and milk until fully combined.

Now for the colors! We've gathered our favorite natural dyes below-- simply stir into the white icing to create your color of choice. Our advice is to start with a small amount of the add-in and work your way up until you achieve the perfect shade. A little color often goes a long way, and this will help to minimize any flavor changes in the icing. 

Yellow: A puree of butternut squash adds a hint of natural sweetness and a pretty yellow hue, too.

Orange: Add a splash of carrot juice for bold orange icing. As a bonus, the juice will add an extra sweet flavor.

Red & Deep Pink: Process beets in a juicer, or boil them in a small amount of water to make a concentrated liquid that will create vibrant shades of red and pink with minimal effect on the icing's flavor.

Pale Pink: For lighter shades of pink, crush a handful of berries, strain them, and stir the juice into your icing. We like cranberries, raspberries, or strawberries.

Green: Blended basil and spinach are equally excellent for creating deep green icing. Basil will lend a savory hint to your sweets, while spinach is virtually flavorless.

Mint: Brew a batch of strong green tea to achieve a minty shade that's perfect for spring.

Purple: Boil red or purple cabbage and reduce the boiling liquid to blend a batch of purple icing.

Blue: Blue can be a difficult color to achieve naturally, but we've found that 2 Tablespoons of spirulina powder and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice make for a pretty, pale blue tint. 

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