How to color Homemade Fondant – Cake Decorating Basics
The world of fondant can be very colorful and overwhelming when you have to do it yourself. Today’s tip Thursday shares some helpful tips on how to color homemade fondant. Well, you can use these tips to color any fondant commercial or homemade. These tips will help you save some heartache, mess, and stress whether you want to color a pastel pink or a deep dark blue.
One big disadvantage of homemade sugar paste is obtaining bright colors especially dark colors such as red and black. But there are always tips and trick to go around it. When I started cake decorating I almost exclusively used homemade fondant for all my cakes. I love playing with colors and trying new interesting colors on my fondant cakes. So often, I get people ask me,’ how do you get such deep colors with homemade fondant?
Well, one of my big tips for you, if you do use homemade fondant often, is to plan your cakes and fondant. I make small batches of fondant in the color I need. Which is why my homemade fondant recipe is never more than 1 kg max. My most popular homemade fondant from scratch actually makes me only about 600 grams in winter and about 700 grams in summer. Which means I can color it right at the time I need it.
Over the years working with fondant I have learned a few tips and tricks – some the hard way by making my own mistakes and some from forum chats and online browsing. Here are a few that I think you will find useful.
How to color Homemade Fondant (Save/Pin)
- Always use edible gel food colors for coloring fondant. This will not make your fondant too soft in consistency because they are very concentrated in color.
- If possible use powder colors – do not add powder directly into the sugar paste. Instead, add color to a dab of veg shortening to get it moist then add into the paste. This will blend in easily and not leave any dark specks or grains.
- If you don’t have gel food colors – you can use liquid color at the beginning of the recipe by simply reducing the original quantity of liquid in the recipe
- Gel food color will intensify over time so if you color it ahead of time. If you want you can make one shade lighter and keep it for a few days. That way you won’t have to add more white or use too much gel in the first place.
- Gel colors can dye your hands so it’s best to use gloves when coloring fondant. Rubbing veg shortening on your gloved hands will help.
Personally, I find working with gloves really difficult especially with sticky fondant so I tend to work with fondant by just rubbing my hand with vegetable shortening then washing them clean with a cream based cleaning detergent.
- When making dark colors from scratch such as red, black, dark blue
It helps to reduce the glycerin in the recipe by 50% or more.. add colors to your wet ingredients before you add powder sugar so the color will blend well.
Reducing glycerin will prevent the paste from becoming too soft to work with. If necessary you can always add more glycerin later to soften the fondant as needed. Most often I don’t need any.
- Colors such as red, black are always a necessity, make more than you need. Store the balance in the fridge so they are always handy. Sometimes these dark colors can be used to deepen or make other shades. For example, a golf size ball of deep red when added to 1 kg white fondant can give you the pretties rose pink color.
The cake below is a great example of how colors deepen over time. You can see the same cake has changed from one color to another from the time I covered it with fondant and then did a brush embroidery pattern. This was over a period of 48 hours. Not all colors are affected like this. Some colors stay true much longer while others fade to a lighter shade too. Honestly, different brands work differently too! So its’ hard to give specific guidelines.
Making some fondant colors are easier than others, for example (save/pin)
How to make Black Fondant
Using white fondant as a bade is not really the best way to make black fondant. Why? To achieve a deep black color you will need to add LOT of black gel color which unfortunately may change the consistency of the fondant making it too soft to work with. It may end up being less elastic and breakable. So, the best way to make black is to use brown as a base. So make a brown fondant and then tint it black. Better yet, make or buy a chocolate fondant which is naturally brown and then add black gel color.
How to make Gray Fondant
You would think that to make gray fondant, you can simply add a touch of black. Guess what? doesn’t always work like that. Often if you add black to white you end up with a lavender or a moss green kinda color. Why? because black gel food color is made with a combination of red blue green. So whichever pigment is stronger will be shown on the fondant.
How to make a deep purple color fondant.
Personally, I prefer to airbrush a purple. Why? Purple has the tendency to go blue over time. But an airbrushed purple, violet, lavender do actually stay true. If you cannot airbrush another way to keep purple for a long time is to add a touch of pink or red. I highly recommend adding the color ahead of time and then giving it enough time to rest. That way you are better able to adjust the color before you cover the cake. Recently, some of the girls in a cake decorating forum adding baking soda to the fondant along with the color and it helps keep the share more purple but I have not tried it and can’t remember the details so can’t recommend it either.
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Have you tried any of my Fondant Recipes yet?
- Most popular – The Best Homemade Fondant from Scratch made with whipping cream – yup you heard me.. whipping cream and butter – it’s yum compared to most other fondants and had good flexibility.
- A marshmallow fondant uses 2 main ingredients and is just as easy to make an use.
- If you plan to make a cake that needs brown fondant then perhaps make a chocolate fondant, that way you can skip the process of coloring and it’s chocolate. Who doesn’t like chocolate? Of course, I do have who brown fondant recipes for you one made with chocolate marshmallow fondant.
- Similarly, if you need a black I would rather make a black fondant from scratch than go about adding just colors. You do need a lot and the end result is a very soft fondant.
- And then there is a vegetarian fondant which works for those who do not want any dairy or can’t have gelatin.
- If you use homemade fondant often, you may like to check out the
other Homemade Fondant Recipes I have for you