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Dark Fondant Colors: How and Why?


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#1 JeanneCake

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Posted 12 January 2005 - 04:51 AM

A client of mine wants to use the color navy blue on her cake (it's one of those Alice-in-Wonderland styles so it will be covered in fondant). I've never been able to get a true navy no matter how much color I use (and I like the English Sugarflair and Squires Kitchen paste colors, which come in a wider variety of blue). When I've tried to color the fondant in advance, I get a purplish-blue, not a real navy. I've suggested to her that we use some other colors (sage green, yellow, salmon) for the base color of each cake, and go with blue (among others)for accents.

But I know that Polly Schoonmaker and others get a dark blue in their designs, so my question is how do they do that?

(Santa did bring me an airbrush for Christmas, which I wanted for coloring flowers, but maybe airbrushing is the way to go?But those designers don't look like their cakes are airbrushed....)

Thanks for your help...

#2 joshalow

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Posted 12 January 2005 - 10:57 AM

You may want to try adding a touch of black coloring to it- sometimes that helps. Have you tried using Americolor's Navy Blue although the Sugarflair colors are great colors too?

I did this Navy Blue cake navy blue whimsical and had to add a variety of blues and some black to get the right shade. Airbrushing would be another route to go, especially if it's a big area that needs to be the navy blue.

#3 chefpeon

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Posted 12 January 2005 - 11:42 AM

Yep.....that's the ticket.......black!
I remember when I was first struggling to get a true navy.....I had to match a swatch of
material the bride gave me. I had a gel paste that was SUPPOSED to be navy, but the
more I added, it just seemed more purplish and the shade never really deepened.
So I added a crapload of black, and wouldn't you know it...I had a perfect navy.

BUT.

I don't know if you've noticed, but there's two kinds of black out there. Some blacks have
green undertones and some have purple undertones. I only buy the black with purple
undertones. The green undertones produce some pretty icky results a lot of times. It's
easy to test for undertones....just squeeze a drop or smear a bit on a white piece of paper.
You'll immediately see whether it's green or black. I've never had a good use for the
green undertoned black, so I don't buy it.

Another thing.

I always keep a good amount of powdered color on hand. When you are coloring fondant (or marzipan, or sugarpaste or chocolate) with a large amount of color it messes with the consistency of whatever you're coloring. Enough to make it a bitch to work with. I use powdered colors to deepen whatever I'm coloring so I can maintain consistency. I use it in addition to the gel paste. I keep kneading and adding color til I'm at the correct shade. I'll add a bit of gel, then powder, then gel......alternating it lets me darken the color while maintaining the workability of the fondant. That's the only time I use powdered color for fondant though....for the deep shades. Powdered color is relatively expensive, so I reserve it mostly for chocolate use.

You know what I think are the hardest color groups to duplicate? Certain purples, burgundys, fuschias and magentas.....those are TOUGH. If anyone has any good recommendations on
colors I can buy regarding those shades.....let me know!

#4 chiantiglace

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Posted 12 January 2005 - 03:42 PM

i was going to say the same thing, a black or dark gray to keep it from gettin a lavendor color.

You could also spray the cake with navy blue tinted cocoa butter, but for that i wouldn't use an air brush, instead i would use a paintsprayer. You can buy one at the hardware store, just don't use it for painting too.
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#5 Kit

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Posted 12 January 2005 - 04:21 PM

If I remember my high school art (and I probably don't) blue and orange are opposite colors so I think if you add orange to the blue you'll get a deeper blue. I wouldn't try it without a test run first though. I remember it worked once for me with yellow and purple but that's my only real experience with this method.

#6 miaomee

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Posted 12 January 2005 - 08:52 PM

depends on situation, if you only need fondant cut outs or pieces in navy blue, it will be alright to try to knead your fondant to navy blue. But if you need to get a navy blue fondant to cover your cakes, it will be better to tint it to light blue, or leave it in white, and airbrush the colour on. Personally I wouldn't eat a "fully" coloured fondant, it looks scary to eat so many colourings though we know those colours are food safe.

