I’ve been fascinated with the idea of creating blue food, just because it isn’t common in nature and looks very cool. But no matter how cool something looks, to me, it just isn’t worth eating chemical-filled artificial food colorings for.
Thus I looked into naturally blue foods that could be used as a colorant. I wish blue spirulina and blue matcha were a little cheaper, but unfortunately, they are not. Many can’t afford them in large quantities, and naturally-derived food colorings are either difficult to find, expensive, or non heat-tolerable. Or all three of those.
Enter the magical vegetable – the red cabbage.
Although it looks like another ordinary vegetable, its juice is actually a natural pH indicator. When a neutral element is added, the juice’s color stays the same; when an acid is added, it turns into varying shades of pink; when a base is added, it turns into varying shades of blue. And when a base is added and heated, it turns into various shades of a teal-green color, as seen in the cupcakes below.
In fact, you can even use red cabbage juice to test how alkaline your body is! Simply mix some diluted red cabbage juice and a little of your urine and watch the color sway one way or the other (or stay the same).
For our purposes of achieving a blue color, we need the batter to be alkaline. As we know the pH of baking powder is 7, that of lemon juice is less than 7, and that of baking soda is greater than 7, a balance of lemon juice and baking soda is critical to achieving the color we want. Too much lemon juice will result in a light pink, or too much baking soda will temper with the taste and texture.
Most cupcakes come out of the oven beautifully browned. However, this isn’t desired in our case, as we want to showcase the beautiful turquoise color, as well as preserve as much of the blue as possible (and not have it turn green); to achieve this, the temperature is lowered, and little tanning marks appeared on those cupcakes.
So, after much trial-and-error, I’ve found the perfect pH balance and oven temperature to create a beautifully blue (or rather, turquoise) cupcake. It looks so magical that I named it the pixie cupcake!
After all these paragraphs of explanation (that, frankly, my chemistry teacher should be VERY proud of), I’ve put together a recipe that is surprisingly simple and ticks all the boxes:
✓ a gorgeously blue-green color
✓ an amazing texture
✓ a MAGICALLY ENCHANTED FLAVOR. I don’t know how to describe it, besides the experience being like biting into a ball of pixie dust and unicorn poop.
✓ made from simple, cheap, easy-to-find ingredients!
I promise, this is one you’ll absolutely love if you give it a try. ❤