Last Updated on December 18, 2022
Wondering how to make black frosting without food coloring? Use black cocoa powder to give it a deep black color and rich chocolate flavor!
No matter what you try, when using black food coloring it gets everywhere! We absolutely hate it, and what’s even worse is when it stains your entire mouth for the rest of the day! Luckily, this recipe has the perfect solution for making black cake frosting without having to use any food coloring.
This is a ridiculously easy recipe to follow and we’ve even included some pro tips to get smooth, creamy, and fluffy black cocoa frosting!
How To Make Black Frosting Without Food Coloring?
Black cocoa powder
Black cocoa powder is the most processed form of cocoa powder available and has a very dark color. It has a higher pH level compared to regular and dutch-processed cocoa powders and is less acidic. It will create a deep color and is the perfect starting point for your black frosting.
Dutch-processed cocoa powder
Dutch-processed cocoa powder still has a dark color, but less compared to the black cocoa powder option. It is more acidic and you will definitely have to add food coloring to get a very deep black color in your frosting.
Okay, so you don’t have to add food coloring. Black cocoa powder will give you a definite black color without staining your teeth. However, if you are looking to get a pitch-black and extremely deep black color, you can add some black powdered food coloring.
But, because you are starting with a dark frosting already, you will need much less coloring to achieve the desired shade of black and it will also stain much less.
What You Will Need To Make Black Cocoa Frosting
- 1 cup (226 grams) salted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup (75 grams) dark cocoa powder, sifted
- 3 1/2 cups (453 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup (58 grams) heavy whipping cream
- Electric mixer
- Medium bowl
How to make black frosting without food coloring
Step 1: Beat the butter
Place the softened butter into a medium-sized bowl and beat it at the highest speed possible. Make sure to beat it until it’s light and fluffy – this can take up to 10 minutes depending on the quantity you are making.
Step 2: Add the dry ingredients
Next, add the sifted cocoa powder and powdered sugar. You can work in smaller batches if you’d like. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure all of the ingredients are evenly incorporated. Only mix the ingredients together until they are well combined.
Step 3: Add the wet ingredients
Add the vanilla and half of the milk to the bowl. Beat the frosting for about 3 minutes to check the consistency. If your frosting is too stiff, add more milk and continue beating. Again, beat the frosting until it is light and fluffy.
Tips and tricks for black cocoa frosting
When it comes to making frosting, you can never overbeat it! You want to get a super fluffy consistency and the best way to achieve that is by beating your butter and frosting for several minutes. Remember to scrape the sides so that all of the ingredients are evenly incorporated.
Always make sure that all of your dry ingredients have been properly sifted, especially the cocoa powder. Both these ingredients can be very lumpy and will give you a very unappealing texture.
If you accidentally add too much-powdered sugar, you can soften your frosting by adding more heavy cream. Only add a teaspoon at a time for smaller batches and a tablespoon at a time for large batches.
Grainy Black Cake Frosting
When making buttercream frosting, an emulsion has to take place. An emulsion basically means that two things (in this case fat and liquid) that usually don’t mix are forced to blend. Think about mayonnaise – the eggs are forced to mix with the oil with the help of heat, vigorous whisking, and perfect ratios of each.
This black cocoa frosting is no different. The butter and cream have to be whipped together using the perfect ratios to create a fluffy product.
However, sometimes this emulsion breaks and creates a grainy texture that doesn’t look all that appealing. The most common culprit of this happening is when people add too much liquid because their frosting isn’t soft enough.
How do you make black frosting that isn’t grainy?
Prevention is better than trying to fix the problem later. The first thing you can do is make sure that your ingredients are at the same temperature. If you are using cold butter, it will create lumps. These lumps will eventually soften or melt, which will then cause your frosting to split.
Always beat your frosting for a couple of minutes before adding any liquid. A lot of factors can affect the consistency of your frosting including the moisture in the air. Some days you need to add more liquid compared to others.
If you can definitely see that you need to add some cream, only add a tiny bit at a time. This will help you prevent adding too much liquid and creating an unstable emulsion.
How to fix your grainy black cocoa frosting
The best way to fix your split frosting is by adjusting the temperatures. If you are seeing lumps of butter in your frosting, gently heat the bowl over a double boiler. The heat will gently melt the butter. Then, you can continue whipping the frosting over high speed to emulsify the ingredients.
If you used melted butter or butter that was too soft, simply cool the bowl over an ice bath and mix regularly. The cooler temperatures will help the butter set a bit and allow the mixture to come together.
What is the Best Black Food Coloring?
There are many black food colorings available on the market, but I’ve found that some make better black food coloring than others. My personal favorite is Super Black from Americolor. It’s a soft gel paste and comes in a variety of sizes.
