How To Write On A Cake Without Artificial Colors

Cake that says Happy 40th Birthday Melissa

Cake writing using chips instead of food dyes


Well, it seems I’m on a dessert kick recently!  Last week I wrote about healthy cold desserts and the week before we wrote about camping desserts! This week it’s cake decorating.  I don’t actually make a lot of cakes, and in fact, I was going to buy one this time.  Some college friends are getting together and we decided to have a surprise cake for our friend’s 40th birthday that’s coming up soon.  I offered to bring one, but I didn’t get a chance to buy it before a tropical storm moved in.  In light of the storm, I decided to see what I could make with the ingredients in our house.

Mini chips are so small that they are flexible as a writing device.

Mini chips are so small that they are flexible as a writing device.

I made a banana cake with cream cheese icing that I found on the web.  As it was baking, I realized that I really wanted to write it on it “Happy 40th Birthday Melissa” as poking fun at her age was the whole point of having a cake!  (She’s the youngest in our group by close to a year.)  However,  I just couldn’t bring myself to put artificial food coloring on the top of this cake that I had just made from scratch!  I was thinking about how this cake has organic bananas, sugar, milk & eggs in it and white whole wheat flour and then I was going to squeeze artificial crap on top of it?  That just didn’t make sense to me.  However, I also wasn’t going out to the store (in a tropical storm) to get natural food dyes.

As I was icing the cake I had a flash of brilliance (it happens occasionally)  Mini-chocolate chips!  We could use mini-chips to spell out the words!

Words traced on cake before putting chips on them.

We used a chopstick to trace the letters before filling in with mini-chocolate chips

I had Jonathan carefully draw the words with a chopstick and then I filled them in with mini-chips. I have a few
tips for trying this at home:

    • A chopstick is a good tool for tracing the words,  the tip is the right size for mini chocolate chips to sit in and writes more like a pencil than a knife would.
    • Block letters come out better than anything fancy – the chips provide the interesting look so script isn’t necessary.
    • Mini-chips are a good size if you have a lot of letters.
    • Don’t hold more than 4 or 5 chips in your hand as you place them, they start to melt quickly.  I used a small bowl to hold them.
    • Put them on the cake before the icing fully sets.
    • Don’t be afraid to wipe excess icing off the chopstick so it doesn’t smear your words. And be sure to save it for later tastings when you are


Happy Decorating!

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  1. Love your blog! I’m your newest FB follower. 🙂 (found you in the Organic Mommy group on Mommy Bloggers)

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