How do I make black buttercream?
The ingredients to make black American buttercream are:
- Powdered Sugar
- Vanilla Extract
- Black Cocoa
- Black Gel Food Coloring
- Salt (optional)
From this list the key components are
- Black Cocoa Powder
- Gel Food Color
- Resting time.
As mentioned before, the black cocoa will be a great base to start with. The Gel Food Color in conguntion with the black cocoa will get you closer to a true black icing.
Time is the one in charge of making the magic. You have to let it rest overnight to allow the color oxidize. Then you will have a true black buttercream.
So, if you are planning to frost a cake with black buttercream, the recommendation is to make the frosting at least the day before. If making a cake for Friday / Saturday I would make the buttercream on Wednesday.
Can I leave the buttercream on top of the counter?
This is one of the advantages of making an ABC (American Buttercream). Due to the content of sugar, the use of shortening, and some butter, the life shelf of the buttercream is longer than if you use whipped cream.
The first night after I made the ABC I left it on top of the countertop, remixed it the following day to remove air bubbles, and frosted the cake. I think the room temperature ( about 72 F) of the first night might have played a role too in the darkening process.
After decorating the cake I ended up with some leftover buttercream which I stored in the fridge. The following day it got even darker and kind of shiny.
With that in mind, you can add a little less coloring and let it rest longer in case using food coloring is an issue for you.
What does black buttercream taste like?
Since black cocoa is used in the recipe, you might be asking yourself does the buttercream taste like chocolate?
The answer is no. The reason behind that is that in order for the cocoa to be black, it undergoes a process called dutching.
Dutching is the process where cocoa is treated with an alkalizing agent to remove the acidity, making it less bitter. The more the cocoa is dutched, the darker it turns and the less chocolate flavor.
Even on the back of the package, you can find a note letting you know the product is to be used as a coloring agent for baked goods.
How to store Buttercream?
American Buttercream can be stored away in the fridge for about a week or a couple of days after a week. Just place it in the fridge and well-covered so it does not get any other flavors. I do use some saran wrap and then a freezer Ziploc bag.
My understanding is that pretty much anything that has sugar does not spoil that fast.
Ok, here are two explanations I found online “Microbes need available water to grow, and sugar reduces the availability of water to them. In addition, spread as a thin layer on cake, water evaporates (further reducing water availability).”
“It is called crenation. Basically, the sugar acts as a super-concentrated solution and pulls the fluid from the milk. When it does this, it also pulls fluid from any bacteria which may cause spoilage. Essentially, killing the bacteria through osmosis.”
If you are using only shortening, the shelf life increases and it can be stored pretty much until the “use before” date of the shortening.
So keeping it in the fridge for a couple of days over a week is fine. Just whip it before you use it.