Imagine a world without colour. Just close your eyes and try. It is hard, isn’t it ? We live in a world of colours. The beautiful flowers, sweet fruits, birds, attract us with their myriad and brilliant colours.
Research has shown that we prefer coloured things over white, even as a child. Taking this further we started incorporating colours in our food. Take for example ‘Smarties’ and M&M. Their dazzling variety attract young and old alike.
Adding colour to food to make it more attractive is by no means unacceptable. . What is harmful are the artificial colourings. More and more research indicates a direct link between certain food colourings and Cancer, ADHD in children etc. You can read about them here, here, and here.
Saveur had an excellent article showing how natural food colours can be made using vegetables. They made pink frosting using Beets. Taking that as an inspiration I tried using carrots and Spinach leaves to make yellow and green food colours respectively.
What is coloured frostings without cupcakes? So here you go – chocolate cupcakes with coloured frostings.
A match made in heaven.
Pink food colour,
Spread 1 lb peeled beets, sliced paper thin, on a Silpat lined baking sheet and bake at 200 degrees F for 2 hours. Place dried beet slices in a food processor and puree until finely ground. Made two Tbsps.
Yellow food colour,
Follow exactly the same procedure with carrots.
Green food colour
I took two cups of Spinach leaves, and followed the same procedure. I got about one and half Tbsp of colour.
Eggless Chocolate cupcake
(Adapted from Eugenie kitchen ). Made 9 cupcakes.
All purpose flour 3/4 cup
Baking soda 1/4 tsp
Baking powder 1 tsp
Salt 1/4 tsp
Unsweetened cocoa powder 3 Tbsps
Unsalted butter, softened 3 Tbsps
Granulated sugar 1/2 cup
Pure vanilla extract 1/4 tsp
Milk 1/2 cup and extra
Yellow Buttercream frosting;
Unsalted butter, softened 1/3 cup
Icing sugar, sifted 1 cup
Yellow food colour 1 tsp
Milk, to adjust 1 or 2 Tbsps
Pistachio nuts, chopped 2 Tbsps
Preheat oven to 360 degrees F.
Sift the dry ingredients like flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder together and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, add the softened, unsalted butter and spread with a spatula. Add the granulated sugar and whisk till light and fluffy. Throw in the pure vanilla extract next and stir till combined.
Add in only a half of the sifted dry ingredients in half of milk. Whisk till homogenous. Add the remaining dry ingredients and milk. Stir again till smooth. Adjust the thickness of the batter, if needed with one or two Tbsp of milk.
Divide the batter in cupcake molds. Fill only about two thirds full. Bake for 20 mts. Once out of the oven, let them cool completely on a wire rack.
In a mixing bowl add in softened unsalted butter and spread out with a spatula. Fold in the yellow food colour that we made before. Mix till smooth. Sift in half the icing sugar and mix. Then add the remaining sugar, mix till smooth. Adjust thickness if needed with milk.
Decorate with Pastry tip. I used Wilton 22. Start piping in the middle and slowly make concentric circles until the top is covered. Garnish with chopped Pistachio nuts.
The home made food colour can be stored in plastic containers in a fridge.
Apart from colouring frostings it can also be used in other foods to accentuate the colour.