Colouring Buttercream

Decorating By LilMiss Cupcake Updated 1 Jun 2014 , 1:10pm by cakebaby2

LilMiss Cupcake Posted 15 May 2014 , 3:56pm
post #1 of 21

Hi all, I keep having a problem when I add colouring to my buttercream. The colour separates and it looks grainy. I am from the UK and I only use butter and icing sugar. I have used liquids, gels and paste colours and they all separate :( can someone please tell me what i'm doing wrong? Thanks!


20 replies
LilMiss Cupcake Posted 23 May 2014 , 10:36pm
post #2 of 21


FioreCakes Posted 24 May 2014 , 4:57pm
post #3 of 21

You may want to post your icing recipe so people can help. 

howsweet Posted 24 May 2014 , 5:52pm
post #4 of 21

Maybe try a different brand of icing sugar?

LilMiss Cupcake Posted 29 May 2014 , 4:53pm
post #5 of 21

as said above I only use butter and icing sugar and just keep adding it until it tastes good. The picture below is what the icing looks like when I mix in colouring, and no matter how much i mix it is doesnt change.



Siany01 Posted 29 May 2014 , 5:38pm
post #6 of 21

AYou need to add more icing sugar I would say. You need a 2:1 if you are using just sugar and butter. I personally prefer Tate and Lyle icing sugar over silver spoon.

Siany01 Posted 29 May 2014 , 5:40pm
post #7 of 21

AAlso just to check you are using proper butter aren't you? Not marg or the spreadable butters as they could also cause this.

LilMiss Cupcake Posted 29 May 2014 , 6:30pm
post #8 of 21

I currently use tesco's own butter it says it's 'perfect for cakes' so I wonder if this might be causing it... which butter do you use? I will have to try a different icing sugar too as I use silver spoon. Thanks for your help!

nannycook Posted 29 May 2014 , 6:41pm
post #9 of 21

AI always use Willow butter for my buttercream.

nannycook Posted 29 May 2014 , 6:42pm
post #10 of 21

ALilmiss, why dont you use the UK thread on here?

as you wish Posted 29 May 2014 , 6:46pm
post #11 of 21

AI would try adding more icing sugar. Also, what kind of food colouring are you using?

roxylee123 Posted 29 May 2014 , 7:01pm
post #12 of 21

I have used unsalted butter from a few supermarkets and never had a problem with any off them, is it butter you are using or vegetable fat which also comes in a block but is half the price and does say on the packet good for baking. I mostly get the aldi unsalted butter for 99p a block and use tate and lyle icing sugar. Make sure your butter has been out of the fridge and has softened and do not over beat as that can cause it to split.

LilMiss Cupcake Posted 29 May 2014 , 10:33pm
post #13 of 21

I didn't know there was a UK thread... how do I get to that? I'm new to this!


I have used liquid colourings from supermarkets and PME and have paste colours also from PME, all having the same effect so I don't think that the colouring is causing the problem.


Is it better to use a block butter rather than a tub? the one I use now is in a tub and is butter not vegetable fat. 


Thanks all!

roxylee123 Posted 29 May 2014 , 10:48pm
post #14 of 21

I have always used block butter I don't think the tub one is the same. I talk on the uk thread it is called A thread for uk bakers just go to forums tab then cupcakes and you will find it listed there or you could go to my profile and It will be there under threads I have posted in if that is easier for you. there a good bunch and very friendly and helpful.

Siany01 Posted 29 May 2014 , 11:57pm
post #15 of 21

AIf it's from a tub the I would bet that it has veg oil added to it to soften it a bit. You need to use block butter really. If I want the best buttercream I use president butter. But as a general I use sainsbury own block butter and it's fine no matter what colour I chuck at it. Try to use paste colours over liquid though as the liquid can soften the buttercream if a lot us added.

MBalaska Posted 30 May 2014 , 12:13am
post #16 of 21

here's the link to the UK thread, perhaps it is the products that you are using that we don't have in the US.



cakebaby2 Posted 30 May 2014 , 12:30am
post #17 of 21

Definitely the tub, butter doesn't come in a tub, it must have oil or something in it to make it spreadable. 

LeanneW Posted 30 May 2014 , 10:48pm
post #18 of 21

Try the blooming technique.


When coloring buttercream I take a small amount, like 1/4 cup, and mix my color into it. Lots of color, way deeper than you want your finished color to be.


Then melt the colored stuff in the microwave or in a small pan. Do not make it hot, just melted. The color will deepen intensely.


A bit at a time, add the melted colored buttercream to your white buttercream until you get the color you want.

roxylee123 Posted 30 May 2014 , 11:35pm
post #19 of 21

I have never heard of that technique does that help to when needing dark colours such as red and black.

staziaface1790 Posted 31 May 2014 , 9:01pm
post #20 of 21

AI have that SAME problem!!! I don't understand it! I will try that blooming technique as well. Very interesting!

cakebaby2 Posted 1 Jun 2014 , 1:10pm
post #21 of 21

Also works when colouring gumpaste by hand..specifically the myriads of green.

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