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Do you have to go colorless when avoiding artificial colors?
 
The NYTimes recently ran an article called "Colorless Food?  We Blanch", claiming nobody would want to eat food anymore if manufacturers didn't use artificial colors.   It was a little ridiculous.   One response to it is found here.

Yesterday I needed to make a pink and purple unicorn cake for my daughter.  And one extra detail- no artificial colors, or one son couldn’t have any of the cake.  At least not with any frosting.

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My husband now has a new favorite frosting, as does a neighbour who stopped by:  Fluffy Blueberry Cheesecake Frosting, which was my answer to needing a purple mane, tail, and border. 

(If you just want the frosting recipe, go to the bottom of this post.  To read about making a non-artificial pink-and-purple unicorn, read on. :-)



To make the basic pony part, I greased a pony-shaped cake pan, mixed up 4 cups of liquid with enough gelatin, and let it set up in the fridge.  I use unflavored gelatin; Knox comes that way in packets, but I buy it in the bulk section of a local health food store.  To make the pony pink, I used fruit punch as 3 cups of the liquid, and 1 cup sour cream (or plain yogurt; I used kefir ‘cause that’s what was in the fridge!) to make it opaque pink instead of transparent red.  Use twice as much gelatin as you would normally; otherwise it will fall apart when you flip it out of the pan. (Mine did, thus the recommendation to double the gelatin!)  It might anyway, but at least you’ll be upping the chance for success.

I baked a rectangular cake big enough for the pony to fit on and frosted it with Fluffy Cheesecake Frosting.   I set the pony pan in a sink of hot water for just a couple seconds, then flipped the pan over the cake so the pony landed in the right place.  Then I decorated with the purple frosting, and carved a horn out of a stick of jicama.  (I was going to use the tip of an ice cream cone, but we were having jicama for dinner.)  Voile!  Everyone’s happy!

Fluffy Blueberry Cheesecake Frosting- makes about 2 1/2 cups
(See here for Strawberry Cheesecake Frosting)
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (or 6 oz. other berries)
½ c. sugar
1 Tbsp. Ultra Gel
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 oz butter, softened
½ tsp. vanilla 

Combine blueberries and sugar; either puree them in a blender until smooth, OR cook and stir until boiling; cool.   Beat cream cheese until smooth, add butter, sugar, blueberry mixture (cooled if you cooked it),  Ultra Gel, and vanilla.  Beat until smooth and fluffy.  Let stand 5 minutes. 

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Ultra Gel needs five minutes to fully absorb liquid; that’s why I’ve added the 5-minute wait time.  These frostings are easy to adjust- if too thick or pasty, add a little (1-2 tsp.) water, or as needed.  If too thin, sprinkle on another 1 tsp. Ultra Gel and beat it in. 


The cream cheese frosting recipe I tweaked to get this, above, as well as the white base layer:

No-cook “cooked”
Fluffy Cheesecake Frosting
½ c. sugar

1 Tbsp. Ultra Gel
8 oz. cream cheese
4 oz butter (1 stick), softened
¼ c. milk
½ tsp. vanilla

Stir together sugar and Ultra Gel, set aside.  Beat cream cheese until smooth, add butter, milk, vanilla, and sugar mixture.  Beat until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes.

 

Another variation I’ve come up with, in case you don't use table sugar at your house:

Fluffy Honey –Cheesecake Frosting

8 oz. cream cheese
4 oz. butter, softened
1/3 cup honey
3 T. water, milk, or cream
½ tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. Ultra Gel

Beat cream cheese until smooth; add butter, honey, water, and vanilla.  Sprinkle the Ultra Gel  on top, then beat all until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes.

 


Comments

Laura
06/24/2011 04:28

Rhonda,
You are amazing!! I printed-out this post to add to my file!
Laura

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