How to Make Black Buttercream

The easy option is to get pre-made black buttercream at the shop…. But it won’t taste as nice as home made! 

Stencil work made with black buttercream over white buttercream

Four words to remember regarding black buttercream :
stain – time – chocolate – gel colour

Before deciding to go for a design with black buttercream, you have to be aware (or your customers if you sell cakes) that it will gives a black mouth. To achieve a dark colour, a lot of food colour is required so you can’t do otherwise than having stained mouth!
You might want to change the design of your cake by using store bought black fondant or choosing a different colour (for example a grey cake instead of black for a Batman theme).


You cannot make nice black buttercream in a hurry. If you try to rush the process, you will end up using  A LOT of food colour and might not even get a fully black buttercream. I like to make my black buttercream at least 12 hours before I need to use it.


To use less food colour and achieve a better result, it’s easier to start with a chocolate buttercream. I prefer to make a buttercream with cacao powder than melted chocolate. You can use any recipe you like. Here is mine :

Chocolate buttercream
– 1.5 cup (360g) unsalted butter
– 5 cups (550g) icing sugar
– 1 cup (90g) cocoa powder
– Approx. 1/4 cup (50g) vegetable oil or canola or sunflower oil

Mix the butter, icing sugar and cocoa powder with a hand mixer or stand mixer. Add the oil gradually. You might need more or less oil to achieve the texture you want. Keep in mind that some black food colorant will be added to it get thinner, so it’s better to add less oil than too much.
If you live in a warm climate (like me in Australia!) you will have to replace half of the butter by copha or shortening so the buttercream is not too soft.


(Before you ask, I didn’t do a mistake writing color with an extra u, that’s the way we spell it in Australia!)
You will need gel colour, not the liquid black stuff you can get at the supermarket. I use the Super Black Soft Gel Paste from Americolor but there are other brands such as Wilton or Rainbow Dust.
1. Once you have mixed your chocolate buttercream, add about 3-5 ml of the black gel and mix with a spatula, scrape the sides of the bowl and fold the buttercream until the colour is mixed well.
2. Let the buttercream rest for about 30 to 60 minutes.
3. Mix the buttercream with the spatula. You will see that the top of the buttercream has darken if you compare to the colour at the bottom of the bowl. Don’t add more black gel yet just mix until it’s all the same colour.
4. Let the buttercream rest for another 30 to 60 minutes. Mix the buttercream with the spatula until it’s all the same colour. Add another 3-5 ml of the black gel and keep mixing with the spatula.
5. Repeat the process until you have an almost black buttercream. If you can wait 6 to 12 hours before using it you will see the buttercream darken by itself. You can always give it a stir every now and then.
Et voila! You have black buttercream!

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A lot of piping for this Minnie cake as you can imagine!



8 thoughts on “How to Make Black Buttercream

  1. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe. I always love baking and cooking from scratch. That Minnie cake is amazing! I am a huge Disney fan! It may be well passed my 2nd birthday but I would have loved that for my 26th birthday cake =P


  2. Beautiful cakes and cupcakes. The process doesn’t seem hard, it really is about time having the time.
    Great work!


  3. So cool. I would have never thought about making back buttercream but it certainly looks pretty! I’m sure that it comes in handy when making special cakes in character form like the Micky Mouse!


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