Every year I field my kids requests for their birthday cake. And every year I find myself in the kitchen trying to cram smashed berries into the icing without producing a soggy mess. Children love color, and my local baking aisle is lined with artificial food coloring products to make the task easier, however they also happen to contain petroleum-derived chemicals that can alter behavior causing increased irritability, aggressiveness, and hyperactivity, not to mention other health concerns like allergic reactions and even cancer-causing compounds. Here is a good summary of issues surround artificial food coloring agents.
This year I decided to give the berries a rest and try out a new tactic for cake decorating: using naturally colored chocolate candies. I was able to find these milk chocolate candies colored with beet juice, carrot juice, hibiscus juice, annatto extract, turmeric extract, and red cabbage juice. They are certified Kosher (no pesky carmine!), organic and fair trade too. I made a double layer chocolate cake with vanilla cream cheese frosting and then arranged to candies over the top. I used a foil cupcake wrapper to give the princess figure a poofy gown and used toothpicks to keep her in place. It was so easy and my children loved it. It is so great to see such fun and wholesome food products coming on the market. I’m sure berry-dyed frosting is still in my future, but it is nice to have an easier alternative as well!