Hansells Colour Tips


The intensity of food colours can be influenced a number of things. Ingredients such as lemon juice and cream of tartar will cause colours to change, so be wary when colouring anything containing acidic ingredients.

Also, colours can deepen or lighten in some icing choices. So keep in mind when making royal icing that your current shade will lighten as it dries and coloured buttercream will deepen as it sits. We find if you’re after a specific colour match, it’s best to stop colouring a shade or two before your desired colour.

Another handy tip is to mix colour in daylight so you can see the true color of the icing, as fluorescent lighting can make your icing appear slightly warmer or cooler than it actually is!

Always begin mixing your food coloring in small amounts and build the colour from there. It’s a lot easier to add additional colour than it is to remove it. So start small and adjust as you go!

Sometimes adding colour isn’t as easy as mixing it into your batter. Mastering the right techniques for the material you are using is key to making the perfect colour.

When mixing Hansells colours into fondant, we find that the best way is to fold it in. Make a well in the centre, add the colour, and fold the fondant over and over on itself until incorporated. Similar to colour deepening in buttercream, you’ll want to let your fondant it for 10-15 minutes to let the colour develop before adding additional colour.

If you’re adding a lot of colour to create extra bright fondant, it’s best to add a little icing sugar to prevent your fondant from getting too sticky.

Ideally it is best to add all liquids to your buttercream at the same time, limiting the amount of air bubbles mixed into your buttercream, giving you a smoother result when spreading or piping. So make sure to add your food colour along with any extracts, essences or flavorings you might be using.

When mixing darker colours such as brown shades, black and deeper red shades try starting with a chocolate buttercream, this will reduce the amount of colour you’ll need to achieve that darker hue.

We find it easiest to mix up big batches of plain or white royal icing, and tint the colours we need before adjusting consistencies and adding to piping bags. The more colour you add the more icing sugar you may need to adjust the consistency.

Make sure to cover the bowls with cling film or a damp cloth while making each colours to prevent icing from setting and going lumpy.