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Avoiding Artificial Food Coloring in Your Child's Birthday Cake

Updated on June 29, 2012

Most people are starting to realize just how bad artificial food dyes are for your health and are taking steps to avoid them in there everyday diet. It takes some label reading, but there are naturally dyed alternatives for most foods. Maybe you have noticed a difference in your child after eating products containing red or yellow dyes and have gotten to the point where it is no longer worth it to give in to family and friends on special occasions. But what about those special occasions? Birthdays, holidays, etc where cakes and cookies are plentiful, and so are artificial colors.

I make all of my children's birthday cakes and in the recent years we had moved away from colorful cakes and replaced them with more naturally flavored and less colorful alternatives like chocolate or lemon. But when my daughter turned one I really wanted to give her a special cake, made with her in mind, like I did when my boys were younger. But I didn't want to give her artificial colors and I didn't want to fork over the money for the small bottles of natural food coloring.

The All-Naturally Colored Princess Cake

My daughter was baby obsessed at the time (and still is...) and I had an idea in mind when I started, I just needed to alter the colors to fit an artificial-color-free cake. I needed green for the grass, brown or gray for the tower, pink for the dress and yellow for the hair. I made a batch of my whipped butter cream and royal icing for the princess torso cookie. I made a batch of lemon curd to fill the cake too. I stirred some of that lemon curd into the royal icing to make the yellow for her hair. I added just a touch of cocoa to the buttercream for the the castle tower and I pureed avocado and mixed it into the buttercream for the grass. Pureed strawberries were added to the buttercream and strawberry juice to the royal icing in order to create pink icing.

The Verdict?

I was a little worried about how all of the flavors would mesh together, but it worked just fine since the flavors were all so subtle. Even the avocado, which my boys all balked at eating, but liked once they did. My daughter loved her cake and I loved that I didn't just fill my children with a bunch of artificial colors.

Natural Alternatives to Artificial Colors

If you are like me and want to avoid artificial colorings, here are some options to use instead of grabbing the bottles of food coloring. Keep in mind that it is harder to get bright colors naturally, so your colors will be more subtle and light.

Red/Pink: raspberries, strawberries, beets, pomegranate

Blue/Purple: blueberries, red cabbage

Green: avocado, spinach, kale, Matcha green tea

Yellow/orange: lemon, edible flowers like dandelions, turmeric, carrrots

Brown: Cocoa, coffee powder or strong coffee

Avoiding artificial colors in your food is one step on the way to becoming more healthy. Do your research before putting anything in your body or in the bodies of your children. Adding naturally colorful foods to your baked goods and dishes is an easy way to have a more healthful food and still have a little colorful fun!


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    • daisyjae profile image


      8 years ago from Canada

      This is awesome. It's a good idea to use fruits and vegggies to color your goodies. Nice pics too.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Wonderful! Beautiful. I posted this on the Feingold Association Facebook page!


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