With Halloween just around the corner, I’ve been using black frosting on quite a few of my baking projects. This has led to a bunch of questions on social media, including:
- Why does my black frosting look grey??
- How can I make black buttercream that doesn’t turn my mouth black?
- Is there a way to make black frosting without loads of food coloring?
- How do you get you black buttercream such a deep shade?
- What’s the best way to make super black buttercream that actually tastes good?
- Which type and brand food coloring is best to use for black frosting?
- What’s your trick for making such black frosting??
To make our lives easier, I’m sharing my secrets to making super black buttercream frosting here!
I start off using my classic American buttercream as a base, which is insanely easy to make.
The finishing touch to my black frosting recipe is the magic of time!!
That last line sounds hoaky, I know. As I typed it I couldn’t help but chuckle!! But I swear, letting this frosting sit is a sure fire way to deepen its color.
Secret Ingredient #1: Black Cocoa
Turning white buttercream black is incredibly hard. Starting off with a naturally deeper colored frosting base makes it about a million times easier.
How do I like to naturally color my buttercream before adding in the gel food coloring?! Black cocoa, my friends.
I only recently discovered black cocoa, and I’m obsessed.
Black cocoa has a slightly higher pH than dutch-processed cocoa (8 vs.7), and is much less acidic than natural baking cocoa (5-6).
The best comparison is to think of the bittersweet, chocolaty taste of an Oreo cookie! It’s absolutely delicious.
It has a beautiful dark color, which helps build the perfect chocolaty base for this black frosting.
Secret Ingredient #2: Black Gel Food Coloring
Next comes the necessary evil, some food coloring. But I’m not talking about generic, black liquid food coloring.
Liquid food coloring can also throw off the consistency of your frosting if you add too much.
When it comes to coloring frosting, gel food coloring is a must. Especially when you’re after super vibrant or deep shades, like black.
Gel food coloring is much more concentrated than liquid food coloring, so you can add less and still get the dark color you’re after!
I always use the Americolor brand, which I purchase in big bottles from Amazon.
When combining this small amount of black gel food coloring with my black cocoa buttercream, the result it amazing.
You get a frosting that is a wonderfully deep shade of black, that tastes like Oreos and chocolate.
Final Tip For Making Black Frosting: Make It In Advance
My final trick to making black frosting is to make it ahead of time. Yes, time is my biggest secret!!
If you make the frosting a couple days (or more) in advance, the color of the frosting will get darker over time! I swear it’s magic.
This buttercream can be made over a week in advance, and stored in the fridge until it needs to be used.
I take the frosting out a few hours before I need it, to allow it to come to room temperature.
Once it’s thawed, it always is a darker color than when I initially made it.
I have one important piece of advice around making frosting in advance.
As buttercream sits and/or thaws, it usually gets tons of tiny air bubbles in it! Don’t worry, you’ll be able to make your buttercream smooth again. All you need to do is give the frosting a really good stir with a rubber spatula.
Work the frosting slowly from side to side. Focus on spreading it across the sides of your bowl for a few minutes.
It’s definitely an arm workout. But after working the frosting around the bowl and pushing out the excess air, you’ll be left with silky smooth frosting.
How Much Frosting Do I Need For A Cake? Or Cupcakes?
When using this to frost my vanilla layer cake recipe, I usually make 1.5 batches of black buttercream to cover a 7-inch or 8-inch layer cake.
However, this can vary based on how I’m decorating the cake, and the size of my cake layers.
If you were to use one batch of frosting to pipe buttercream swirls on top of cupcakes, it frosts about three dozen (36) cupcakes.
Again, this cake also drastically vary if you’re making massive frosting swirls, or simply piping buttercream rosettes on top of each cupcake.
Share Your Creations With Me!
If you try this black frosting recipe, please tag me @chelsweets. Also use the #chelsweets so that I can see your amazing creations!
Nothing makes me happier than when I get emails or DMs with photos of your amazing cakes. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with your triumphs, or questions <3
- 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature (452 grams)
- 7 cups powdered sugar (907 grams) - or a 2 lb bag
- 1/2 tsp salt (3 grams)
- 1/3 cup heavy cream (or whipping cream) (75 grams)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (4 grams)
- 1/2 cup black cocoa powder or dark cocoa powder, sifted (50 grams)
- 1 tsp black gel food coloring
- Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Mix in the vanilla and salt on a low speed
- Add in the sifted black cocoa or dark baking cocoa into the butter, and mix on a low speed until fully incorporated.
- Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream.
- Beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached.
- If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 Tbsp at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).
- Add in a generous squirt of black gel food coloring (roughly 1 tsp) once the frosting is fully made, and mix by hand with a rubber spatula until the frosting is evenly colored.
- To allow the shade to deepen, place in sealed piping bags or an airtight container. Leave out overnight at room temperature, or place in the fridge for several days.
If you are making frosting for a cake, it is important to mix the buttercream on the lowest speed at the end of the process for a couple minutes, to get out any extra air that might have be incorporated during the mixing process.
You can also stir the frosting in a bowl with a rubber spatula, pushing it from side to side, to get rid of any air bubbles.This will make it easier to get super smooth sides on your cake!
If you have any questions about making buttercream in advance, please read this post on how long buttercream lasts and how to store it.
Amount Per Serving Calories 714 Total Fat 40g Saturated Fat 25g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 13g Cholesterol 106mg Sodium 125mg Carbohydrates 91g Fiber 1g Sugar 86g Protein 2g