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All About Food Coloring

Coloring agents are indispensable for some baking recipes. For example, think of beautiful colored macarons, a perfect red velvet cake, or a festive cake with fondant or marzipan. In this article, We will tell you all about the different types of dyes that are available and what you can best use them for. Before we begin I just want to share this website where you can find some useful and high-quality painting materials.

Gel dyes

These are dyes in paste form and they are available in many different colors. Gel dyes are water-based and also contain glucose syrup and a thickener. I personally use these dyes the most. They are perfect for coloring fondant, marzipan, or icing, for example, for mixing with (cake) batter or for coloring a buttercream. You can also use these coloring agents for macarons, although I prefer to use powder coloring for that. Gel dyes are – like most dyes discussed in this article – very concentrated. So start with a little bit of the food coloring and add more later if needed. I dose this dye myself with the back of a teaspoon or with a skewer. If you use the gel dye to color fondant or marzipan, wear gloves to prevent the dye from transferring to your hands. You can buy gel dyes per color or you can choose a set of gel dyes containing the most commonly used colors. You can actually mix any color you want with this collection.

Powder dyes

Powder dyes are very suitable for use in recipes that are sensitive to extra liquid. Think for example of macarons, meringue, confectionery, or in combination with isomalt. For my macaron recipe, I have tried many different types of coloring, but for the most beautiful macarons, you can really use the best powder coloring. I use this set myself always for my macarons. Powder dyes are also available in a natural variant. These are often a little less concentrated, so you need more of them to get the right color shade. Some powder colors are a bit greasy, do not use them for macarons, confectionery, or meringue. You can use it with creams or fillings. So pay close attention to powder dyes whether they are soluble in water or fat.

Liquid Dyes

Liquid dyes are usually water-based. Just like gel dye, you can use liquid dyes for fondant, marzipan, icing, (cake) batter, or cream. This dye is less suitable for macarons. An advantage of liquid dyes is that they are very easy to dose. You can easily add an extra drop at a time until you have reached the right color. A disadvantage can be that your end product becomes too moist. Especially with marzipan and fondant, adding moisture can quickly lead to a sticky end result. Liquid dye is slightly less concentrated than gel dye, making it well suited for pastel colors.

Spray dyes

These dyes come in an aerosol, so you can use them immediately. Ideal, for example, to provide a cake with a golden shine or to give a cupcake topping just a little more apparent. You can also easily provide a mousse cake with beautiful color or shine with this color spray. There are also color sprays based on cocoa butter, these give your creation extra structure in addition to a beautiful color.

Natural coloring agents

Some dyes are natural. These can be powder, liquid, and gel dyes. They are made with natural pigments of vegetable origin. A disadvantage of natural dyes is that they are less concentrated, so you have to use a little more or the color does not get as intense as you would like. Especially with macarons and red velvet cake, I notice that natural dyes often do not color well enough.