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    Black Buttercream That Doesn’t Stain

    This black buttercream not only tastes incredible, but pipes beautifully AND it won’t stain!

    This recipe uses black cocoa, and as a result you only need a small amount of black gel colour to achieve a deep dark black frosting.

    Black Buttercream

    How is this frosting so black with only a small amount of gel colour?

    The secret ingredient in this black buttercream is black cocoa! Black cocoa is a type of cocoa powder that is heavily dutched, giving it it’s striking black colour. It is often used as a natural black colouring in many baked goods and desserts.

    Because this recipe uses black cocoa as it’s main colouring agent, it means that we only need a small amount of gel colour to get a deep dark frosting.

    The process of making this black buttercream

    Making buttercream using black cocoa seems like a straight forward process, but balancing the strong black cocoa flavour is actually quite difficult! As a result, this buttercream has a slightly unorthodox way of coming together, whilst still being incredibly delicious!

    My criteria for this buttercream:

    Having tried black buttercream recipes before, I had a clear criteria in my mind and it had to tick all of the following boxes:

    • It had to be a deep dark black (not grey!)
    • It had to taste incredible and not bitter from the black cocoa
    • Needs to be pipeable and stable enough to use for cake decorating
    • Not too sweet

    After some trial and error, I came up with the following method that I was super happy with! It’s a combination of my grit-free American buttercream and chocolate fudge frosting recipe.

    Begin by melting some milk chocolate. I tried with both dark and milk, but found that the milk chocolate worked better because it helped balance out the strong flavour of the black cocoa.


    Melted chocolate


    Next you want to combine your dry ingredients, so your icing sugar (also known as powdered sugar/confectioners sugar), black cocoa and salt. Following that, you want to heat up some milk and add that to the dry ingredients. This is going to help reduce the grittiness of the icing sugar as well as bloom the cocoa powder, giving it a more intense colour.


    Step 2 & 3


    Mix everything together well and you should end up with a thick black paste. If your paste is a little too thick and you can’t mix it properly, just add in an extra tablespoon or so of hot milk. Next add in your melted chocolate and using a spatula, mix it altogether.


    Step 4 & 5


    So your first part of the process is now done, and it’s now time to move onto the next component which is the ‘buttercream’ element of the frosting. So I chose to stick with the traditional American buttercream method where you cream your butter, because I still wanted my frosting to have that creamy, light-ish feel of a buttercream.

    The only problem is incorporating too much air into your frosting will lighten the colour, and in the case of black, will turn your buttercream grey. This has been my biggest problem with black buttercream. As soon as the whipped butter comes into play, achieving a black colour is so much harder! BUT THEN… I decided to experiment with adding black gel colour to my butter, and this is where things changed!

    My thought process behind this was, if I only add enough gel colour so that my butter is almost black after it’s been creamed, then all I need to worry about in the end is combining my initial black paste mixture with the already creamed and coloured butter, and I should end up with black buttercream! AND IT WORKED AMAZINGLY!


    Step 6 & 7

    So after creaming the butter with vanilla and black gel colour, all that’s left to do is bring the initial black cocoa mixture and butter mixture together! The key here though is not to overmix the buttercream, otherwise you’re going to lighten the colour. Because the butter is already whipped, it doesn’t need ‘extra whipping’, so just mix the two together until JUST combined.


    Step 8 & 9


    And that is it! You’re left with beautiful black buttercream. Because this recipe uses melted chocolate and hot milk to bring all the ingredients together, your buttercream may initially be a little soft. This is because the chocolate hasn’t set yet. If this is the case, just pop your frosting into the fridge for 15-30 minutes and then rewhip it!


    Black buttercream

    Black Buttercream

    Black Buttercream That Doesn't Stain

    Smooth black buttercream that tastes incredible, pipes beautifully and doesn't stain your teeth!
    5 from 10 votes
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    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Total Time: 15 minutes
    Servings: 4 cups

    IMPORTANT: For accuracy, I would recommend using the gram measurements provided as those are the exact quantities I use. Cup measurements are given as estimates (based on US cup measurements) to make it easier for those who do not have a scale.


