Colouring Smbc Red

Decorating By bakemeenchanted Updated 30 Nov 2015 , 1:03am by sleaky77

bakemeenchanted Posted 28 Nov 2015 , 11:23pm
post #1 of 10

Hi again everyone!

So I have a cake due this weekend and the customer asked for it to be frosted in red SMBC. I tried colouring a batch of it today and after adding half a bottle of Wilton's Red-Red, a little bit of Christmas Red, maybe half a teaspoon of Americolor Super Red, and a dash of Burgundy while I was at it, the most I could achieve was a deep rose pink.

This was in about 3 to 4 cups of SMBC. I initially took out half a cup of the meringue and coloured it, then beat it into the finished SMBC. Got a pale pink, so I took out half a cup of the SMBC, microwaved it, coloured it deep dark blood red and beat it back into the frosting. And I kept going till I had used as much of the colouring as I mentioned above. Finally I got frustrated and stopped. The texture of the frosting was still perfect with no discernable aftertaste.

So my question is, just how much colouring do I need to add to get red? I don't need it to be a true deep red, just ballpark. The decorations will be white so I imagine the contrast will make the frosting look more red. I've definitely seen true red SMBC around the internet.

What if I dump an entire bottle of Wilton Red-Red in like 3 cups of SMBC? The cake is a 10" heart and I think it would take about that much frosting to cover the outside. How much will it affect the taste? Unfortunately I can't get my hands on Americolor gels or even Wilton's No Taste Red within the week. I do have powdered colours but they're all based in salt for some reason, so I can't use them in frostings.

All help appreciated and thank you in advance!

9 replies
sleaky77 Posted 29 Nov 2015 , 4:46am
post #2 of 10

I tried to colour SMBC a dark red and it did not work at all. I used a lot of gel colour and not only did I not get the shade I wanted but after sitting for about an hour the colour started to leech out leaving little balls of red on top of the icing (I tried to put up a picture but I just didn't happen, lol). Luckily it was only for decorating and I switched to modelling chocolate. I only advice I can give is maybe the spray cans of colour.

Pastrybaglady Posted 29 Nov 2015 , 6:38am
post #3 of 10

It just doesn't seem like you can get a real red with SMBC.  ABC takes color well because of the powdered sugar.  So I wonder if you add some powdered sugar to the SMBC if it would make it hang on to the color better?  I have taken SMBC to a true black by adding cocoa powder first, so I think the powder helps the color retention.

bakemeenchanted Posted 29 Nov 2015 , 9:35am
post #4 of 10

Thank you both for your input!

The powdered sugar idea definitely makes sense to me so I'll give it a try as soon as my leftover SMBC comes to room temperature. I'll let you know how it goes.

In the meantime, I've come up with a few ideas. I melted down some of the frosting and added enough colour to it to get it to red, and then poured it on top of some of the cupcakes that I'd already frosted. I froze them first.  The melted frosting poured on just like a ganache and while it's still pretty tacky almost 24 hours later, the finish is still nice and smooth amd bright red. Except where I've poked it. And i figure SMBC doesn't crust anyway, so that's not an issue.

I then refrigerated my leftover "glaze" till it came to a spreadable consistency and I tried spreading it around in my bowl and it's reasonably smooth.

So I was thinking I could always frost the entire cake in pink, or even uncoloured, then freeze and apply a topcoat of either the SMBC plus powdered sugar, the glaze, or the spreadable consistency.

Do you think that'll work?

Can't seem to add photos here

FlourPots Posted 29 Nov 2015 , 9:47am
post #5 of 10

Here's a very informative video that might help:

Jinkies Posted 29 Nov 2015 , 1:32pm
post #6 of 10

I just colored some smbc red last night.  It was about 3 cups of buttercream and I used about a 1/2 bottle of Wilton red- red.  It did take a couple of hours to darken up but I did get a beautiful dark red.  

On the flip side, it did make the buttercream very soft and difficult to pipe.  I would not want to cover a whole cake with it though.  

I had advised the client that a colored buttercream cake would need to have  a lot of food coloring in their icing and they opted for a basic white with colored decor.

bakemeenchanted Posted 29 Nov 2015 , 3:45pm
post #7 of 10

@Jinkies  ! My hero!!!!!!!! I'm so glad to know that it can be done! Can you tell me what process you used to do it? And how much did it affect the taste? I only plan on applying a very thin layer of red over a much lighter coloured layer of frosting on the outside of the cake, so I hope the taste won't matter that much.

Next time I will definitely warn my customers off such deep colours, or suggest fondant instead. But since this cake is due in about 4 days, I don't want to change things up on my customer now, unless I absolutely have no other choice.

@sleaky77  I was under the impression that SMBC can't be sprayed or airbrushed, but then I don't have much experiencing with colouring it, so I'm probably wrong. Have you tried it before?

@FlourPots  Thanks for the video! I actually already watched that video just a couple days ago, and I did tint my meringue first as she suggested, but it wasn't enough meringue and not enough colour. 

Thanks again for all the advice guys! I can't even tell you how grateful I am! 8)8)8) 

Jinkies Posted 29 Nov 2015 , 5:55pm
post #8 of 10

The key is time.  It will get darker over time.  Put some in, mix it up and wait an hour.  If it's not dark enough, add more and wait again, and so on.  The longer it sits, the darker it will get.  I did just notice that the leftover icing in my piping bag is still getting darker where as the icing on the cake had stayed the same, so maybe try putting some plastic wrap right on the icing to make it air tight (like you would over pudding to avoid a "skin").

It will affect the taste depending on how you're using it (although, I'm pretty sure Wilton has a no-taste red but I haven't tried it).  I was doing two fairly large number cakes and I was just piping a  small bead border around the edges so the amount one would get in a bite would be minimal and drowned out by the rest of the cake and icing.

I'm not sure how much you would be using or what your design is, maybe you could do a little taste test to see if it's minimal enough to be drowned out.  If it's just a very light skim coat, it may be fine.  Is is something you could do with red fondant?

Worse comes to worse, you can always tell your client that you tried it and it will affect the taste of the cake.  

Good luck, I know it's stressful :)

bakemeenchanted Posted 29 Nov 2015 , 6:15pm
post #9 of 10

Thanks for the detailed explanation @Jinkies  !

It's a pretty simple cake, 10" heart frosted in red with white roses and a beaded border.

Client doesn't want fondant.

[Edit: The forum ate the rest of my post!!]

I'm planning to do a very light layer of red on the outside. A couple of millimeters thick at most. I'm hoping a thick layer of frosting underneath it plus all the layers of cake and frosting inside will offset any change in flavor.

But of course I'll taste test it first to make sure it isn't horrible!

And I suppose I'll get started a day early on the frosting to give the colour time to develop and also have time to talk to the client if I can't do it.

Thanks again for all your help! 8)8)8)

*Last edited by bakemeenchanted on 29 Nov 2015 , 6:23pm
sleaky77 Posted 30 Nov 2015 , 1:03am
post #10 of 10

I wish I had this post before. Some excellent tips. I have no idea about spraying SMBC. I love how helpful everyone here is.

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