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3 Tricks for Red Frosting

Here are three tricks to make super bold and bright red frosting!

How to make red frosting

To make red frosting you'll need red food colouring. Use gel colour rather than the liquids you buy in the supermarket or grocery store because gels are much more concentrated. This means brighter colours without watering down your frosting and making it too runny. I like to buy red gel in larger bottles than other colours because it's the colour that requires the most gel.

red gel colour for red frosting

Start with a generous squirt and mix it into your frosting. I'm using my 4 Minute Buttercream in this tutorial and I use it for all of my cakes. Aim for a light shade of red to start with, not a true red. For a bright red there are three tricks to develop the colour without using more gel.

Three tricks for red frosting

Let's divide this frosting into three bowls to compare the three methods. Here's a sneak preview of the final results for those three bowls! Now I'll show you the method for each bowl.

3 tricks for red frosting british girl bakes

1. Resting method

The first way to make a brighter red is the resting method. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it for at least an hour to give the colour a chance to develop. The colour will darker a few shades in this time. Depending on how dark the colour was to begin with, It might not be a true deep red yet.

resting method for red buttercream frosting

2. Chilling method

The second method is the chilling method. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it into the freezer for 15 minutes. This frosting develops just as much in 15 minutes as the red frosting that was at room temperature for an hour! Chilling the frosting speeds up the darkening process significantly.

freezer method for red buttercream frosting

3. Microwave method for red frosting

The third method is the microwave method. Scoop out a third of the frosting and microwave it for just 10 seconds. The butter in the buttercream will melt and the frosting will become very runny. It will also become much brighter and darker! Mix it into the rest of the red buttercream and the consistency will be runny at first. Let it come to room temperature and you'll be shocked at what happens.

microwave method for red frosting

The colour of the red frosting has become much darker and brighter. After 10 minutes on the counter, the frosting comes back to room temperature and the consistency is perfect! It's smooth and silky like it should be. This can now be used for frosting a cake or piping.

bright red frosting using the microwave
red buttercream frosting for cakes

What's the best way to make red frosting?

As you've seen, chilling red frosting in the freezer for 15 minutes and resting on the counter for an hour have the same effect of slightly darkening the red colour. To take your buttercream from a medium shade of red all the way to a truly bright and bold red, use the microwave method.

how to make bright red frosting

How to make red frosting that doesn't taste bitter

The final trick to share is how to avoid the bitter taste that gel colours create. Since you need to use a lot of gel for red frosting, it typically does have a noticeable flavour. Add some clear vanilla or almond extract and you'll disguise any bitterness without changing the colour!

red frosting that isn't bitter

I hope this tutorial has been useful. Visit my cake school for hundreds of cake decorating techniques and designs. Thanks for watching!

You can also watch a video of this tutorial on how to make red frosting:

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2 comments on “3 Tricks for Red Frosting”

    1. As far as I know, you'll need some type of dye to make a bright red. I believe there are natural colours available but haven't tried them yet!

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