Healthy Icing and Natural Food Colouring

Healthy Icing and Natural Food Colouring

As you may have seen in last weeks post, I made my little 1 year old some truly sugar free (and healthy) chocolate cupcakes for her birthday. I was planning on leaving it at that, as I know she loves these cupcakes and would be content to have just that as her birthday cake. But, the crafty part of me got the better of this party and I ended up making her homemade sugar free icing naturally dyed in four different colours that was healthy!

Having an open mind is important

Before my daughter was born I fully admit that I thought 1st birthdays were kind of silly. I mean all this effort to throw a party for a baby? Who doesn’t even know it’s their birthday? Seems a little ridiculous. Even a few months before the date approached I encouraged my husband to book a trip the weekend of her birthday, telling him “it doesn’t matter, we can celebrate any day. She doesn’t know!”

But about a month before her birthday arrived I starting getting a little excited about the prospect of her turning 1. There were so many milestones that first year and so much had changed. We had both learned and grown in so many ways, it felt like we needed to celebrate it. Perfect, a small birthday with just cake and maybe a few snacks. Easy peasy, no hassle and no stress.

Or so we thought…

Well we ended up having a Harry Potter themed party, and being a bit of a fan (I’ve read the books about 20 times I think, I’ve lost count), I may have gone slightly overboard! We only invited family, but we still had 21 people there. We had white balloons that we drew Hedwigs on to ‘send a letter to our daughter on her 18th birthday,’ Harry Potter themed food (more on that next week!), a potion making station, a “game of quidditch” and, the reason for aforementioned icing, sorting hat cupcakes! It. Was. Awesome.

The sorting hat cupcakes were a huge hit and they were probably my favourite part of the whole party. For most of the guests we made classic vanilla cupcakes from scratch with cream cheese icing. Be under no allusions, these were not healthy cupcakes! But the rest of the food at the party was healthy and it’s a birthday, right?!

Sorting Hat Cupcakes

To make these fun cupcakes you colour four batches of icing. There’s blue for Ravenclaw, green for Slytherin, red for Gryffindor, and yellow for Hufflepuff. Then you scoop out the top of a cooled cupcake, put a dollop of icing in, and replace the top of the cupcake. We then iced the cupcakes, placed a chocolate covered cookie on top, and plopped a Hershey’s kiss onto the cookie to make it look like a sorting hat. When our guests bit into their cupcake it revealed what house they were in! They put on their house ties and we went outside for a game of quidditch (Ravenclaw won).

For our daughter we weren’t very keen on her having a bunch of sugar, so I searched for some alternate icing options. I actually came across quite a few, and she absolutely loved the one I tried. You can find the recipe here.

I figured I would add the maple syrup last so I could sweeten it to taste. But when my daughter tried it before any sweetener was added, she couldn’t get enough! So I figured why add anything if she loves it the way it is?! Full disclosure, I didn’t love this icing. I think it was the texture, it just didn’t seem like icing to me. But luckily the kiddo has no qualms about what icing is ‘supposed to’ feel like yet!

Get Creative

Once I had determined that she loved the icing I thought I would try and colour it naturally. This wasn’t initially the plan, but I realized I probably had all the things I needed already, so why not give it a go? I used turmeric for the yellow, spirulina for the green, a strawberry for the red, and a blackberry for the blue.

All in all, I was pretty happy with how they turned out! I do think you could make more vibrant colours for the blue and the red. I’m thinking maybe raspberries for the red as they would mix easier, and a bit of the water from boiled beets might make a nice purple colour. But I didn’t have any of that on hand, and her party was starting in a few hours, so I worked with what I had.

As I said, these cupcakes were my favourite part of the party. When we put all four of them in front of her I was so excited! Upon the big reveal, looks like I’ll be raising a little Hufflepuff! And she’ll be raised by a Gryffindor dad and a Slytherin mom.. breaking down all the barriers, this family!

In the end I’m delighted we threw her a first birthday party and I (I mean she..) had a great time. And more importantly, I had a great time planning and preparing for it! My sister-in-law, me, 80’s music, glue guns, my daughter playing with balloons, baking and singing and laughing. Not a bad way to spend a weekend.

What about you? Have you ever tried healthy icing that you liked?  Ever used anything unconventional for food colouring? 

Share your experiences with us, we’d love to hear about them!

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Until next time, stay happy, healthy and hungry for improvement!


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