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What Is Black Frosting?

By Angela Farrer
Updated May 17, 2024
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Black frosting is a type of icing that has food coloring mixed in to create this appearance. It is often used as decorative cupcake or cake frosting for specialty desserts. Some bakers like to apply thin accent lines of black frosting to their cake icing designs to make them visually stand out. One option for making black frosting is to purchase ready-made chocolate or vanilla frosting and mix in the required food coloring. Many home bakers prefer to make this kind of frosting from scratch because doing so gives them better control over the resulting flavor.

Basic recipes for black frosting typically call for red, yellow, green, and blue liquid food coloring. Since black results from equal mixtures of other colors, this frosting technique follows the principle of basic color mixtures. One of the most common challenges many bakers face is achieving black icing that does not have a grey or dark purple hue. Experienced bakers recommend mixing the food coloring into the frosting one color at a time and in a certain order. Adding generous amounts of blue or green food coloring first creates a good base for the rest of the colors.

Cooks often find that chocolate icing yields some of the best results for black frosting. This flavor often needs smaller amounts of food coloring to become dark enough in appearance. Vanilla or white buttercream frosting is an alternative for cake flavors that would not go as well with chocolate frosting. Bakers who plan on mixing black frosting from white icing often use a concentrated edible black coloring gel in addition to food coloring. Unlike excess amounts of liquid food coloring, this type of baking gel usually does not leave undesired color tints in the finished icing.

Black coloring gel for frosting can normally be purchased in specialty baking supply shops. Some craft stores that sell cake decorating supplies also sometimes carry this ingredient. Many bakers recommend stirring in only small amounts of this black gel at a time because adding too much can sometimes leave a bitter taste in the frosting.

Making frosting from scratch requires ingredients such as confectioners' sugar, cream of tartar, and whipped egg whites. Some recipes may also substitute powdered meringue mix for the egg whites. These types of ingredients are often more readily available from bakery ingredient suppliers than from grocery stores. Unlike premade frosting, this recipe requires only black coloring gel instead of colored liquid ingredients.

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