No-Dye Red Frosting for Firetruck Cake?

The friendliest place on the web for anyone that enjoys cooking.
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

chefathome

Assistant Cook
Joined
Nov 28, 2011
Messages
44
Location
Hod HaSharon
Hello, Everyone!

I'd like to make a firetruck cake for my son's 5th birthday party, but was wondering about the red frosting/icing/cream:

I don't want to use any coloring food, coloring paste/gel, or any other artificial dyes.

Is there a way of making a natural firetruck-red for that cake?

Thanks,
Arnon
 

GLC

Head Chef
Joined
Oct 27, 2011
Messages
1,215
Location
Near Austin, Texas
You're not going to get a real firetruck red, but you can get something acceptable.

For cold process frosting, shred red beets and boil for a while in water, and let the water boil down to make an concentrated red coloring. It's difficult to get a real deep red without commercial food dyes, so let it concentrate. You might also be prepared to add some cocoa to deepen the color, but do that only in a cold stage, after the concentrate has cooled. It may not be true fire engine red to you, but a 5-year-old will accept it. You might also try making your concentrated beet liquid into a heavy syrup that you can paint on. You can do the same with blueberries if you need blue accents. Use tumeric if you need a yellow/gold.

With these natural food based colors, you can't think of it as adding color to frosting. You have to think of it as making frosting by adding to the dye, diluting the dye as little as possible while leaving it thick enough to work. So you probably will be painting on a limp red frosting and using other, thicker colors to accent.

(Do not attempt to use beet red in cake dough, like red velvet cake. The baking soda/powder raises the pH too high, and the beet red will go off to a yellow or brown color when heated in an alkaline environment.
 

chefathome

Assistant Cook
Joined
Nov 28, 2011
Messages
44
Location
Hod HaSharon
Thanks much for that advice.

I'm not sure I understood the "making frosting by adding to the dye" thing. How would I use that just-created-color if not by adding it to a frosting?

And upon using beet for a frosting - wouldn't it taste like... beet?
 

GLC

Head Chef
Joined
Oct 27, 2011
Messages
1,215
Location
Near Austin, Texas
I just meant that you want the maximum amount of color, and it might help to approach it as adding just enough powdered sugar, cream cheese, etc. to the concentrated beet juice to make a workable mixture, rather than adding color to a predetermined amount of sugar, etc. I see a lot of beet frosting that comes out kind of pink, so I think the goal is to keep it deep red by whatever means, even if it means altering your usual way of decorating a cake. For instance, maybe using a neutral base coat of frosting and painting the intense red thick syrup over that, rather than trying to make spreadable red frosting and having it go pink because of the amount of sugar or cheese.

It also occurred to me (without having tried it) that if you're just doing a picture of a fire truck on top of a flat cake, you might consider a gelled red beet juice with more than the normal amount of gelatin that would be so stable that you could pour a layer of it out into a wax paper lined sheet pan and then cut out the fire truck shape after it set and transfer it to the cake. That would probably be the purest red and would be shiny to boot. Might be hard to cut the cake, though, with an overlay of tough gel.

Regular blueberry colored frosting could then us used to draw in all the lines.
 

taxlady

Chef Extraordinaire
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Sep 13, 2010
Messages
28,360
Location
near Montreal, Quebec
I think he meant that you don't want to add it to all of your frosting. It will get too diluted and be a purply pink colour. Mix a little frosting into your homemade "dye", use that as a paint on top of the frosting with no "dye". Hmm, maybe add some dye to the bigger batch of frosting and "paint" on top of that.
 

Steve Kroll

Wine Guy
Joined
Mar 29, 2011
Messages
6,345
Location
Twin Cities, Minnesota
Concentrated Pomegranate juice, raspberry syrup, or cherry syrup should also work. I'd probably juice the pomegranate and reduce it to a simple syrup.
I was actually thinking cherry juice myself. If you macerate the cherries in some sugar and then reduce and strain it, you should be left with a dark red sauce that would make a nice base for your frosting. I would also go neutral with the cake - maybe angel food or a simple white cake. Otherwise you might end up with some flavors colliding.
 

Latest posts

Top Bottom