For the Love of Red Icing

How to make red icing that is ACTUALLY red!!

How do you make dark red icing? Find out here!

I've always loved red icing. For a long time, I just kind of admired it from a distance. I knew it was gorgeous, and it made me question myself. Could I DO that? Would that true, deep red understand me and accept me for who I am? Would I have to change? Would it bring the satisfaction I desperately hoped for? I bought flowers and threw them away. I was too shy to just go up and introduce myself. I stuck with some weirdy shade of pink icing that I tried to convince myself was just as good as the real thing. But I never stopped thinking about the real red icing. The kind of red icing that seems to go deeper than the cookie it is placed upon. The red that wakes you up at night and won't let you go to sleep until you promise that THIS TIME you are not going to take "no" for an answer. The kind of icing that won't let you walk away, won't let you accept defeat, and most importantly, won't be confused with PINK.

It took me a while, my friends. Sigh. Looking back, all I can see is the wasted time, the empty afternoons that could have been filled with deep red icing cookies, the happiness slipping down the drain like some forgotten, crusted over icing doomed for the dishwasher. I see a past that could have been....

But enough about me. Let's focus on you. On YOUR FUTURE. Don't make my mistakes. Don't settle for pink when what you really want is crimson...or ruby....or carmine. Don't be a fool. Don't tell yourself it couldn't happen. IT CAN HAPPEN. And it can happen TODAY!!

Seriously, I'm not kidding here. Don't walk away. Don't shake your head. Oh wait, are you shaking in laughter? Okay, this is a little awkward here. I'll just umm,  I'll just pretend I didn't see that and get kind of quiet and maybe trail off for a minute or....

Oh, HEY! I didn't see you there! Guess what I'm doing today? I'm making red icing. Come on over.

I start with regular ol' white icing.

Then I add red until its that weirdy shade of almost red, but really just still kind of pink. (Okay, maybe it really is red, and I'm just biased because I like dark red.)

Then I add brown. I use either chocolate brown, or cocoa powder. They both give about the same result -- a deeper red. Usually, I use cocoa because it makes the end result taste much better. You know, like...chocolate instead of red lake 40. (Okay, PS -- WHY do they name food coloring after a LAKE? I do NOT want to know where those dyes come from.) (I'm lying. I totally do.)

** There are people who are allergic to cocoa/chocolate. IF YOU USE COCOA to darken your red, be sure your customers are aware of this! They probably aren't expecting it in red icing.**

Sometimes I add too much brown.

So then I add a little bit of Wilton burgundy (which, for the record, is WAY closer to magenta or fuschia than burgundy. Someone should pay me to name colors. I could think of way better things to name it after than a LAKE.) to brighten it up again.


** Colored icing will darken as it sits. If you can, try to mix colors the day before you use them and stop adding color when it is 1-2 shades lighter than you will need. 

** Always use a gel or paste food color to make dark, saturated colors. They are more concentrated than liquid food coloring. 

**If you need your red to be really dark, you can also add a little bit of black and then play around with the amounts of brown and burgundy needed to even it out again.

** Worried about the flavor of all that food coloring? Here's my secret: I color the icing while it is still thick. And then I thin it down with vanilla or other flavoring. It *always* tastes amazing!! 

** Don't be afraid to experiment with different brands of red food coloring! Some of my favorite reds are blends of two different brands at the same time.

That's it. Don't be afraid. Fall in love with your own shade of deep, dark red today.


Grab some Americolor SUPER RED gel paste in the 4.5 ounce size or be brave and get the 13.5 ounce size!

Learn about the secret to "no-taste" red icing from Callye at The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle.


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