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Why You Should Always Use Gel Food Coloring For Vibrant Buttercream

cupcakes with colorful icing
cupcakes with colorful icing - Ruthblack/Getty Images

Having a dependable buttercream frosting recipe in your arsenal is a must for creating delicious and beautiful-looking baked goods. If you really want your cakes and cookies to pop, you can also use food coloring to dye buttercream with all sorts of vibrant shades. Most home bakers are familiar with liquid food coloring, but may not know that better alternatives are available in this day and age. For coloring buttercream, gel-based dyes are the way to go.

Using a gel-type food coloring ensures that your buttercream retains its luscious, thick texture, whereas liquid-based dyes can cause the icing to become overly watery. Gel products are also very potent, which means you can use a relatively small amount to create stunning shades that look as good as they taste. This both stretches the amount of product, helping you save money, while allowing you to include slightly less dye in your desserts overall.

On that note, if you have concerns about food coloring's impact on your health, Healthline states that there's very little evidence of an increased risk of disease or other ill effects from consuming food dyes. Food coloring is not harmful when consumed by healthy individuals, but it's understandable that some of us prefer to consume them in moderation. Gel colorings help you accomplish that goal with ease.

Read more: Cake Hacks Every Baker Will Wish They Knew Sooner

How To Use Gel Food Coloring Effectively

cook stirring food coloring into frosting
cook stirring food coloring into frosting - New Africa/Shutterstock

One advantage of gel-based food coloring is how concentrated it is, which is key to creating an eye-catching buttercream frosting. It can be frustrating to empty a whole bottle of liquid coloring into your buttercream, and still end up with a lackluster color. Gel solves this issue, but its strength also makes it easy to overuse. It's best to add gel colorings in small increments at a time. By starting with just one or two drops of color and observing the shade as you add more, there's a lower risk of color mishaps, such as ending up with a deep red when you wanted pink.

Also, you'll want to make note of how many drops of coloring you add to the frosting, so you can replicate that same shade if you need to. You should also know how to make new shades by combining gel colors. Basic color theory is almost all you need. Combining blue and yellow gels will create green, while blue and red create purple.

Dark purple, brown, or even black colorings can make a color deeper and more muted, but this can be trickier to achieve. You should reserve small portions of buttercream for experimenting with color formulas, rather than dyeing your entire batch and hoping it turns out okay. Now that you know how to use the dye effectively, you should also be aware of the proper storage method for gel colorings.

Tips On Storing Food Coloring Gels

four bottles of food dye
four bottles of food dye - Michelle Lee Photography/Shutterstock

Few food coloring gels come with expiration dates, so you can keep bottles for an extended period of time without concerns about food safety. However, their quality can decrease over time, which may affect the color and consistency of the gel. Storing food coloring correctly can extend its lifespan and ensure you're satisfied when it's time to whip up a colorful frosting for your baked goods.

You should always consult the packaging of a product for specific storage information, but keep in mind that most gel food dyes do not require refrigeration. Instead, place bottles in your pantry, provided that the area is cool, dry, and safeguarded against light exposure. High heat, humidity, and sunlight are likely to affect the quality of food colorings.

Additionally, make sure all your bottles of coloring are completely closed before storage, in order to reduce air exposure. With these helpful tips, you can mix up buttercream in pretty much any hue you can think of, without worrying that its texture will break or turn liquidy. Whether you choose pink, blue, or even two-tone buttercream, gel is sure to get the job done with no sweat.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.