Are there any techniques which I can use to get the colour of strawberries condensed in a way that doesn't contain the flavour?

I am looking to colour cakes in particular with a more natural alternative to bottled colouring agents without affecting the flavour and thought strawberries might be a good place to start!

  • 6
    No, strawberries are a bad place to start, they don't have nearly enough color. Try beets or elderberry, but be aware that their red is slightly purplish.
    – rumtscho
    Commented May 17, 2012 at 13:09
  • Cochineal is entirely natural and produces a vivid red. It is made from the shells of beetles. Commented May 17, 2012 at 14:51

3 Answers 3


As the comments seem to suggest, making food coloring from strawberries is generally not done because there is not enough red pigment in the strawberries to develop a concentrated red dye.

Food dyes generally need to be really concentrated to provide the coloration without introducing too much liquid(especially in baked goods). It seems unlikely or at least very impractical to concentrate the pigment enough to be useable as food coloring (unless you want a pale pink).

In this article, someone makes a dye from strawberries to dye yarn: http://knitting.about.com/od/dyeingyarn/ss/Dyeing-Yarn-With-Strawberries.htm by boiling strawberries and then simmering for 20 minutes. But the concentration of the dye needed to dye yarn is much less than what would be need to dye cake. The dye would introduce way too much liquid in the cake before it can really dye the cake the vibrant red. It seems likely that if you boil down the strawberry liquid enough, you might be able to produce a dye that gives a light pink but nowhere near the bright red that you seem to want.


Could get some color into the cake by macerating strawberries in a cake recipe's entire sugar quantity. Strain and weigh the resulting liquid. the additional liquid has to be subtracted from recipe too.

Problem there is that sugar is a good flavor vehicle...

Tomato? There are those crazy old-fashioned red velvet cakes. Could also try beautifully ripe red bellpeppers (chilli peppers work too, ouch) either as a puree or used to stain the recipe's fat/oil/butter.

Nothing above is even close to commercial colors in that consistency or flavor is influenced but maybe you will find a combination that satisfies you. I'm still looking for a natural orange for kids Halloween!


I have had success making a naturally dyed pink cake...

  1. Puree

The color with raspberries is better, but I have used strawberry puree too. The recipes with puree (even simmered, reduced, and strained) always seem a bit too wet in the end, to me. What a sad waste of good ingredients. Here are the posts on my blog of cake with raspberry puree and one with strawberry puree. The people I fed liked it, the flavor was very pleasant. But, I wasn't totally pleased with the texture.

  1. Freeze Dried Strawberries/Raspberries

Again the color with raspberries is a little bit more strong, but both work! To color the batter I processed the fruit in a blender until powdered. Then, I sifted the powder to remove any seeds or larger pieces. Finally, I added the sifted powder to the dry ingredients of a white cake recipe. This is my preferred method (over puree). I also posted the results of this process on my blog.

One last thing...do not bother with fresh beets. I have not tried using canned, but the fresh beets DO NOT WORK. I tried it many ways, pureed, steeped in the wet ingredients then strained, I made a very acidic batter hoping that would help...none of it worked. They also tasted faintly dirty. Blegh. Every time the batter would be gorgeously pink, but, like a sick magic trick, the color would cook out.

I would still love to find a way to make a pink cake that is very intense, but the powdered freeze dried fruit does result in a pretty, soft pink. I hope this helps!

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