Cake Decorating Blog

How to Make Black Buttercream Icing for Chic, Edgy Treats

Whipping up black buttercream is a frustrating task for many a cake decorator! We've heard of plenty of bakers almost ripping their hair out attempting to create deep black frosting only to be left with gray, blue, purple or even a strange green icing. Unless you sneakily get store-bought tubs, the easiest way to make perfect black buttercream is revealed below so keep reading.

How to make black buttercream icingCupcake with black buttercream icing

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How to make black buttercream icing

Materials needed:

  • Your go-to chocolate buttercream
  • Clean bowls
  • Extra black food color** (gel paste is best not liquid)
  • Spatula

**Note: To color our buttercream we used Extra Black by Sugarflair. There are some other great alternatives on the market though like Rainbow Dust Pro-Gel in Black or even Americolor in Super Black. Shop around if you have the time and find which brand works for you.

Bowl of chocolate buttercream

Step 1:

The secret to quick and easy homemade black buttercream is...chocolate buttercream! It may be a pain to anyone making a cake with non-chocolate flavors, but unless you want to be left with bitter/weird tasting frosting, murky colors or odd textured buttercream, it's best to begin with some milk or dark chocolate frosting.

Make sure that your buttercream is free of any lumps and clumps. We'd recommend using couverture dark chocolate melted in a bain marie and then poured into the buttercream before lightly whipping the mixture together. To darken the chocolate a little more, add in around 1 tablespoon of sifted cocoa powder too.

Black gel food coloring for black buttercream icingHow to make black buttercream icing

Step 2:

To transform the buttercream into a magical pitch black, make sure you use not just an 'extra black' food color (as opposed to just 'black'), but a gel or paste food color. Gel/paste food color won't hinder or weaken the texture and stability of your buttercream. If you use liquid you'll soon find that your lovely homemade frosting will look more like unattractive soup than anything you'd love to smother a cake with.

You shouldn't need too much color, so always start small, mix the color in, assess the color and add a little more if need be. It's always oh so much easier to add in more color than to remove it.

Tip: A lot of food colors deepen over a short space of time, so try letting your buttercream sit for about 30 minutes before checking it. We always find that this happens with blacks, reds, purples and blue shades.

Black buttercream icing tutorial  

Deep black buttercream icing

Step 3:

With a good quality spatula, give your back buttercream a good slow mix by hand. Make sure to scrape the bowl's sides and incorporate the chocolate buttercream and black food color together. Mixing slowly and scraping will help avoid your buttercream from having the not-so-nice surprise of streaky unmixed colors.

Cupcake iced with black buttercream

You should now find yourself with a bowl full of glistening black buttercream ready for your next creation! Not only would homemade black buttercream be perfect for quirky and unique sweets, but it'd make the idea covering or filling for chic and stylish treats. 

You might also enjoy our tutorial for how to make glow-in-the-dark buttercream.

FREE Guide! Not-So-Basic Buttercream Decorating Ideas

craftsy buttercream guide

Get insider tricks & inspiration to make one-of-a-kind buttercream goodies in this FREE PDF guide, available exclusively on Craftsy.Get My FREE Guide »

4 Comments

Resa Rawley

How did you make the glittery fondant heart that is on the black buttercream? Thanks.

Reply
Bradleybakes

Thank you so much for this tutorial!! It worked a treat for the cupcakes I made for a “Homeless Charity fundraiser” They were well impressed as was I with how little black Americolor I needed when making dark chocolate ganache 1st. I Will be using from now on!

Reply
Krystal Ramsawak-Husain

Hi, will this work with chocolate ganache?

Reply
Sumz

Hi, how much colouring was used please? I tried following this tutorial and used about a teaspoon of this same colouring but my chocolate buttercream only turned a murky grey and not black. Please help!

Reply

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