Icing Color Tips
Paste food color is concentrated, giving vivid or deep colors without changing consistency. Add paste color to icing, in small amounts with a clean toothpick or spatula.
When making deep colors, such as black, brown, or red use paste food colors in larger amounts than normal. It can take as much as 1 ounce paste food color per one cup to obtain deep colors. Deep colors are recommended for accent colors only.
Darken and deepen
Colors deepen in buttercream icings upon setting; color icing 1 to 2 hours before decorating. Colors fade slightly in royal, boiled or Color Flow icing as they set.
Sunlight or fluorescent light will cause some colors to fade. After the cake is decorated, it is best to keep in a cool room and out of direct light.
Sometimes lemon juice or cream of tartar will cause colors to change, i.e. violet will become blue. If the recipe has one of these ingredients in it, omit it. In addition, some water (from various geographical areas) tends to cause color changes. If buttercream icing is made with water, use milk instead.
Usually, "bleeding" colors on a decorated cake is a result of improper storage. It is not recommended to ice cakes while they are still frozen, as the cake needs to "breathe" while it thaws. Allow the cake to defrost before icing to help prevent the colors from bleeding. An air tight cover on cake stored at room temperature may encourage condensation to form which can cause colors to bleed.
All deep colors in nature stain, like blueberries, but none of them are harmful. Paste colors can stain teeth and skin; however, simply washing skin area with soap and warm water will remove color. Bleach can be used on counter tops. 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 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 stain first. Proceed with lukewarm water and then allow to dry before using a commercial cleaner.
About Wilton paste colors
There are three different reds -- Christmas Red, a blue-toned red; Red-Red, an orange toned red; and Red-No Taste, a blue toned red.
It can take as much as 1 ounce of red paste color to one cup of icing to get a deep red.
When icing is colored deep red, a bitter aftertaste may be detected. Red No-Taste should be used when a large portion of red coloring is used on the cake. Red No-Taste does not contain red 3 which causes the bitter taste.
Leaf Green is a brighter green with more yellow than Kelly Green. Both of these greens require very little color, how much color added depends on the tone of the green you want.
Rose paste color will obtain hot pink with good results. Rose Petal is a soft, muted rose color. Pink is a traditional pastel with a slight yellow tone.
Royal Blue has a red tone. Sky Blue has a yellow tone.
Daffodil Yellow is an all natural food coloring and does not contain yellow #5. (Many people are allergic to this). Daffodil Yellow currently contains alcohol which all other colors do not have present.
When white buttercream is tinted dark black, it also can have a bitter taste. Use dark chocolate icing with a small amount of black color added.
Brown color occasionally has a green overtone to it. This usually occurs with the presence of acid in the icing; lemon juice or cream of tartar. Omit the acid if tinting icing brown. Also dissolving brown color in 1/4 teaspoon water before adding to icing will eliminate the green tone.
White-white is used for lightening icing that has been colored too dark. Also use it for making white buttercream made with butter or margarine.