Maybe you want to create a mouse. Maybe you're out to design a house. For whatever reason you want to make gray icing, food-coloring experts can easily tell you how to make it happen. What if it isn't quite the shade for which you were looking? With the array of food colors and types available, an artistic flair and a bit of determination, you can get any shade of gray you want.
Making Gray Icing
Someone probably makes gray food coloring that could easily make gray icing, but why spend money on gray food coloring when it's so easy to make the color yourself?
Food-coloring experts advise making gray by combining one part black and one part blue. This will work whether you use liquid, gel or paste food coloring. Although you could mix your own black, it takes a lot of different colors and a lot of food coloring to make such a deep color, and all that food color can make your icing bitter and still not be the black you want.
Black is a good food coloring in which to invest because you can use it to add the little details when you need it, and a dot of black will help turn many colors darker. For example, another way to make gray icing is to just add a dot of black to white icing – a very small dot – and you'll find that it will make the white icing a realistic shade of gray.
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Working With Food Coloring
Food coloring comes in liquid, gel and paste forms. There are pros and cons for using each:
- Liquid food coloring comes out in drops, so it's easy to count the drops when coloring icing. However, liquid food coloring dilutes your frosting, and adding a lot of it will make your frosting too runny.
- Gel food coloring is popular because it won't dilute your icing. However, gel food coloring does not come out in easy-to-count drops, so you need to be sure to add the same amount of each color.
- Paste food coloring is ideal for creating deep colors. The more paste color you add, the deeper the icing color becomes. However, such dark colors will stain skin and clothing and more, so be very careful when working with them.
Using Grey Icing
Since grey is a somber color – not bright like yellow or orange – it's best to use it sparingly, such as when adding detail like gray hair, coat buttons or a cat's whiskers. Ways of striping are:
- Paint a stripe of gray icing down opposite sides of a decorating bag. Fill the bag with white or another color of icing.
- For more intense color, do the same with food coloring that you have tinted gray using blue and black coloring. Then, fill the bag with white or another color of icing.
- Fill one side of the decorating bag with gray icing. This works best if you lay the bag on its side. Pile another color of icing on top of the gray, being sure to fill all the way to the tip and about 2 inches from the end of the bag so you can hold it shut while decorating with the bag.
Tips from the Pros
Just as one color can change the color of another, color can also change other aspects of icing. Therefore, follow the tips the pros know:
- Lemon juice and cream of tartar affect the color of icing. If your icing recipe calls for either of these ingredients, leave it out.
- Icing changes color over time. Color your icing two hours before decorating with it so you can be sure the color is still to your liking.
- Color all the icing you'll need at one time because it's difficult to get the exact same color the second time.
Barbara Bean-Mellinger is a freelance writer who lives in the Washington, D.C. area and writes about food for eHow.com and leaf.tv. She started baking on her own at age nine, creating appetizers at 10, and making family meals by 14. Barbara holds a B.S. from the University of Pittsburgh, where she often cooked elaborate meals and desserts for friends.