Monday, February 14, 2011

Pink Icing & Pink Lemonade

Happy Valentine's Day!

If I could make everyone in the world a cupcake today, it would be like this chocolate cupcakes with a beautiful, natural pink icing.

I avoid artificial colours and won't pay the price of the store bought "more natural" colours, so this icing is made with beet juice. Guess what? You can't even tell! The sweetness of the beet blends in so nicely with the icing.

This beet experimentation began when my daughter asked for pink lemonade. Thinking out loud: Pink lemonade? But we have never had pink lemonade. It must be that book she read. Regardless, I was determined to make her a natural pink lemonade. I checked the ingredients label on the sister-smuggled pink food colouring from the UK. It read: beet juice, water. Doesn't sound too hard, does it?

Today will be pinkalicious day in our house...everything will be pink today because of this experiment. This morning we will be trying pink milk and pink cream cheese on toast, later in the day maybe some pink lemonade, pink pasta and some beet hearts. The lovely cupcakes are off to the school Valentine's Party.

Want to join in the fun? All you need is a little bitty beet.

All Natural Beet Food Colouring
You could keep this colour sealed in your fridge for a few days, or freeze in ice cube trays to use later.

1 small beet or part of a larger one, peeled
1/2 cup water
cheesecloth or very fine-meshed strainer (like a tea strainer)

1. Finely grate the beet to fill a 1/2 cup measure. Add to 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil.
2. Remove from heat. Strain through double layer cheesecloth into jam jar. Cover and refridgerate until use.

Pink (Beet) Lemonade
There are two ways to make this. Add the beet colouring at the end until it reaches the colour you desire, or throw a beet into the sugar water as it comes to a boil and then remove it.

1 cup cane sugar
1 cup water
4 lemons, juiced
beet colouring or 1 beet, peeled

1. Bring sugar and water to a low boil until sugar is dissolved. (Add peeled beet, if desired).
2. Add to juiced lemons in a large pitcher and fill with cold water. (Add beet colour if desired).

Pink (Beet) Icing
You can add the beet colouring to any white icing recipe, but this one is easy and quick!

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups icing sugar
1-2 tsp vanilla, to taste
2-4 tbsp beet colouring, or to colour desired

1. Beat softened butter and icing sugar together until smooth.
2. Add vanilla and colouring as desired.
3. Spread immediately on cake or cupcakes and refridgerate until an hour before use.