How do you get a good strong true red frosting? I have tried a few gel tints, and they are always pink, not red. Yesterday I WANTED to decorate 120 cupcakes in white, red, and green for Mexican Independence Day. What I ended up offering was white swirl roses with green fondant leaves and a pretty (but NOT RED) hot pink with green leaves. I didn't tell anyone that they were a failure, because, thank God, they were not an order, but a gift for my son's school party after the parade. HOWEVER, I knew, and I still need to make a true red for Christmas things. I made a 1 kilo powdered sugar batch of buttercream and added an entire jar of Wilton true red and got a pale pink, OK, too much frosting to too little gel, I get it. However, cost wise, gel is expensive and if I need 5 jars to a kilo of buttercream, well, you get the point. Wilton things are VERY costly here, and they are hard to find as well, so getting 5 jars per recipie is just too much. Is there a good powder tint that you would recommend that I can get in Mexico? I can get a good red from McCormick's liquid, but then the frosting is too loose and doesn't hold a piped form well. Please advise.
I like using liquid food coloring because it's also handy for airbrushing. You can add more powdered sugar to stiffen the buttercream back up when the liquid thins it down, and it really doesn't lighten the color unless you're adding 50% more powdered sugar or a ridiculous amount. The red roses in my rose-making video were made with McCormick's liquid and they're still VERY red even after adding enough powdered sugar to prevent them from drooping. Deep red will darken more overnight, but I consider that a bonus and mix it dark enough to begin with. I'd stick with the liquid, since you know it works, but add PS when necessary. Good luck.
If you have access to Americolor Super Red, that is the way to go. I think it has an odd taste though, so what I do is color first with Wilton no-taste red, which gets it to a nice dark pink color. Then I add the Americolor Super Red to finish it to the true red that I need. Works really well. I get the big bottle of Americolor Super Red online, and it's normally really resonable. BTW - the Super Black is great too. I actually use more of that than I do the red. HTH!!
Any bold, strong color takes time to develope and should be colored at least the night before. Also remember, the more paste/gel color used, the darker it will become over time and when exposed to air so one can easily end up with a much too dark color!
To make red, start by coloring your icing a deep, strong pink, or yellow or orange. Now you can add your red coloring. It won't take near as much and will develop into a nice red quicker. IF you don't mind flavoring your icing add about 1 teaspoon of any red colored KoolAid powder (I use black cherry unsweet). This MUST be done the night before (or early in the am to be used that evening). When you take it out (I refrigerate my b'cream) it might have dark spots don;t be alarmed - just give it a good, vigorous stir & those spots will go away :)
Thanks so much ladies! @Dani1081 - I felt the same way about the taste, especially with red. Thanks for that tip. I will try it. @Unlimited - I'm kinda new, lol, and I thought that adding more PS would just lighten it again, so thanks for your tip! @kakeladi - I'm intrigued by the KoolAid idea also, lol. especially since I was the "KoolAid Kid" in the 7th grade! I did the commercials for the first pre-sweetened KoolAid when I was in the summer between elementary and jr. high. How funny.