Mixing Colors Without Huge Kitchen Explosion

Decorating By bea30 Updated 15 Nov 2009 , 12:53am by indydebi

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bea30 Posted 14 Nov 2009 , 3:55pm
post #1 of 16

Hello. I'm new to all this cake decorating and am trying to teach myself. I would like to start a catering company. Anyway, I have looked for a thread on mixing colors without making a huge mess and I can't find it. I use wilton colors and toothpick method and it ends up making the biggest mess and the powdered sugar explodes all over the kitchen and the colors get all over everything. Cleanliness doesn't come naturally to me. Can someone explain how to mix colors without making such a huge mess? And I feel like I have to dip in the colors way too much and it takes a really long time. Then the toothpick gets all gummy and I have to use a different one and it is so disorganized. There has got to be a better way. I feel like I have done a total workout by the time I'm done, then I have to face the mess I just made. Any help?

15 replies
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UltimateCakes Posted 14 Nov 2009 , 4:17pm
post #2 of 16

HUH? Powdered Sugar explodes???? Maybe if you have some DET. cord. Why are you coloring the powdered sugar in the first place? For large batches of *icing*, I use baby spoons. Toothpicks are great b/c you can throw them away. Really not that messy or time consuming if you use enough coloring to begin with.

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itscake Posted 14 Nov 2009 , 4:21pm
post #3 of 16

If I am making mmf...I mix the colour into the water and add that to the marshmellow before nuking...then add the powdered sugar to the melted mixture..or you can take a small piece of the fondant once made and mix the colour into that and then knead the small piece into the larger piece...hope this helps

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Doug Posted 14 Nov 2009 , 4:24pm
post #4 of 16

re: powder sugar explosion --
1. cover mixer with a damp towel
2. start on lowest speed and let go for a bit to mix in sugar and then slowly ramp up the speed.

re: color -- two options

1. add color at beginning when creaming the crisco/butter and the liquids together
2. add color at end after buttercream is fully blended.

I usually do both -- add some at start to get the basic color, then intensify at end if needed.


also -- paper towels are my friend (2 rolls minimum per cake!) -- when adding color I have them spread out so the color bottles stay on them.


and I've ditched the toothpicks -- as I've also ditched the Wilton colors. I switched to Americolors which come in a dropper bottle -- so can just open and add a drop at time to get color desired. (tho' I do still keep them on paper towels too and have an extra one handy to wipe up)

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bea30 Posted 14 Nov 2009 , 4:31pm
post #5 of 16

Sorry...two separate problems. I'm not mixing the color into the powdered sugar. I just make a mess from start to finish.

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sherrycanary62 Posted 14 Nov 2009 , 4:40pm
post #6 of 16

lol on the mess part...the other day, while in the middle of decorating a cake, my son asked me to cut his hair I said sure come back later...later when he came back he asked me what happened, I said "huh???...he told me to look in the mirror...omg...I had powdered sugar ALL over my clothes, in my hair, on my face and to top it all off I had a piece of white fondant stuck to my backside icon_biggrin.gif ...I am not a neat and tidy decorator....go figure

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Cakepro Posted 14 Nov 2009 , 4:43pm
post #7 of 16

When I start a cake, I tape a plastic grocery bag to the side of the table and put all of my scraps/trash in it as I go. I hate a messy work area.

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Kay_NL Posted 14 Nov 2009 , 5:14pm
post #8 of 16

I wrap my kitchen aid in Saran when I do the initial powder sugar/wet ingredient mix. That stops sugar from flying everywhere!

I also keep a shopping bag tied to my cuttlery drawer, and all trash goes out right away. I start with a clean kitchen too, space in the dishwasher for my dishes, empty sinks so I can soak, etc.

I'm not sure what the issue with tootpicks is. I just throw them out each time since if I dip the toothpick in color, then into the icing, I get icing on the toothpick and don't want to get icing in my jar of color. Americolor's are not available to me locally so I do use Wilton....