#7 chefpeon

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Posted 12 January 2005 - 10:49 PM

Personally I wouldn't eat a "fully" coloured fondant, it looks scary to eat so many colourings though we know those colours are food safe.


I'll agree with you there. Even though food coloring is supposed to have no taste, it certainly does in that kind of concentration, and it's not a good taste. But the good thing about fondant is that it peels off easily, so you don't have to eat it if you don't want to. I always tell my clients who want deeply colored cakes that fondant is a better option because you can't peel buttercream off.

I don't like to airbrush color on because when the cake sweats (and it will) it starts to sweat the color off and the drips can ruin other decorations you may have on the cake. It's also harder to get an even looking color with an airbrush. In certain light, a cake that you may have thought you airbrushed evenly in the shop looks all splotchy when you get it to the event. Not that I've ever experienced that or anything..... :raz:

#8 miaomee

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Posted 12 January 2005 - 11:40 PM

[/quote]
[quote name='chefpeon' date='Jan 13 2005, 01:49 PM']I don't like to airbrush color on because when the cake sweats (and it will) it starts to sweat the color off and the drips can ruin other decorations you may have on the cake. It's also harder to get an even looking color with an airbrush. In certain light, a cake that you may have thought you airbrushed evenly in the shop looks all splotchy when you get it to the event. Not that I've ever experienced that or anything..... :raz:
[/quote]

Fondant sweats when there is a temperature change. The impact of temperature change can be reduced by keeping the temperature of the fridge closer to room temperature, or to wrap a few layers loosely and let the fondant covered cake thaw to room temperate slowly in the wraps prior to remove the wraps.

Edited by miaomee, 12 January 2005 - 11:44 PM.


#9 chefpeon

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Posted 13 January 2005 - 03:23 AM

Fondant sweats when there is a temperature change. The impact of temperature change can be reduced by keeping the temperature of the fridge closer to room temperature, or to wrap a few layers loosely and let the fondant covered cake thaw to room temperate slowly in the wraps prior to remove the wraps.


My dear.....I most certainly know this. I'm a professional cake artist. Most of the time I have no control over temperature change....especially when I have up to 6 wedding cakes in a weekend, with fillings that need to be refrigerated, and I have to work on all of them the week prior. Into the walk in they go, and out they come. The temperature changes. They sweat. The Health Dept. would most certainly have my head if I kept my walk-in close to room temperature.
This is the reality for most cake artists and I was speaking to that. Just so you know and stuff. :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile:

#10 JeanneCake

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Posted 13 January 2005 - 04:48 AM

Hear, hear... depending on the design a client wants, I tell them to NOT choose a mousse or pastry cream/fruit filled cake but to opt for buttercream instead. I know how long it will take me to work on that cake, plus once it is finished and delivered, it will be on display for some number of hours and I tell them I don't want the risk. In fact, just this week, a client wanted a tiered cheesecake and I told them that while I know there are other vendors out there who routinely do this, I don't. She ended up choosing individual cheesecakes for the guests and a small display cake from carrot cake.

When I'm busy, I have put fondant covered cakes in the walkin, but even after the fondant/cake equalizes (and the fondant sweats, it doesn't matter what the label says, they all do it), it seems to me that the texture changes and it isn't an improvement. So now I plan my work to avoid that when possible. I have my own reach-in for my finished work (because I needed it at my previous kitchen) - a True, which is not humid, per se; but everything sweats in it (and the temp is always below 40) and I wish there was a way to make it drier. But that's beside the point...

But back to the color part of the question.....

You're right about the black, some have more green undertones (Chefmaster) and others don't (Sugarflair). I like the idea of the powdered color, because it is true - the more color you add, the consistency changes and the taste (especially with blue) doesn't get any better either. The client agreed that blue would be better as an accessory color, thank goodness! :biggrin:

I am going to look into the Americolor brand, thanks for the tip. I buy the Sugarflair from Beryl's and the Squires colors from them (www.squires-group.co.uk) and they have a fuschia that is to die for....

joshalow, did you use the Americolor for the cake you shared with us? It looks great, and that color looks like it will work for my design...

