Well, since we've decided to stop flooding our bodies with all sorts of chemicals, including artificial dyes, I thought our dessert-life would be a bit bland. SO NOT TRUE! Not with the discovery of homemade food coloring :) Yes, using only natural food sources, you, too, can have colorful cupcakes like the ones pictured below. Here's how I went about it:
Red Cabbage Food Coloring:
Red cabbage can be used to make not one, but four different colors! I simply boiled a head of red cabbage (cut up) until it was cooked through (this serves two purposes, since we also ate the cabbage for dinner). Then, I took the remaining purple-colored water in the pan and boiled it down until it was reduced by half, and there's the dye. No, it does NOT make the food taste like cabbage. I promise. One thing I might to differently is boil it down even more to make the color more concentrated and thus, give a darker hue to the food. I had to use a fair amount for the frosting I made, and it watered it down, so I had to add more powdered sugar, which diluted the color, so I think a more concentrated liquid would equal a more vibrant color. I'll work with this.
Now, one you've got it boiled down, you can change the color of the liquid by adding an acid or base to it. Just add a little vinegar to make it pink. Add a small amount of baking soda to make it blue, and add a larger amount of baking soda to make it green. Leave it alone for purple. You can adjust the hue as much as you want. Add to much baking soda? Add a little vinegar to make your green dye turn blue again. It's that simple. CAUTION: Adding vinegar or baking soda makes it kind of erupt like a volcano. Use a big enough bowl!
So, now that we have pink, purple, blue, and green, let's make some other colors:
Yellow: Add dry turmeric for a bright, curry-yellow color. Stale turmeric has less flavor, but honestly, I didn't notice much flavor in it anyway. Maybe a hint, but only because I was looking for it.
Orange: I tried using saffron soaked in water to get orange. It made a dull yellow. BUT, I added it to the pink I made and got orange, so there you go.
Black: I haven't tried this with frosting, but I've used it to dye eggs and it worked well. Boil a pound of black beans and then boil down the resulting black liquid to make black dye. I haven't tried it in frosting yet, so I may be updating that one soon.
And voila! Beautiful colors, all-natural and mmmmmm good :)