Color mixing is a crucial part of the cake decorating process. Colors can breathe life into your cake, change moods, draw attention, or tell a story. Therefore, selecting the right colors and tinting your buttercream is a vital step. Consider diving into some knowledge about color theory; there is a wealth of information and examples available online. Real flowers, the colors of a vintage dress, wallpaper, gift packaging, or anything colorful can be great sources of inspiration to add vibrancy to your cake.
Here are some tips for mixing colors:
- When coloring your buttercream, make sure to do so at room temperature; otherwise, different colors may blend together.
- Use a clean needle or toothpick to pick up gel food coloring. Add a tiny bit at a time, and avoid reusing the same stick or toothpick. Alternatively, you can separate a small portion of the buttercream, tint it with a darker color, and then incorporate it back into the larger batch. This allows you to gradually control the color intensity.
- When coloring buttercream, mix the colors by hand. Even if you have a large quantity, avoid using a blender or food processor, as it could over-whip the buttercream.
- Buttercream tends to naturally darken in color over time, especially when tinted with dark shades. Therefore, wait for about 2-3 hours after preparing your buttercream before coloring.
- Prepare enough pre-colored buttercream – having a little too much is better than not having enough. You wouldn't want some parts of your cake to have mismatched colors, right?
- If you are aiming for deep colors like black, navy blue, or dark red in your buttercream, use more gel or paste food coloring. Avoid adding water or milk, as this may make your buttercream too runny. You can always add water or milk after achieving your desired color.
- If your buttercream has a yellowish tint, you can add a bit of violet or a brightening agent like Sugarflair "Superwhite." If you want a lighter color, start by whitening the buttercream before adding the desired color.
- If your mixed color appears too light, you can deepen it by adding a small amount of black, brown, or violet food coloring.
Food coloring comes in various forms, including powder, liquid, gel, and paste. Do not use powdered food coloring to tint your buttercream because it might not dissolve completely. If you're left with no other option but powdered food coloring, dissolve it in a tiny bit of water before coloring. Keep in mind that the more water you add, the lighter the color will be.
When using liquid food coloring, particularly if it comes in a squeeze bottle, it can be challenging to control the amount that comes out – especially when you only need a tiny drop. In such cases, you can start by mixing the color in a small portion of buttercream and then incorporate this small, tinted batch into the larger one. This method allows for better control over the color.
Different brands and types of food coloring gels and pastes have varying concentrations, resulting in different shades. Regardless of the brand you use, always test on a small amount of buttercream first to avoid wasting large quantities.