#11 bkeith

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Posted 13 January 2005 - 02:23 PM

I am going to look into the Americolor brand, thanks for the tip.  I buy the Sugarflair from Beryl's and the Squires colors from them (www.squires-group.co.uk) and they have a fuschia that is to die for....

joshalow, did you use the Americolor for the cake you shared with us? It looks great, and that color looks like it will work for my design...

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I'll second (third?) the Americolor suggestion. Their navy is awfully good. You'll still need to use a bunch, but it'll get you there quicker than most anything else I don't have the photo handy, but I did a marine fantasy cake with graduating shades of blue (navy on the bottom tier up to light blue marbled with white on the top). For the darkest part, I used Americolor navy gel paste along with some lighter blue and green marbled in for visual interest. Covered, then went at it with the airbrush (again with Americolor navy) to darken it a bit.

Also, when you're going for color that intense, color your fondant a day or two in advance. By the time you get that much color kneaded in, the fondant gets really flaccid and hard to work with. Best to give it a little time to firm back up.
B. Keith Ryder
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#12 miaomee

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Posted 13 January 2005 - 06:28 PM

Fondant sweats when there is a temperature change. The impact of temperature change can be reduced by keeping the temperature of the fridge closer to room temperature, or to wrap a few layers loosely and let the fondant covered cake thaw to room temperate slowly in the wraps prior to remove the wraps.


My dear.....I most certainly know this. I'm a professional cake artist. Most of the time I have no control over temperature change....especially when I have up to 6 wedding cakes in a weekend, with fillings that need to be refrigerated, and I have to work on all of them the week prior. Into the walk in they go, and out they come. The temperature changes. They sweat. The Health Dept. would most certainly have my head if I kept my walk-in close to room temperature.
This is the reality for most cake artists and I was speaking to that. Just so you know and stuff. :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile:

View Post


I'm sorry, I knew you are a professional cake artist, I visited your website and am amazed with your beautiful cakes. I just write that down for reference of beginners, no offence. :smile:

Edited by miaomee, 13 January 2005 - 06:28 PM.


#13 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 14 January 2005 - 08:28 AM

Miaomee, I betcha Annie would be impressed with your website too. Please share?

We have such a wonderful group of cake artists here, a new member should be shocked by the quality of artisans we have posting!

#14 chefpeon

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Posted 14 January 2005 - 10:16 AM

Do you have a website Miaomee? If you do, I'd like to see it too......and by the way....
no offense taken. :smile:

#15 sherribabee

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 01:09 PM

Anyone know the best way to produce black fondant? I'm making an x-box cake for tomorrow evening and started to color my fondant with black coloring paste last night but I can't seem to get it any darker than a deep plum/gray color.

Grrrr. :angry: Should I just keep working in the coloring in hopes that it will eventually turn black? Any other suggestions? Maybe I could paint it with black petal dust or something?

Thanks!
Sherri A. Jackson

#16 chefpeon

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 01:37 PM

Regarding black fondant........and things I have done......

I've started with chocolate fondant and colored it black from there.....since it's already darker in the first place, you don't have to add as much color as you would with regular fondant.

I've added a CRAPload and I really mean a CRAPload of black paste and/or powder to get it as dark as I want it. It's pretty disgusting how much you have to add, and it tastes like crap too.

One thing to note, once you color fondant and let it sit a bit, the color gets deeper.

I've also used an airbrush on dark grey fondant to make it black. That works ok, but you have to worry about sweating.

My favorite way, of course is to start with the chocolate stuff. It's the best solution that I know of. :smile:

#17 duckduck

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 01:40 PM

It's funny that I was wondering just the other day how much you would have to add and wouldn't that make it taste bad? :unsure: I guess I got my answer. I think I'll just try to avoid black.
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#18 Deborah

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 01:47 PM

:biggrin: Yea, what Anne said! :biggrin:

Just wanted to add that not all black coloring is created the same. Americolor's Super Black is fabulous! Good black color and doesn't require a ton of coloring either(compared to other brands).

I can get a pure black with it but you do need to use more. So, instead I usually start with brown and then add black to it. :smile: It will darken over night too.

