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Are all food colourings full of crap?

(9 Posts)
ElusiveMoose Fri 18-Sep-09 08:40:21

I need to get hold of some red food colouring to make DS's second birthday cake next week (it's going to be a pig, for anyone's who interested). I looked at the one they sell in Waitrose and it's entirely made of E numbers, including Sunset Yellow and Ponceau 4R, which I dimly remember reading are officially Not Good. Is it possible to get hold of more natural colours (without going to a vast amount of trouble)? Or am I just being unbelievably precious given that we're only talking about one cake?

pooexplosions Fri 18-Sep-09 08:47:13

You can get all natural colours, or partly natural colours, or you can use fruit and vegetables to dye food (eg strawberry juice for pink icing)
Personally if I'd already bought it and it was just one cake, I'd use it, but its up to you. wink

DarklyDreaming Fri 18-Sep-09 08:48:15

Supercook do a "Natural Red" food colouring - it looks like it is just carmine. You can get it in Tesco. I think it's quite a pinky red IYSWIM but that should be fine for a pig!

MrsBadger Fri 18-Sep-09 09:32:05

the amount of red you need to make a good piggy pink is actually quite small.
If you were doing red it might be harder - in fact dd and I went to a party where the icing on the ladybird cake had been coloured with the 'natural' supercook one, but the colour was so weak the mum had had to use the whole bottle and as a result the icing tasted revolting.

if you go the veg route then beetroot makes a wonderful pink - buy a raw one, chop and simmer in a spoonful of water for a few minutes till oozy, then add a little of the liquid to icing. This works much better for glacé icing or buttercream than ready-to-roll. If you are using ready-to-roll get paste colours from a specialist shop else it gets too sticky.

(NB you are being precious wink)

samja Fri 18-Sep-09 09:35:28

Asda do a range of own brand natural food colourings. Even their sprinkles are without e numbers.

The pink only has beetroot extract in it and gives a good colour.

Beware of too much beetroot in butter icing as it does curdle!

thirtypence Fri 18-Sep-09 09:38:30

I did not know this. Ds is massively "admit to hospital" allergic to red food colouring. He can eat red sweets from the UK. I suppose it had not occurred to me that maybe I could source food colouring in the UK and give him a technicolour cake next year.

ElusiveMoose Fri 18-Sep-09 09:53:19

Wow, I've clearly come to the right place. You lot are a bunch of experts! I'll see if I can get the natural Supercook one in Sainsburys (I don't have an Asda or Tesco nearby, unfortunately). It's annoying - Waitrose seem to have stopped doing all the Supercook stuff and now only do other brands, which look posher but clearly aren't!! If I can't get the Supercook one then I'll just go for the E numbers and hope the hyperactivity doesn't kick in until the toddlers have all gone home grin. Thanks for the fruit/veg dye tips, but that is definitely A Step Too Far; I already feel like I'm planning a serious military operation hmm.

meltedmarsbars Fri 18-Sep-09 12:32:09

You need a list of E numbers and what they actually are, some are very innocuous and quite natural!
here's a list

ElusiveMoose Fri 18-Sep-09 13:12:54

Thanks MMB - that's really helpful. (As suspected, the E numbers in question all come under the 'not recommended for consumption by children' category. Sigh.)

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