How to make colourful cupcake buttercream frosting, without chemical food dyes

Do you love cupcakes? Everyone loves them, especially kids. But do you know what’s inside the brightly coloured frosting. Artificial colours. Do you really want to feed your family artificial and chemical dyes?

I’ve been looking at labels for a while now, noticing how many everyday items have chemical dyes. Did you know some commercial breads will add a brown or caramel colour to their whole wheat bread to make it appear darker, therefore trying to fool you that it’s healthy? Even Subway does this according to Market Place tv show. Did you know that Ginger Ale has added caramel colour that Starbucks uses in their syrup? This fact has received some bad publicity recently about being cancer causing? These are just a couple of examples of hidden dyes, whereas the pink, green and purples we see around on cupcakes and candy are just plain obvious they are artificial.

Don’t worry. There is a pure and natural alternative you can easily do at home. Here’s how. I’ve conducted an experiment to dye buttercream frosting for cupcakes using only pure vegetable juice and spices. Here are 3 that I’ve used.

cupcakes1 copy

Simply place one beet into your juicer and you’ll have more than enough beet juice to dye your buttercream frosting.

For the spinach, you’ll need almost a whole 5oz package to get a little bit of juice. But that’s plenty. Be sure to rinse your juice after you juice the beet so the colour doesn’t transfer to the spinach juice.

The saffron, pour about 3 tbsp of boiling water to a few threads of saffron and leave for a couple of hours to extract the colour. The longer you leave it the darker the colour will be. I recommend leaving it overnight.




For every 1/2 cup of buttercream frosting, add about 1/4 tsp of juice/saffron water. Stir to combine. Here’s a great recipe for buttercream frosting, or find your favourite. For a time saver you can buy ready-make buttercream frosting at the Bulk Barn (Southern Ontario)

I absolutely guarantee that you will not taste even a hint of the beet, spinach or saffron, due to the strong sweetness of the icing sugar in your buttercream frosting. You may add a few drops more of the juice/saffron water to your frosting for darker colour.

And… drum roll please….


Cupcakes with frosting completely free of chemical and artificial dyes. Your family won’t know the difference, but you’ll feel good about what you’re serving them.

Check out my healthy three ingredient cookie recipe here. It’s no nonsense.



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