Americolor is a well-trusted brand that comes in a selection of colors. My second favorite is Coal Black from Chef Master. This brand is the cheaper of the two, but still just as effective. It’s kosher, gluten-free, halal, and vegan; meaning it’s suitable for a range of dietary lifestyles. Much like Americolor, Chef Master has a wide variety of fun, vibrant colors.
How to Get True Black Frosting?
To achieve true black frosting, there are a few tips and tricks to follow. Make your frosting the way you usually would, either using a black frosting or making your own. To make your own black food coloring, you’ll one drop of blue food coloring, three drops of red food coloring, and 2 1/2 drops of green food coloring.
It’s also important to start with chocolate buttercream, as opposed to white/yellow buttercream. This is because it’s easier to get to black when you start with this color. If possible, you should also try to make your black frosting in advance.
Any color of frosting will deepen in color when it’s left for a few hours, and the black frosting is no different. Prepare beforehand and leave in the refrigerator for a few hours for best results.
Can You Airbrush Buttercream Black?
It’s not recommended to airbrush buttercream black. It would take many coats to achieve this color and would therefore struggle to dry very well. If you need black buttercream, it’s best to do it manually. Despite airbrushing being the easiest method, it will not always achieve the best results when it comes to airbrushing black buttercream.
How Do You Make Black Frosting Taste Better?
The more food coloring that you use, the more bitter tasting it’ll be. This is why it’s recommended to use as little coloring as possible. For this reason, you should always start with chocolate buttercream as a base, rather than white/yellow buttercream. Before you add any food coloring, you can also add cocoa powder too; this will help to deepen the color without the use of food coloring.
How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting Black?
It’s relatively easy to make your cream cheese frosting black. Before we begin looking at the method, you’ll need the following ingredients: 3 1/2 cups of confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup of butter, 8oz of cream cheese, 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder (dark), 2 teaspoons of black gel paste coloring, 1 cup of black candy melted, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of heavy cream.
- Now all you need to do is grab a bowl and add the cream cheese and butter.
- With a mixer, cream together for several minutes.
- Gradually add the powdered sugar and cocoa; stirring continually.
- Once completely mixed, add the vanilla extract and heavy cream.
- Once mixed for a further few minutes, you can add the black gel paste food coloring and melted black candy melts.
- Mix until the color is evenly distributed.
How to Make Black Icing Without Cocoa?
It’s harder to achieve black icing without cocoa powder and you’re unlikely to get it as dark as you’d like. However, if you start with chocolate buttercream and then add your black gel paste food coloring, you’ll achieve a version of black that you can use as required. Using dark cocoa powder or black cocoa powder is always recommended when it comes to black icing.
How Do You Make Black Frosting In Advance?
You can make the cocoa frosting in advance or store any leftovers in an airtight container. Keep the frosting inside the fridge for up to a month!
You can also freeze the black frosting for up to three months. To defrost, simply thaw the black buttercream frosting inside the fridge. Once completely thawed, give the frosting a good beating with an electric mixer.
Servings and preparation time
Let us know what delicious baked goods product you made with this luscious black buttercream frosting! And, if you are obsessed with this recipe, give it a share so others can learn from it too.
How To Make Black Buttercream Frosting Without Any Food Coloring
- 1 cup 226 grams salted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup 75 grams dark cocoa powder, sifted
- 3 1/2 cups 453 grams powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup 58 grams heavy whipping cream
- Beat the butter.Place the softened butter into a medium-sized bowl and beat it on the highest speed possible. Make sure to beat it until it's light and fluffy - this can take up to 10 minutes depending on the quantity you are making.1 cup 226 grams salted butter, room temperature
- Add the dry ingredients.Next, add in the sifted cocoa powder and powdered sugar. You can work in smaller batches if you'd like. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure all of the ingredients are evenly incorporated. Only mix the ingredients together until they are well combined.3/4 cup 75 grams dark cocoa powder, sifted, 3 1/2 cups 453 grams powdered sugar, sifted
- Add the wet ingredients.Add the vanilla and half of the milk to the bowl. Beat the frosting for about 3 minutes to check the consistency. If your frosting is too stiff, add more milk and continue beating. Again, beat the frosting until it is light and fluffy.1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/4 cup 58 grams heavy whipping cream
Lindy Van Schalkwyk is a culinary specialist with a background in Advanced Cooking, Advanced Pâtisserie, Media Communications and Nutrition. She has gained invaluable experience in the culinary industry having worked in some of the top restaurants in Africa in 2016 and 2017. Her expertise in nutrition has enabled her to develop recipes for special dietary needs. In 2018, Lindy began working in the Food Media industry, focusing on recipe development, recipe writing, food writing and food styling.