Natural Coloring & Flavoring Alternatives for Cakes
Cakes are good for almost any occasion, from birthdays and graduations to anniversaries. With today’s recipes and online tutorials, it is easier than ever to bake delicious and professional quality cakes right in your kitchen at home.
However, many online recipes rely on artificial flavorings and colorings to enhance the taste and the appearance of their cakes. While this may result in cakes that look and taste good, artificial flavorings and colorings can carry hidden health risks. Consider using natural methods of flavoring and coloring your cakes in order to minimize any health impact and maximize enjoyment.
Naturally Color Cakes with Fruit and Vegetables
One of the easiest ways to add bold colors to your homemade cakes is by using naturally vibrant fruits and vegetables. Just think about the diversity of color you see in the produce section of your local grocery store!
For vibrant pink coloring, you can use beets; for vibrant purple, blueberries are a great choice; and for green, choose spinach! You can also use the below method for any other kind of vegetable:
Blend about ½ cup of your preferred, cooked ingredient (carrots, raspberries, blackberries, etc.) with water, then strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer for an all-natural coloring. It’s as simple as that. You can include more of the coloring ingredient for a darker color, or more water for a lighter color – experiment to get the concentration you desire.
Flavoring Cakes with Essential Oils
Essential oils are plant-derived oils that carry the scent and/or flavor of that plant. Diffused into the air, they are a popular method of making an area smell good. They can also be used to add flavoring to cakes and other baked goods without using artificial flavorings. However, there are things to be aware of before using essential oils to flavor foods.
Essential oils are not regulated by the FDA, and so are not evaluated for safety or effectiveness. While they can be a great way to flavor cakes naturally, be aware that not all oils are safe for ingestion. Here are a some that you can use safely for sure:
Lemon essential oil is popular choice for energizing, fruity cakes. Sweet orange is also a popular choice.
Peppermint is also a popular choice for the holidays! Consider making peppermint-flavored cupcakes as a holiday treat. Spearmint works just as well for a sweeter mint flavor.
Because essential oils are strong, just one or two drops is enough for flavoring frosting. For a full-size cake, between two and four drops is sufficient, depending on how strong you want the flavor to be.