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How to Make Black Frosting (American Buttercream)

This simple Black Frosting recipe is a delicious chocolate buttercream made with black cocoa powder and is perfect for Halloween cupcakes, Halloween Cakes, and Halloween treats. It takes just 10 minutes to make!

Black Frosting Recipe (American Buttercream) used to decorate chocolate cupcakes in white paper liners garnished with Halloween color sprinkles

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Black Frosting Recipe

Black Frosting makes the most beautiful and spook-macular Halloween cupcakes, Halloween cakes, frosted Halloween Brownies, and so much more.

It’s a delicious buttercream with the perfect black color to decorate your baked goods during the spooky season.


The Importance of Cocoa Powder

This Black Frosting is made with black cocoa powder so it tastes like chocolate frosting. Often times, black frosting is made with vanilla buttercream frosting (white buttercream) and colored black with black liquid food coloring or black gel food coloring. Starting with white icing requires so much food coloring that it will often times give the frosting an unappetizing, slightly bitter taste.

But when you start with a good chocolate frosting base, like my favorite chocolate buttercream recipe made with black cocoa powder, you’ll already be so close to a deep black color! You can add a few drops of black gel food coloring to deepen the black shade to your desired color. 

Black Frosting Recipe (American Buttercream) used to decorate chocolate cupcakes in white paper liners that are decorated with Halloween sprinkles

Using different types of cocoa powder will yield different flavor profiles and varying chocolate flavors. Regular Cocoa Powder, also known as Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, yields a lighter chocolate color with a subtle chocolate taste similar to milk chocolate. 

Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder and dark cocoa powder, such as Hershey’s Special Dark, will yield a much darker hue with a deeper, rich chocolate flavor. You can see how dark the frosting is in my recipe for Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe and while it’s very dark, it’s not a true black frosting and closer to a deep brown.

Black Cocoa Powder in the chocolate base is essential in this recipe to get the right shade of black while maintaining a high-quality chocolate frosting taste. 

Black Frosting Recipe (American Buttercream) on a chocolate cupcake in a white paper liner decorated with Halloween sprinkles

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Ingredients to Make Black Buttercream Frosting

*Be sure to read the full recipe card below for exact measurements and step-by-step instructions.

Ingredients in individual bowls to make a Black Frosting Recipe (American Buttercream) alongside baked chocolate cupcakes to decorate

Equipment Needed to Make Homemade Buttercream Frosting


How to Make Black Frosting

Homemade frosting is so simple to make and tastes infinitely better than any store-bought frosting. If you truly want your cakes and cupcakes to taste amazing, you should always make frosting from scratch. It only takes 10 minutes to make with four easy steps to follow:

Step 1. Place the butter in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.

Step 2. Add half of the powdered sugar to a fine mesh strainer and sift over the butter. Then mix into the butter mixture and repeat with the remaining powdered sugar.

Step 3. Add the vanilla extract and salt. Sift in the cocoa powder and then beat the the butter mixture until fully incorporated.

Step 4. Add the heavy cream a little at a time while mixing until desired consistency is achieved. Mix in black food coloring, if desired.


Decorating with Black Buttercream Frosting

Once the frosting is made, you can transfer the frosting to a piping bag and pipe the frosting onto cupcakes. Sprinkle with halloween sprinkles and serve.

Use Different Piping Tips: Explore different piping tips to create various spooky designs on top of the cupcakes. A star tip can create a “spider web” effect, while a round tip can be used to make “eyeballs” or other Halloween-themed shapes.

You can also decorate chocolate cake, black cake, and other cakes with this frosting to create unique Halloween cakes. 

a hand holding a clear piping bag filled with black frosting piping dollops of it onto a chocolate cupcake in a white paper liner

Make Ahead & Storage

Buttercream is always best when used right away but it can be made in advance. To make American buttercream in advance, prep it as indicated in the recipe. Then immediately transfer and store it in an airtight container. 

Refrigerate the frosting up to a week in advance. It can also be frozen up to 3 months.

Storage Tip: I like to press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the frosting before refrigerating to really keep the air out and prevent the frosting from forming any crusty edges.

Before using, bring the frosting to room temperature and then use an electric mixer to beat until it’s smooth and creamy.

Black Frosting Recipe (American Buttercream) used to decorate chocolate cupcakes that are decorated with Halloween sprinkles on a black serving platter

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Black Frosting Recipe (American Buttercream) used to decorate chocolate cupcakes in white paper liners garnished with Halloween color sprinkles

How to Make Black Frosting (American Buttercream)

5 from 3 ratings
This simple Black Frosting recipe is a delicious chocolate buttercream made with black cocoa powder and is perfect for Halloween cupcakes, Halloween Cakes, and Halloween treats. It takes just 10 minutes to make!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 12
Print Rate Pin

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Place the butter in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.
    overhead shot of butter in a large glass bowl that has been beaten to make black frosting
  • Add half of the powdered sugar to a fine mesh strainer and sift over the butter. Then mix into the butter mixture and repeat with the remaining powdered sugar.
    beaten butter in a large glass bowl with sifted powdered sugar on top to make black frosting
  • Add the vanilla extract and salt. Sift in the cocoa powder and then beat the the butter mixture until fully incorporated.
    black cocoa powder added to a bowl of beaten butter and powdered sugar to make black frosting
  • Add the heavy cream a little at a time while mixing until desired consistency is achieved. Mix in black food coloring, if desired.
    black frosting made in a large glass bowl ready to be used to decorate
  • Use to decorate cakes, cupcakes, brownies, cookies, and bar cookies.
    a hand holding a clear piping bag filled with black frosting piping dollops of it onto a chocolate cupcake in a white paper liner

Notes

  1. Please read the detailed blog post for tips and make-ahead instructions.
  2. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container up to 1 week or freeze up to 3 months.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 283kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 46mg | Sodium: 8mg | Potassium: 93mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 546IU | Vitamin C: 0.03mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1mg

Disclaimers

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Facts are estimated and aren’t always accurate. Please consult a doctor or nutritionist if you have special dietary needs.

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