I recently attended a birthday dinner for a dear friend.  The food was amazing and deserves a post on it’s own, but the strawberry cake truly stole the show…the petal pink color was pure perfection and lucky for us tasted as lovely as it looked.  Apparently this cake is not only a family recipe but also a 30 year old birthday tradition.

The mother gave me the back story explaining that she had to tinker with the recipe this year as the birthday girl sweetly put her foot down and requested no artificial dyes.  Unsatisfied with the idea of serving a white strawberry cake, the mother did some research of her own and after experimenting with some beets was able to serve her beautiful petal pink cake (without the use of any artificial dyes).  Inspired by the story, we decided to research a few ideas of our own…

We quickly realized there’s a long list of options when it comes to creating natural dyes from fruits, vegetable and other everyday kitchen ingredients.  With Easter on the horizon we couldn’t think of a better excuse to experiment with some of these ideas.

We decided to begin with red cabbage which oddly enough creates the most beautiful blue hues.  Usually the only time my son willingly lends a hand in the kitchen is when we are cooking up something sweet, but I was able to sway him into sticking around to see the magic for himself.  So he helped me chop, add some water, and patiently wait for the water to boil (fair warning your house will begin to smell something awful as the cabbage boils).

The process was easier than expected and if anything just requires a big dose of patience.  Once the liquid cooled we began to experiment with the dye.  The color change was subtle at first which left Felix completely unimpressed, but after an hour the color began to take on rich turquoise hues that continued to get better with time.  I began asking him what other colors we could make from “whole foods” and surprisingly he wasn’t too far off, it really is that simple.  To add some fun we suggest attaching some rubber bands, gauze or string around the eggs to create some unique texture and design to the soft blue shells.   In love with our results we gladly share our findings so you and your kids can partake in the magic.  Enjoy sweet friends…

1 head of cabbage, roughly chopped
12 cups of water
tablespoon of vinegar


  1. Roughly chop the cabbage up and toss in a large stockpot along with 12 cups of water.  Bring to a boil.
  2. Once boiling, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.  (Take note of the cabbage…the cabbage should become a light violet color almost transparent when it’s ready)
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the dye to cool for an additional 20 minutes.
  4. Once cooled, strain the dye and discard the cabbage.  Add a tablespoon of vinegar to the dye and then experiment with the eggs.

Pretty much every color under the rainbow can be achieved with natural ingredients, simply  by using coffee, turmeric, blueberries, beets and more.  Click here for a full list of additional recipes.