The 5 year old in me has always been drawn to bright colors. I think there was even a point in my life where I said my favorite color was “rainbow.” Truth be told, I am terribly mesmerized by the bright rainbow layer cakes I’ve seen all over pinterest. I want one!
So I’ve always looked at artificial food coloring with a nonchalant attitude. I know they can’t be good for you, but can they really be that bad? What’s the harm in a little technicolor icing on the occasional birthday cake? Everything in moderation, I say.
But the more I read about artificial colors, the more I start to question. The latest issue of Fine Cooking — yes, a mainstream publication —recently featured an article by Ellie Krieger on the hidden dangers of food coloring. Ingredients in food dyes have been associated with cancer, allergies, and organ toxicity. Some recent studies have also revealed a connection to hyperactivity in children.
So when it came time to bake some St. Patrick’s day cupcakes, it was a little difficult to justify unnaturally bright sprinkles or dyes. But how can you make cupcakes for St. Patrick’s day without a little green?
To achieve the colors in her recipe, Ellie Krieger looks to nature — some raspberry puree, grape juice, matcha powder, etc all provide lovely pastel shades.
I was also able to find natural food dyes at my local grocery store: http://www.indiatree.com/.
For St. Patrick’s day, of course I had to use this chocolate stout cupcake recipe with Swiss buttercream frosting. Yum!
The colors were not as saturated as artificial dyes. This made my inner 5-year old sad. But it probably also made my inner 5-year old less prone to hyperactivity too. Well worth the trade-off in my opinion!