How to make colored icing for birthday cakes

Updated April 17, 2017

Birthday cakes come alive when you add brightly coloured details like flowers, animals, piping and lettering to the top. Coloured icing is key to creating the fun and theme of a birthday cake and can be whipped up easily using white icing as a base. Purchase paste, liquid or powdered food colouring from your local baking supply store. You'll find a rainbow of colour options suitable for every theme and design you may want for your birthday cake.

Measure the butter into your mixing bowl and cream until smooth and well blended using the electric mixer on low speed.

Add in the vanilla extract and continue blending on low speed.

Beat the sugar into the butter mixture slowly and carefully. Scrape down the sides as you go using your spatula.

Add the milk and beat on high until the icing is light and fluffy. This is the white icing base that you'll use for colouring.

Divide the frosting into smaller bowls based upon the number of colours you will be using. Each bowl will be tinted a different colour.

Swirl a toothpick in the food colouring, picking up a very small amount. Start small so that you can build up to the desired colour.

Pass the toothpick through the first bowl of icing, swirling and mixing the dye into the icing. Use the wooden spoon to thoroughly blend the dye into the icing.

Repeat Steps 6 and 7 to deepen the colour, if desired. Once you have achieved the colour you'd like, move on to the next bowl of icing and the next colour.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 1-1/2 tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Food colouring
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Electric mixer
  • Rubber spatula
  • Wooden spoon
  • Toothpick
  • Small mixing bowls
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About the Author

Ava Perez cut her journalism teeth in 2005 while balancing her university studies with a voracious appetite for fashion, music and beauty. Her music reviews, interviews and editorials have been published in numerous magazines worldwide. She specializes in writing beauty, health and fitness-related articles for various websites. Perez holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from York University.