Today I'm testing three natural food colours that will get you at least to deep "pink" & two standard food colours that will take you all the way to red if desired.
Clockwise; Queen All Natural Rainbow Food Colours Cherry Pink, Herbies Beetroot Powder, Wilton Red (no taste) gel colour, Americolor Holiday Red gel colour, fresh raspberries.
I started with five bowls, each containing a half cup of glace icing & was aiming to produce "pink".
1. Beetroot (Beet) powder, I dissolved 1/8 tsp of the powder in 1 tsp of boiling water. Even though the beet powder had a strong beet aroma you can't taste the powder used in small quantities, pretty deep colour resulted but it does leave tiny flicks of residue in the icing.
2. Wilton, like Americolor produces a range of pinks and reds, today I tested their red (no taste), by using a skewer tip dipped into the colour pot of concentrated gel paste, a tiny tint of orange at this stage however it does produce quite a nice red as you add more.
3. Americolor Holiday Red, okay your not going to be using this to get to pink, the resulting orange is from one drop of the concentrated gel paste colour. You can to get to an intense Santa red colour by adding more drops.
4. I crushed 5 raspberries and put them through a fine sieve. With a pretty deep pink colour & raspberry flavour it makes it a good choice for a natural colouring agent. However, there is fine flicks of residue that may worry some decorators. By adding more raspberry puree you can obtain quite an intense colour.
5. For the first lot of icing to be coloured I used 8 drops of Queen cherry pink natural colour, this is cochineal based colour in liquid form. Cochineal is the colouring I grew up with, it is derived from female scale insects so isn't suitable for vegetarians, vegans, or those that feel a bit squirmy about insects! End result a soft pink colour.
*Tip Americolor produces several reds & a range of pinks in their colour range. Beware choosing colours off any brands colour charts, it's like choosing your hair colour off a colour wheel, they "represent" the colour but are not the true colour.
The deep pink and the dusty rose in the Americolor range are both nice but do have a slight orange hue, for a true pink try their Electric Pink. Examples of frostings I have made using two of them below...
Americolor Electric Pink to produce a "true pink".
Americolor Dusty Rose is nice, but does have a slight orange hue.
What do I use? For pink, I like raspberry puree when natural icings and frostings are called for & the raspberry compliments the flavour. Americolor Electric Pink for that lolly pink colour. For red, Wilton Red no taste is a good all-rounder & the "no taste" is important when you have to add a lot of colour to produce the correct shade.
Stockists: Queen supermarkets nationwide (Australia), Americolor cake decorating stores, online at Bakers Nook (US & international shipping) Wilton cake decorating stores, online at Bakers Nook (US & international shipping) Herbies Beetroot powder from Gourmet Shopper (Australia) Cake Deco (Australia) also carries Wilton & Americolor gel pastes.