How to Make Colored Icing for Birthday Cakes


Birthday cakes come alive when you add brightly colored details like flowers, animals, piping and lettering to the top. Colored icing is key to creating the fun and theme of a birthday cake and can be whipped up easily using white icing as a base. Purchase paste, liquid or powdered food coloring from your local baking supply store. You'll find a rainbow of color options suitable for every theme and design you may want for your birthday cake.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 1-1/2 tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Food coloring
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Electric mixer
  • Rubber spatula
  • Wooden spoon
  • Toothpick
  • Small mixing bowls
  • Measure the butter into your mixing bowl and cream until smooth and well blended using the electric mixer on low speed.

  • Add in the vanilla extract and continue blending on low speed.

  • Beat the sugar into the butter mixture slowly and carefully. Scrape down the sides as you go using your spatula.

  • Add the milk and beat on high until the icing is light and fluffy. This is the white icing base that you'll use for coloring.

  • Divide the frosting into smaller bowls based upon the number of colors you will be using. Each bowl will be tinted a different color.

  • Swirl a toothpick in the food coloring, picking up a very small amount. Start small so that you can build up to the desired color.

  • Pass the toothpick through the first bowl of icing, swirling and mixing the dye into the icing. Use the wooden spoon to thoroughly blend the dye into the icing.

  • Repeat Steps 6 and 7 to deepen the color, if desired. Once you have achieved the color you'd like, move on to the next bowl of icing and the next color.

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  • Photo Credit cake image by Andrey Rakhmatullin from
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