All Natural Food Dyes!

It's the summer time, which means we are well into our "Summer Bucket List" items. One item that I wanted to share was "make red, white, and blue cupcakes". Sounds simple enough right? Get some pre-packaged cake, some pre-made icing and a couple things of food coloring! Something about that just didn't seem right. Plus Dreux and I have been binge watching every episode of Cupcake and Cake Wars for the last two months. We've seen enough episodes to know how to make our own buttercream with fresh ingredient right? So, me being me, I set out to find the most natural way to make homemade red and blue buttercream with REAL ingredients. Simple right, WRONG!!! Oh so dang wrong! lol 

Total Project Time: About 6hrs (lol)

Project Ages: 6yrs+

So How Do You Make Blue Buttercream? 

After extensive research, it appeared that the only way to make a natural blue color was with red cabbage. Yep, you read right. Red Cabbage + baking soda! So our baking experience turned into a science experiment. LOL 


1. First, clean and chop a whole head of red cabbage


2. Place in a huge pot and cover with water and boil. It took about a good 20min

3. Then we strained all the water to separate our dye from the cabbage. (I felt super wasteful because we tossed all the cabbage but you could def put it in a stir fry and eat it! LOL) 

4. Next we placed the dye back in our pot and boiled for another hour and 15min. We were supposed to boil it down to about 1/2 cup of liquid. (Meanwhile while all this was taking place we were baking our cupcakes...and yes I opted for the box kind lol) 

While the dye was boiling, we started making our homemade buttercream. Now this was easy and I was super pleased with the taste and consistency. The recipe called for 3 cups of powdered sugar, one cup of butter. and a 2 teaspoons of milk (we used almond milk). I added a hint of vanilla extract too! Once I got the hang of the electric mixer (oh because I forgot to mention I have NEVER baked anything my whole life, outside of Tollhouse chocolate cookies) we were in business. That buttercream was creaming and looking and tasting good! We even placed them in plastic bags so we could pipe the icing. We were serious, ok! LOL Now on to the colors...


So remember the plan was to make red, white, and blue. For the red buttercream we decided to use pomegranate juice. I mixed a few teaspoons into the buttercream and mixed. I honestly have no idea how many, I just eyeballed it (LOL). We didn't get a red like we wanted, but more of a pink. Whatever, we'll go with it. It tasted yummy and it clearly wasn't white anymore so, yea! On to the blue dye we go. This is where things got a little hairy. 

Once the dye was boiled down (we actually ended up with about 3 cups because someone was impatient, ME), we set it in the fridge to cool. After a quick run to get baking soda, because Mommie SWORE that the baking powder in the pantry was baking soda and it really wasn't, the dye had cooled down enough. Now, the directions called for us to add pinches of baking soda at a time to the dye until the color began to change. We added our color to the buttercream and we got green and not blue. LOL Ok, think Mommie! Blueberries right?! Wrong! lol We just were not getting a blue like we hoped. However, after letting the buttercream sit for a few minutes, the icing started to look at little blue. It could have been our eyes hoping it was blue, but I'l let you decide. All-in-all we ended up with a very lovely (in our most astute Cupcake Wars contestant voice) "white cupcake with a fresh vanilla, pomegranate buttercream and red cabbage blueberry buttercream topped with gold sugar sprinkles!" :)

I think the colors came out cute! But def not a true red, white, and blue LOL We had fun and the cupcake was good, so I'm technically checking this off the summer bucket list! 

Before the baking soda

Before the baking soda

BLUE DYE! (after the baking soda was added)

BLUE DYE! (after the baking soda was added)

Please note my 6yo decorated these (I did the white one lol) 

Please note my 6yo decorated these (I did the white one lol)