I use Swiss Meringue Buttercream (SMBC) to cover my cakes. Whenever i colour them the colours always come out very pastel/light. I can sometimes get slightly more intense colour by adding black or adding enough that you can taste the colouring which is not ideal.

For example, i will need to make one soon that has a burgundy section. Based on my current abilities it would probably by quite pink-y.

What am I doing wrong? Is there a specific type of colouring I should use for SMBC? Or a technique i'm not aware of or something?

Thanks! (ps if it make a difference i am UK based)

2 Answers 2


What you're trying is quite difficult, because buttercream is a foam, and foams are generally whitish due to the laws of physics.

The best you can do is to buy specialized food coloring meant for patisserie, produced by reputable brands. This food coloring is much more concentrated than the stuff sold in the supermarket, to the point that for most purposes I add it to my food with a toothpick. For your purpose (intense colors in buttercream) you will probably have to add it by the knifetip rather than the toothpick tip, but it should work.

It's a somewhat expensive way to go, but the results are gorgeous, and the bottles last forever unless you're baking in commercial quantities. It's a good idea to invest in the exact shade you want, because at these concentrations, it's very difficult to premix a shade and then color with it.


Use an immersion blender after adding the food coloring and it will brighten the color! Takes time and patience, but works really well.

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