#19 JSkilling

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 01:47 PM

When I have to make black royal icing I just plop in some unsweetened chocolate to get started and then move to adding black. And it's yummy.

I needed to use black the other day but in such small quantities that I colored it with paste. Next time I'll use Anne's trick and start with chocolate fondant since it works so well in royal icing. I have to say that I didn't notice any bad taste with both the black and the red I had to do on another Spiderman cake - and that took GOBS of red to get to the right color.
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#20 sherribabee

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 06:19 PM

Thanks everyone.

I FINALLY got it black enough to pass. I added nearly half of a 1 oz. jar of NY Cake & Baking Brand "Super Black." My hands have a gray tinge to them now, I can't wash it all off.

I haven't tasted it yet, and I really don't want to. Blech!

I'll warn my friend that she should have her guests peel off the fondant and enjoy the buttercream underneath. :rolleyes:

Next time, I'll try using chocolate.
Sherri A. Jackson

#21 chefette

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 06:27 PM

They sell black fondant now.

#22 chefpeon

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 06:41 PM

They sell black fondant now.


They do? Well Halle-freakin'-lujah! That's worth a buy I'd think. Save me some work.
Oh, and who is "they"? Any particular brand or supplier?

#23 chefette

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 06:49 PM

SatinIce

they have a variety of colors - Beautiful red, deep green, blue, bright yellow, black
I purchased a small bucket of red but I have not used it yet. Seems to taste good though

#24 chefette

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 07:06 PM

I can see the colored fondants on the satin ice web sire - but I don't see how you order them

Here are a couple other sites that have it
I can’t say that this is a great source or not – but it is one I found
http://www.countryki...roductId=628237

or there’s this – but their price seems high
http://thedecorettes...?CID=36&SCID=70

#25 chefpeon

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 07:20 PM

Hey, thanks for the leads!
Silly me.....I have Country Kitchens bookmarked because I order from them.....I haven't been to the site in a while though, so didn't realize they carried the colored fondant.

I like Country Kitchens........I can vouch that they are a good source. :rolleyes:

#26 sherribabee

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 08:11 PM

Gah! Never again! I hate black fondant!

I got a few little smudges of corn starch on the top, which I cannot, for the life of me, brush out or smooth off.

I hate you, black fondant! You better sleep with one eye open!


:angry:
Sherri A. Jackson

#27 K8memphis

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 08:20 PM

Some ideas for you--marzipan takes all colors including black very well--if you're going to be mixing it yourself--incredibly more forgiving than fondant is color-wise. Rolls out similar to fondant.

Polident denture tablets will take the random food colorings out of your hands--when I'm airbrushing colors I just go ahead and get a tablet going in a cup of water so I can dunk my fingers in as I go--I can usually avoid getting the coloring on my hands otherwise. But it takes it right out--even if you don't get it soaked off right away.

Purchased black fondant tastes fine.

#28 JeanneCake

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Posted 18 May 2005 - 03:19 AM

There's also CalJava/Sweet Inspirations (www.cakevisions.com or www.caljava.com) with a line of colored fondants - they have more than just the usual primary colors that SatinIce has, but they're also more $. I've never used their fondant so I don't know how it handles.

I also find that Lysol Kitchen clean up spray on your hands does a good job removing color from them...

#29 DiH

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Posted 18 May 2005 - 05:43 AM

Polident denture tablets will take the random food colorings out of your hands--

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I also find that Lysol Kitchen clean up spray on your hands does a good job removing color from them...

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Windex too! :smile:


Di

#30 sherribabee

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Posted 18 May 2005 - 06:27 AM

Polident denture tablets will take the random food colorings out of your hands--

View Post


I also find that Lysol Kitchen clean up spray on your hands does a good job removing color from them...

View Post



Windex too! :smile:


Di

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I just took a long, hot shower and that managed to wash away all the coloring.

I needed to de-stress. It was that or throw the dang cake out the window. And the only reason I DIDN'T throw it out the window is that I didn't want to attract rats.

:angry:
Sherri A. Jackson