Types of Food Colors Used by Bakers | Food Colors Used in Cakes and Pastries

Hi Bakers and Foodies! In this post, I’ll be sharing the different types of food colors that are used for baking, especially by bakers and cake decorators.

As a baker; you can use food colors for frostings and icings, especially when you’re decorating, or you can also use them if you want to color your cake or pastry. I’ll be sharing the types of colors that are all purely edible.

1. Powder Food Colors

One of the most commonly found and popular food colors are powdered colors.

Powder food colors

These are food colors that come in different sized containers in powder form. To use them, you either add a little bit of water, or – I would suggest also using food glycerin, so that the mixture becomes like a gel or paste consistency and it becomes very concentrated.

Red Food powder color (Image Courtesy: Topserve Limited)

Point to note, when using powder food color you don’t want to put too much into your frosting or in your fondant as it does tend to become bitter. This is because of the preservative that is used in it. When used in excess; the frosting or product may actually become very bitter, so be careful when using the food color.

When you use the powder color in frosting or fondant; it may not give you a very dark color, so my tip would be to use glycerin. You can add a little bit of water or a little bit of glycerin to the color, when you’re using it to make it easier to work with.

Powdered food colors in Kenya are easily found in major supermarkets and cake supplies shops as well such as Topserve Limited.

2. Liquid Food Colors

Liquid food colors are a bit more concentrated than the powder colors.

Liquid Food color

These work very well as long as you have a very good brand. You should be able to just put a drop or two in your frosting or in your cake batter and it colors very well.

You can find liquid food colors in Kenya mainly in cake supplies shops; sometimes, some major supermarkets stock them periodically.

3. Gel Food Colors

These are more highly concentrated food colors that come in a gel-like consistency. Depending on the brand; some are like a thick liquid and some are quite firm. They’re perfect for use in both frostings/icings, cakes and other pastries.

Gel Food Colors – Brand: AmeriColor

To use; you just need a little drop or use a toothpick to scoop the gel color and put it into your frosting to mix. When using gel color; you tend to use less e.g. a few drops, as opposed to the others – the powder color or the liquid color.

Gel Food color – Brand: Sugar Flair

Especially for cake decorators who use fondant icing, this is a really effective food color to use.

Sugar Flower colored with Gel color by Amari Student Alumni

4. Emulsion Food Colors (Colored Flavor Pastes)

Emulsion food colors are a type of combination of color and flavoring. For example, if it’s purple in color, it’s also blueberry-flavored, if it’s orange, it’s also orange-flavored.

Food Color Emulsions – Brand: Pradip

These are preferred by people who tend to do commercial cakes that have the color that matches their flavor. You may have seen these types of cakes especially in retail walk-in types of bakeries.

They are used mainly for cake making or pastry making. Emulsions are rarely used for frostings or icings, but they can definitely be used if you prefer to do so. Emulsion food colors in Kenya are mainly sold by cake supplies shops such as Topserve Ltd or Pradip Enterprises.

Colored Cake slice

In Summary; the four types of Food colors used by bakers and cake decorators;

  • Powder Food colors
  • Liquid Food colors
  • Gel Food colors
  • Emulsion Food colors (that are also flavors)

To read more about other types of ingredients used by Bakers – click here.

I hope this post has been helpful to you; if so, please feel free to share to help out other foodies or bakers. Do leave a comment below as well ^_^

If you would like to learn how to bake and decorate cakes; we offer practical classes as well as online cake making and decoration class. Click here for details of the Nairobi Practical classes.

Click here to send us a message on Whatsapp to get details on the Online classes

Published by Maureen Kamari

Amari Baking Center offers baking classes to those who want to learn how to bake. We train our students using Cookswell original charcoal ovens. We also offer basic business start-up training for those who want to start small baking businesses. We do groups vocational training anywhere in East Africa as well. We hold classes in our home-based bakery workshop located on Ndwaru road in Riruta, Nairobi; off Naivasha road, next to Pelida School. We use original Cookswell charcoal ovens to bake and train our students due to their efficiency, effectiveness and economy. They are the best option for anyone starting a small baking business on a budget.

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