When decorating cookies, cakes or other treats that require shades of gold food coloring in the form of gold frosting, there are a few tips and tricks to achieving the perfect color. By adding a little shimmer with luster dust, a wide array of golds can be achieved while making the decoration look a little less artificial. By adding more dark food coloring to the mix, such as red or even orange, the overall color will darken as well. Use caution, however, as dark food coloring can add a bitter aftertaste.

How to Make Gold-Colored Frosting

The best way to make gold-colored frosting to decorate cookies, cupcakes or large cakes is to start with 2 cups of white buttercream frosting. Hold 1 cup back for color corrections and empty the other cup into a medium, white mixing bowl with six drops of yellow liquid food coloring. Add another drop of orange liquid food coloring.

Mix thoroughly to ensure all of the white frosting is combined to avoid patches of white. For a deeper gold, add half a drop of orange and another two drops of yellow. If the color gets too dark, add 1 tablespoon at a time of the remaining white frosting to lighten it.

Mixing the Right Color

To make sure you get the color you desire, make a small test batch of frosting and food coloring to find the right combination of yellow and orange. If your liquid food colorings do not include orange, simply make it by combining equal drops of red and yellow in a small, white bowl. Try making a buttercream color chart with various frosting and food-color combinations until you find the exact color you want.

Always start small when mixing frosting colors. If the color is not exactly what you wanted and you desire a darker color, add half a drop of yellow or orange, depending on the direction you want the color to take, until the right shade is reached.

For gel food coloring, begin with 1/4 teaspoon of yellow coloring and add 1/8 teaspoon of orange coloring, slowly adding more as necessary. Again, less is better until the perfect shade is found.

How to Make Icing Metallic

To make truly metallic gold decorations, use royal icing, as it hardens quicker and creates a smooth surface for painting the metallic mixture onto the baked good. Royal icing can be piped onto softer frostings as detail work that can then be painted a metallic gold color too.

Use luster dust, which comes in a wide range of colors and shades of gold. Always mix the luster dust with an alcohol base such as vodka or a flavor of extract to make the edible, metallic-gold-colored paint.

Use a small paintbrush for fine, detail-oriented work on decorations. For larger areas, use a wider brush. Layers of the metallic paint can be added one on top of another until you reach the desired look, but allow each layer to dry before adding another. Thanks to the alcohol base, the drying time is short.

Shades of Gold

To create other shades of metallic gold such as bronze or rose gold in addition to a true, shiny gold, use a variety of color combinations with the luster dust. For bronze or copper, add a little bit of brown food coloring to a yellow icing. Brown food coloring can be made by mixing equal amounts of red, blue and yellow food colors in a white dish. Use the gold luster dust to paint over the icing to create the right color combination.

Rose gold can also be made with gold-color metallic paint to add layers to a light pink icing. To make an antique-looking gold, paint the gold luster dust over brown icing. If the color is too much, use a clean paintbrush to swipe plain vodka over the last layer of metallic paint. This acts as a paint thinner and will remove some of the shiny finish.

About the Author

Molly Harris

Molly is a freelance journalist and social media consultant. In addition to Leaf.tv, Molly has written for Teen Vogue and Paste magazine. She is the former assistant editor of the Design and Style section of Paste magazine. View her work at www.mmollyharris.com.