    • cups (180 g) milk chocolate
    • cups (540 g) icing/powdered sugar
    • 1 cup (120 g) black cocoa
    • ½ tsp salt
    • ¾ cup (165 g) milk - hot
    • cups (400 g) butter - unsalted
    • 1 tsp vanilla essence/extract
    • 2 tsp black gel colour


    • Begin by placing your chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and melting it in the microwave for 20 second bursts at a time, giving it a mix in between each burst to make sure it's melting evenly. If you're using a block of chocolate, then cut it into small pieces before melting it. Once melted, set aside.
    • In another bowl, combine your icing sugar, salt and black cocoa together and mix until well combined.
    • Pour the milk into a microwave safe bowl, and heat it in the microwave until it's just boiling (keep an eye on it as you don't want it to over flow - it should take about a minute or so depending on your microwaves strength). Once it's hot, add it to your icing sugar/black cocoa mixture. Mix until well combined and you have a thick black paste (see note 1 if mixture is too thick to mix).
    • Add your melted chocolate from earlier to your black paste and using a spatula, mix until well combined. Set aside.
    • In another bowl, cream together your butter, vanilla and black gel colour for a few minutes using an electric mixer (hand or stand mixer both work fine).
    • Add your black paste from earlier (see note 2) to your creamed butter and mix with an electric mixer until just combined. Do not overmix (see note 3).
    • Your black buttercream is now ready. If you find it's a little soft for your liking, just pop it into the fridge for 15-30 minutes and then rewhip it until it's smooth (see note 4). Different black cocoa brands may be stronger than others, so if you find your buttercream tastes a little strong for your liking, see note 5 below.


    YouTube video


    Note 1. If your mixture is very thick to the point that it's not mixing well, just add in an extra tablespoon of hot milk and this should loosen it up. 
    Note 2. If you notice that your black paste has thickened up a lot and is hard to get out of your bowl, just heat it up in the microwave for about 5-10 seconds and this will loosen up the mixture and make it easier to pour. Be careful not to overheat it otherwise this will affect the texture of the final buttercream. 
    Note 3. You don't want to overmix the buttercream as this will start turning your buttercream grey. The more air you whip into it, the lighter your buttercream is going to get. Mix until it's just combined and you can finish off any additional mixing with a spatula. 
    Note 4. Because this recipe uses melted chocolate and hot milk, your final buttercream may be a little soft and that's just because the ingredients haven't had time to set. If you do find it's not as firm as you need it to be, just pop it into the fridge for 15 to 30 minutes and then rewhip it to get it nice and smooth again and you're good to go. Just remember not to overwhip it. The buttercream shouldn't be hard after refrigerating as we are only chilling it for a short time, so rewhipping is just to get rid of any air bubbles that may have formed. 
    Note 5. If you find that the black cocoa is a little over powering for you, or your buttercream is not sweet enough, feel free to add more icing sugar or fold in some more melted chocolate to suit your taste. 


    Calories: 1946kcal | Carbohydrates: 222g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 123g | Saturated Fat: 78g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 32g | Trans Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 322mg | Sodium: 1394mg | Potassium: 780mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 200g | Vitamin A: 3709IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 277mg | Iron: 5mg

    Nutritional information are estimates only as they are automatically calculated by a third party application. Actual values may differ based on brands and types of products used.

    Keyword: black buttercream, black cocoa frosting, black frosting
    Tried this recipe?I love hearing from you! Tag me on instagram so I can see your amazing creations 🙂


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    • Melody Owen

      5 stars
      Hi , Maryam, I just wanted to say I love your videos and your recipes thank you for sharing .

      • Cakes by MK

        Hi Melody! Thanks so much for your wonderful message, really appreciate all the love and support 😀

    • Psalms

      5 stars
      Hey MK

      I’ve used this recipe twice in the past, and I’ve found that both times, when I go to serve the cake and it stays out, it’s gets a sheen and is soft – is there any way I can avoid this to get it more of a buttercream covered cake that can hold up out of the fridge?

      • Cakes by MK

        Heya! 🙂 Unfortunately this buttercream isn’t a crusting buttercream, and is more like a Swiss meringue, so it will soften up at room temp but should still hold it’s shape. So sorry about that! You may need to look for an American style black buttercream if you prefer it not to be soft to the touch at room temp 🙂

    • Celline

      Hi, would you mind telling me how stable is this buttercream? How long will it take to melt in a country where the temperature is around 40 degrees celsius? Thank you.

      • Cakes by MK

        Hi Celline! 🙂 It is pretty stable but in very hot weather it should be okay for a few hours if the cake has been refrigerated well beforehand 🙂

    • Janyll Paniagua


      Thank you for sharing your video!! Can this batch cover and decorate a 2-layer, 6inch cake? 🙂

    • Elise

      Hi, would you mind telling me the brand of black cocoa you used please. Yours looks a lot darker than the one I have.

      • Cakes by MK

        Hi Elise! I use Equagold black cocoa 🙂

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    About me

    Welcome to my blog! My name is Maryam and I LOVE baking! :) I hope to provide you with the tools (i.e. simple, from-scratch, quality tested recipes), so that you can confidently bake up delicious treats to share with your family and friends!

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