My kids do not respond well to artificial food colorings. I used to think it was sugar that made them hyper, but then I started to notice that when I baked sweet things like cookies with all-natural ingredients, they didn’t go crazy like they do when they have desserts with artificial food colorings. So I started researching and, sure enough, it turns out that artificial food colorings are really not so good for any of us. Since we don’t buy a lot of pre-packaged foods, it wasn’t too hard to cut them out of our diets….until birthdays came around and they wanted pink or purple frosting on their cake. (Here in Malaysia, we can’t get all-natural food coloring in bottles.)
I was trying to figure out a way to make pretty frosting with no artificial colors when I came across a frosting recipe in Jessica Seinfeld’s book, Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food, an amazing book that has totally revolutionized the way I cook, by the way. Her recipe was for a cream cheese frosting with hidden cauliflower in it. Genius, like the rest of the recipes in this book!
But then, I started to think, “If you can hide cauliflower in frosting, why couldn’t you add foods with bright colors?” And thus began my experimenting to make sneaky frosting! This recipe is fantastic! It has worked for us with beets for a dark pink, mango for a peachy orange, purple Japanese sweet potatoes for an amazing purple, carrots for orange (particularly nice with carrot cake), and red dragonfruit for pink. I can’t get berries here, but I know they would make incredible colors and really tasty frosting! Basically, any fruit or vegetable with some level of sweetness works brilliantly! In the book, The Sneaky Chef by Missy Chase Lapine, recipes for mixed fruit and veggie purees are given by color. These would work really well for this frosting.
It also makes an amazing fruit dip! These pictured were made with red dragonfruit and mango. Aren’t they gorgeous?! You can even make them sugar-free by using powdered stevia or xylitol. (Check out Adrienne’s recipe to make your own powdered sugar substitute!)
- 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese
- ½ cup powdered sugar or sugar substitute
- ¼ cup fruit and/or veggie puree (beets, mango, berries, cauliflower, etc.)
- 2 Tbsp vanilla extract
- ⅛ tsp salt
- Beat everything together until smooth. You can do this in a food processor or with a mixer.
I hope you enjoy this frosting! We love it around here. The kids think it’s a HUGE treat, and I get to be a superhero mom without compromising on nutrition! Hurray!