There are some ingredients in a bakers’ cupboard that are essential to whatever he/she bakes. One of these is food colouring. Gel food colouring.
Long before I started baking, I used to read recipe books just for fun. Well, for two things. The story, and the pictures. I loved to look at the vibrant colours of fondant, buttercream and of the cake sponge itself. I used to gaze at rainbow cakes in awe. You may think I’m exaggerating, but I’m serious. The cakes looked so special.
And so came my first attempt at rainbow cake and coloured buttercream. And I kid you not, it was awful. Horrendous.
The culprit: liquid food colouring.
I mean, I don’t know why it exists (maybe just to torture unknowing bakers?). The cake layers were flat as pancakes, and the buttecream tasted sour. Sour. As much as I tried to get a good, bright colour, it was impossible. I could have tipped the entire bottle in, and still it wouldn’t have achieved the right colour. I think I actually did. Tip the bottle in, that is. So attempt no.1 was a fail.
Attempt no.2 however, was a success. Because I discovered Wilton Gel Food Colouring, in a Lakeland magazine of all places. I kid you not, this is a life saver. You use a drop. A drop. That’s it. The flavour doesn’t change and neither does the texture. And so my rainbow cake was fit for a queen. (Although I’m not sure she would eat a rainbow cake, maybe something more sophisticated. A pastel one maybe?).
Gel food colouring is the thing of dreams. I’m not exaggerating here either. It’s worth every penny. Just imagine all the vivid buttercream roses you could pipe, and all the swirls of luscious frosting on top of cupcakes. Give it a go, and you won’t ever look back. Instead, you’ll be gazing in awe at the cupcake in front of you that is topped with buttercream of a solid colour.
Here’s a couple I made earlier.
Join me next week, for another pantry essential. In the meantime, enjoy your food colours.