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May 4, 2006 05:15 AM

Red Velvet Cake Question-Steeping Dry Food Coloring

  • p

I'm making a red velvet cake from a King Arthur Flour Recipe. It calls for a 1/4 cup of liquid red coloring most bottles I've seen are less then an oz. and have multiple colors in a pack, so to get a 1/4 cup I would need to buy waaay too much food coloring. the local restaraunt supply has gel and powder. The last time I made this recipe I tried to steep the powder in some extra buttermilk, but the color was not as rich as I expected it to be. It was more brown than red

My questions are; How much powder do I use and what liquid should I steep it in and is there a technique that produces the best color?



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  1. I don't use food dyes enough to help with the conversion, but did you look for a larger bottle in the store? Places like Food Emporium (or similar chain in your area) that have a "full range" of spices and mass-market baking supplies usually have the red (only) food coloring in at least 2 oz and often larger bottles.

    You don't say where you are, but if there's a cake decorating/candymaking place available, they may well have it too.

    2 Replies
    1. re: MikeG

      I live in Los Angeles and the Restaurant Supply house [Surfas] and the Cake Decorating shop [Gloria's] Have Dry and gel because most of the time it is the prefered method of professionals. Albertson's Safeway Ralphs seem to have only the small sets of colors I mentioned in the post

      1. re: P.

        Hmm, I find the liquid along with gels and pastes at my local cake decorating place, as well as supermarkets, but I'm on the opposite side of the continent, so maybe it's a regional thing.

    2. Bakers use edible colored pastes, available in small containers, I bet you can find this on line or for sure at your local cake decorating store.(Wilton is a leading name in supplies for bakers and has stores.) The stuff is very strong, a little goes a really long way. Yikes,I'd seriously question any recipe that called for all of that liquid food color.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Miss Claudy

        I'm not suprised there is so much liquid in the recipe. Liquid food coloring is weak compared to Paste Gels and Powder. But I have a problem if I add the powder or paste with out the liquid it will upset the balance of the recipe and I'll have a dry cake. And Last time by adding the powder to 1/4 cup of buttermilk did not give me the desired color results.

        1. re: P.

          Red Velvet Cake takes so much food coloring to get the color. The first time I made one, which called for an ounce and a half, I thought there could be no way, but indeed...that's how it goes.

          1. re: Aaron

            I need to make one, so I bought some beet powder. haven't tried it yet. what do you think?

          2. re: P.

            Disolve the paste in the 1/4 cup of liquid.