I think being clean, or organized, or whatever, leads to a cleaner cake! That is the case for me since I get stressed out in a messy kitchen and my cakes sometimes suffer the consequences of that! icon_smile.gif

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butterfly831915 Posted 14 Nov 2009 , 5:40pm
post #9 of 16

I keep a bowl on the counter just for the trash, I have a hard time with the bags on drawers and such due to a little one running around. I am ordering Americolor's on ebay--found some cheap ones. I think it will be much easier than the toothpick method and it will make it faster on coloring my cake batter for the tye dye method. I don't use the toothpick for adding my coloring, I started using things like a dropper. I found a bunch of them for giving children medicine so I just suck up some color and place it in the icing however if using a lot of colors it can suck as you have to clean them after each color and make sure you have them dried well enough. I have five of them so usually not much of a problem. I do the wet towel over the kitchen aid to avoid the powder sugar cloud. Still get a little but not near as much with this. I like to cover my counter tops with paper towel then set the mixer on them and do everything with the paper towel on the counter. Nice easy clean up.

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prterrell Posted 14 Nov 2009 , 5:46pm
post #10 of 16

Switch to Americolor colors, you need less, plus it comes in a little squirt bottle, so no mor dipping!

As for the PS every where, you've gotten great suggestions above. Actually, not having to deal w/ PS as often is one of the things I love about IMBC!

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indydebi Posted 14 Nov 2009 , 11:18pm
post #11 of 16

You've gotten some good tips, but it is a bit worrisome when you say "cleanliness does not come naturally to me and I want to start a catering business." icon_confused.gif

If, when adding your powdered sugar to the mixer, it's exploding, try starting the mixer on a lower speed and pulsing it (turning it off and on in little 3 second spurts) until the powder is moistened enough to stick to itself. As mentioned above, wrap paper towels or a clean kitchen towel over the mixer for the first few seconds of mixing.

Keep a wet towel next to you to wipe down the counter every few minutes.

You shouldn't feel like you've just had a "workout" just to add color. I add my color to white icing. I use the toothpick method frequently and only have to dip 2 maybe 3 times, depending on the intensity of the color. Since the color is added to white icing, there is no p.sugar left in the bowl to explode color all over the place. Toothpicks are cheap .... use it once and throw it away. Give these ideas a try and see how that helps.

I also keep a piece of wax or parchment paper on the counter to lay my used utentsils on for faster cleanup. The idea to have a large bowl to put things in is also a good idea. Anything to keep the counter clean will help you out.

My big thing is the wet towel to wipe down. Seriously, wiping down everything every 3 to 6 minutes will do wonders.

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prterrell Posted 14 Nov 2009 , 11:27pm
post #12 of 16

Indydebi is totally right (isn't she always? icon_biggrin.gif ), kitchen professionals must always "work clean". If you really want to have a business, it's best to get in the habit now. It makes cleaning up afterward less of a pain, too! thumbs_up.gif

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bea30 Posted 15 Nov 2009 , 12:35am
post #13 of 16

Thanks for all the advice. When I say cleanliness doesn't come naturally, I mean I have to be told exactly how to do everything. Once I figure it out, i'm pretty good. After I read the suggestions, i think 'why didn't I know that?' It seems so obvious. I just went and purchased a ton of paper towels so I am going to start a cake tonight and use all of your advice and see how it goes.
This place is great!

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indydebi Posted 15 Nov 2009 , 12:41am
post #14 of 16
Originally Posted by bea30

When I say cleanliness doesn't come naturally, I mean I have to be told exactly how to do everything.

Then you better put your plans on opening a business on hold for a LONG time. icon_confused.gif

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bea30 Posted 15 Nov 2009 , 12:50am
post #15 of 16

I'm enrolled in a food sanitation and safety class at the local culinary arts school. Starts in January. Yes, it will be a while. Also enrolled in baking. So much to learn! icon_smile.gif

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indydebi Posted 15 Nov 2009 , 12:53am
post #16 of 16

Excellent start! thumbs_up.gif

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