Simple, Fun Halloween Recipes that are Artificial Dye Free

These 3 Artificial-Dye Free Halloween Treats are Wickedly Easy to Make!
You won’t have to trick your little monsters into avoiding treats for Halloween. These artificial dye-free sweets are fun to make with your little goblins and ghouls!

Click on image for recipe.

A ColorKitchen Family Birthday

When my dad’s fiancé asked me to bake a cake for my parents 75th birthday celebration with ColorKitchen’s new Red Velvet Gluten-free Cake Mix, I have to say I was nervous. Being the owner of a natural food color and baking products company, one would assume I know how to bake.

red velvet gluten-free

It was an important celebration. Both my parents (divorced) have birthdays close together and all the kids and their significant-others were gathering for this special day. My mom and sister are celiac, so the cake needed to be gluten-free.

Being hypoglycemic and having food allergies myself, I’m always on the lookout for low-sugar and healthy, natural desserts. This quest has not however included learning how to bake or decorate sweets.

I practiced frosting the cake with nearly a dozen red velvet mixes in preparation for the special day. I tried all the tricks: freezing the cake before frosting, flouring the pan, warming the frosting, piping the sides of the cake before smoothing, but nothing seemed to work. After many attempts, I found the trick was really just a no-stick pan that kept the cake from crumbing, combined with a warmed frosting.

While I was so proud to be able to finally frost a respectable cake, I decided to go with Red Velvet mini cakes (or cakelettes as we named them), with a cream cheese frosting, topped with fresh lavender from the garden, edible stars and some sanding sugar.

I was proud to be able to share a better-for-you cake that I developed, incorporating my love for natural color (red from beets and turmeric), and organic, gluten-free, and non-GMO ingredients.

Everyone loved the mini-cakes, especially my dad’s fiancé from Louisiana, where southerners are known to particularly love their red velvet!

-Ashley, CEO and Founder of ColorKitchen


Naturally Vibrant And Colorful Cakes, A Healthy Vegan Choice 

With all the brightly colored fruit and veg readily available and packed with natural colors, it never has been easier to boost your health with the best nutrients, even if you’re vegan, whilst indulging in your favorite sweet treat!

Beautifully colored party cakes and bright cupcakes with colorful piped icing used to come at a price, that price being to forego healthy eating by consuming artificial colorings.  This is no longer the case. Cakes can be colorful with luscious, fluffy icing whilst remaining committed to your healthy eating diet by using beautiful, vibrant, natural, plant-based food colors.  These rich ‘colors of nature’ include, for example, annatto, turmeric and beetroot as ingredients, each being otherwise known as a vegan food that provides great health benefits.


Healthy switch example

For example, you may wish to make blue cakes.  Once, the only option was to reach for the blue artificial coloring.  Artificial colors have been associated with brain tumors and other health issues, many of which are banned across Europe.  It’s not a difficult decision to make to instead choose a beautiful, natural color such as one based on spirulina extract which is known to be a vegan superfood, but not only that, it also makes the most vibrant and colorful icing

Sometimes there may be a little compromise on the performance of the color, as natural colors are heat sensitive, so you may wish to use them in frostings and icings or low heat recipes, like mini cupcakes with a shorter baking time.  This really is a small price to pay for party cakes that are natural and vegan.

Celebration cakes for vegans

Whether you are just having an afternoon at home cooking and baking for the family or making preparations for a party with vegan guests, you will be happy to be using your natural and healthy food colors.  You can be sure your party will be vegan-friendly too with recipes like our vegan frosting, alongside all the amazing ‘party-bright’ colors. 

Healthy cakes, flavorings can be natural too

Don’t compromise on flavor in the quest to be totally natural, healthy and vegan.  For best flavor and optimum healthy benefits, always choose a food flavoring made from a natural plant based extract.  The artificial ones are harmful and unhealthy just like artificial colorings, and are best avoided.  Plant extracts provide an intense but truly natural and healthy flavor to your recipe as well as being vegan.  There are so many to choose from including apricot, banana and almond to name a few.

All natural for a healthy, vegan life

These days, we all know about the amazing health benefits of eating fruit and vegetables which provide us with a plentiful supply of disease-fighting antioxidants.  Who would have thought iced colorful cakes could also be included on our list of foods to bring health and happiness to the family? Time spent in the kitchen has never been more beneficial and rewarding.

-by Jackie Gardener, freelance writer


A Better Shade of Red (Velvet)-Gluten-Free Red Velvet Cake Mix


Originally, red velvet cakes weren’t dyed red. According to a Business Insider report, their color—which used to be more deep maroon than bright red—came naturally as a result of the chemical reaction achieved by combining the buttermilk, vinegar and cocoa powder that typically go in them. It was not until a food coloring company called Adams Extract ran a marketing campaign pushing the use of more artificial coloring in food that the popular Red 40 became part of the official ingredients list for the cake. Unfortunately, artificial food dyes, in general, are not the healthiest things. The good news, however, is that you don’t really have to use them. Instead, you can achieve the same results using natural food dyes.

The dangers of artificial food coloring
The main problem with using Red 40 in your red velvet recipe is that it’s been linked to health issues like hives, hypersensitivity, hyperactivity and even cancer according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). To make matters worse, in some tests conducted on mice, the dye actually caused DNA damage. But if artificial food dyes are so dangerous, why are they still being used? Well, for the longest time, it was because they were the most convenient and cost-effective option for most people. Fortunately, things have started to change.

Enter: natural food coloring
The thing is, the colors artificial dyes come in can actually be found in nature. Instead of Red 40, for instance, you can use hibiscus flowers, red beets, pomegranates or cranberries to add more color to your red velvet cake. Don’t worry if you don’t have the time to convert these ingredients into actual usable dyes. You can easily get ready-made versions like the ones by ColorKitchen. The great thing about them is that they’re not only 100% natural, but also non-GMO and gluten-free.

But why should you care whether the products that you are consuming are non-GMO and gluten-free? Well, studies have shown that the former typically contains more antioxidants while the latter helps people who are particularly sensitive to gluten avoid health conditions like bloating, fatigue, diarrhea and all sorts of allergic reactions. So, if you’re looking for an eating plan that doesn’t cause more problems than it solves, then non-GMO and gluten-free may be a good place to start.

More than dyes
But why stop at just food dyes? If you wish to get more creative with your red velvet cake, then you can also add things like colored sprinkles to the mix. Adding pops of color is a great way to add your own unique spin on this classic favorite and make it even more special. Don’t worry because stores like ColorKitchen also makes 100% natural ones that you can use. They also have seasonal shapes like hearts and Christmas trees, so you can make your cake as festive as you want.

Have your cake and eat healthy too
Everybody loves a good red velvet cake. But do you really have to sacrifice your health to enjoy a slice? Well, by substituting natural dyes for the harmful Red 40, you no longer have to. Throw in more nutrient-rich ingredients like soy flour and maybe even some all-natural zero-calorie sweeteners into the mix and you have the perfect guilt-free dessert.

-by Jackie Gardener, freelance writer