Blood Orange Icing (a.k.a. how to make pretty pink icing without using artificial colours)

Gluten Free Cupcakes with all natural pink icing

Gluten Free Cupcakes with all natural pink icing

My daughter is sensitive to red food colouring – as are many kids! For some reason New Zealand still allows artificial food colouring agents to be sold here that are banned in many parts of Europe. I’ve been doing more research (as you might have noticed from the post on why to be cautious about annatto as a colouring agent) and am experimenting with natural food colours.

One way to make pink icing is to use beetroot juice but I’m not a big fan of beetroot so instead decided to make a Blood Orange icing that has a beautifully delicate berry flavour and uses fruit tea!

The secret ingredient to this icing mix is Blood Orange fruit tea which uses a mix of

  • Hibiscus
  • Apple
  • Rosehips
  • Natural Flavouring
  • Stevia
  • Orange Peel

Not only do you get to make icing but you can also make yourself a cuppa in the process. Incidentally, this tea is also lovely cold, with sparkling water, or in fruit punch. You could also experiment with other fruit teas (like Blueberry & Blackcurrant) to make other colours.


  • 50g Butter or allergy free spread (i.e. Nuttelex)
  • 1c icing sugar
  • Blood Orange tea bag
  • Hot water

Allergies: gluten free, dairy free*, egg free, soy free, nut free.


  1. In a mug steep the Blood Orange tea bag in a small amount of boiling water (i.e. about 50 ml). Allow it to cool and it should have a concentrated deep red colour.
  2. Cream the butter and icing sugar.
  3. Slowly add the (cooled) blood-orange-water to the mix until you have the colour and consistency that you desire. (Add more icing sugar if needed).
  4. Ice your cupcakes (like these Gluten Free cupcakes!)

Note: You can also make this with just icing sugar and the Blood Orange mix to make a darker colour.



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