I had picked up a new kind of frosting the other day, that has no hydrogenated oils; it uses palm oil instead. I wanted to try it out, and also wanted to experiment with coloring it using fruit juice instead of food dye. Some days earlier I had picked up a spice cake mix that has no dairy. Putting these ideas together gave me motivation for a birthday cake. But a large cake is so difficult to store. So I made cupcakes.
The frosting... is weird. It's possible I'm just not acclimated to dense sugar anymore, since I very rarely have sweets or baked goods. But I think it was overall rather intense, much more so than 'normal' frosting. And the oils don't entirely settle right in my belly. That flavor was fairly okay.
Coloring it with fruit juice worked; though I got better results out of a bright-red juice blend than I did out of a more murky purple watery blend. Both went pink, but the one with red raspberry and boysenberry was much brighter, and the flavor came through nicely. I did discover that I have to be careful not to add too much, or the frosting gets watery. I wish I'd had blackberries (actual berries) or black raspberries (out of season, and can't get them in stores anyway) on hand to make a purple tint. Blueberries might do in a pinch but I have a feeling they're not intense enough.
Yes - I am in fact trying to make my junk food be "good for me" by eliminating hydrogenated oils and chemical colorings. More importantly I'm trying to make my junk food not give me a belly ache. :)
The spice cupcakes themselves came out quite well. And after they cooled, I put most of them in ziploc bags in the freezer, since I don't want that much sugar in the next few days. I should have snacks for a couple months this way. Ok, maybe one month; it was only a single batch.
I like experimenting in the kitchen. :)
Something else I may try in the future, for using fruit juice as coloring, is to boil it down a bit further first, into more of a syrup. Then I can add more without it watering down my frosting.
I do still need to find a different frosting base. This one has corn syrup, which I don't want, and the palm oil just doesn't quite sit right with me. Plus I had to use it very very thin, more like a thin glaze, to avoid overwhelming the cupcakes. It's also a somewhat lumpy frosting.
Fruit juice made really nice pastel tints though!