Last week I took my kids to one of their friend’s birthday party. When the time arrived for cake, all the kids lined up to get some. As the birthday boy’s mother passed out slices, Chloe, who had been quietly waiting for her piece asked, “is there food coloring in that?” During the awkward silence that resulted as the mom processed that this inquiry was made by a three year-old, I was overcome by equal parts horror and pride.
Although I tell my kids that food coloring isn’t good for their bodies, I’m hardly militant about them consuming it. In fact, I tend to treat birthday parties like Vegas_ whatever happens there, stays there. Juice boxes, brightly colored cakes, even cheese puffs are fine by me on special occasions. Yet in spite of my flexibility on the issue, both of my kids completely avoid artificial food coloring.
I still love brightly colored desserts and these cupcakes are one of my new faves. The cake has an intense lemon flavor while the icing is a vibrant blueish-purple free of any artificial dyes. When Kenya skeptically asked me how the icing got so blue, I was overjoyed to tell him it was only from blueberries. He brought some to school one day and as he proudly passed the bite-sized cakes out to his friends he told them, “there’s no food coloring in these!”
Never underestimate how far your kids will go with a little bit of knowledge!
Lemon Cupcakes with Blueberry Icing_ A Cupcake to Dye For
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 large lemons (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, defrosted