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Black Buttercream

Black cakes are dramatic and can be either elegant or festive (perfect for Halloween!) but the frosting usually gives everyone a black mouth. This is my recipe for a rich, decadent buttercream that is truly jet black but won’t stain your teeth!

Makes 6 cups (enough to fill and frost an 8″ or 9″ cake)

2 1/2 cups (5 x 113g or 4oz sticks) unsalted butter*
907g or 32oz (about 7 cups) powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup black cocoa powder (35g or 1.2oz)
1/4 cup hot water (60ml)
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate (130g or 4.6oz)
2 teaspoons black gel food colour

*If you use salted butter instead, omit the salt in the recipe


1. Prepare ingredients: whisk together the black cocoa powder with the hot water and leave to cool. Melt chocolate for 1 minute at a time in the microwave, stirring until smooth and then leave to cool. The powdered sugar should be sifted to remove any lumps and the butter should be at room temperature. If the butter is cold, bring it to room temperature quickly by popping it in the microwave for 10 seconds and then flipping it over and microwaving it for another 10 seconds.

2. In a mixer with a paddle attachment, mix butter with 1/4 of the powdered sugar and salt (if using) on the lowest speed until incorporated, about 1 minute. Scrape down to the bottom of the mixing bowl with a spatula to loosen any butter and sugar and add the rest of the powdered sugar 1/4 at a time, mixing in between each addition until incorporated.

3. Add vanilla extract, black cocoa mixture, cooled melted chocolate and black gel colour to the buttercream and mix to combine. Cover the buttercream with a lid or cling film and leave for at least 30 minutes for the colour to deepen. Optionally, if the buttercream isn’t as black as you want it to be, add more black gel colour.

Watch my video tutorial above for step by step instructions on how to make a black cake with black cake batter and this black buttercream.

If you’re looking for more tips on how to colour buttercream and how to make it, how to troubleshoot issues like graininess, lumps, air bubbles, or a yellow colour, how to store it, and how to use it to frost and decorate cakes, check out my online course on The Basics of Cake.

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