Black Buttercream Recipe

This simple frosting recipe is comprised of only three ingredients and requires little to no technique. A combination of butter, powdered sugar and vanilla provides a light, decadent and delicious frosting for cakes, cookies, cupcakes or even brownies. It’s a staple ingredient for bakers of any experience! Buttercream holds a neutral base so you can really customize it to fit your own personal project. For this recipe, we will be using a hazelnut spread for flavor and darkening it to a rich black color. This will provide a wonderful topping for any homemade desserts you are thinking about making for Halloween. Garnishing your pastries with this black buttercream will surely make a statement!


  • 3 Sticks of softened butter
  • 3 cups of sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. of whole milk
  • 1 scoop of hazelnut spread or Nutella
  • 1 package of black gel food dye

You will need an electric hand mixer for this project. Mixing your buttercream by hand could potentially work but will not provide the best results. The hand mixer will incorporate air which will provide a delicate and airy texture to our frosting.

Please note that your butter MUST be softened. By softened, it should still keep its shape but be soft to touch. To soften butter we recommend leaving it sit at room temperature for a couple of minutes.

Step 1: Take your butter and put in a large bowl. Using your hand mixer you will want to whip the butter for about 5 minutes on high-speed. The butter should be 1-2 shades lighter in color and have a whipped cream consistency.

Step 2: Incorporate your powdered sugar. Taking ½ a cup of powdered sugar, place it in the bowl with the whipped butter and mix on low-speed for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, whip on high-speed for 2 more minutes or until well incorporated. Follow this routine until you have ran out of powdered sugar. Use only ½ a cup at a time to ensure that the ingredients are mixed in well. Starting on a low speed and switching to a high speed will lessen the likeliness of powdered sugar going everywhere.

Tip: Sift your powdered sugar before using to get rid of unnecessary clumps. This will give you smoother frosting!

Step 3: After all the powdered sugar is blended into the butter it is time to add your flavoring. Taking a generous scoop of Nutella or hazelnut spread, add it into the bowl with your frosting. Using a medium to high speed, mix this until evenly distributed. Add your vanilla extract and mix. Give your buttercream a taste test and see if you’d like to add more Nutella. Continue adding more until you’ve reached your desired taste.

Tip: If you find your buttercream to be lumpy or thick, slowly add a splash of whole mix and stir until smooth.

Step 4: Now that the base of the buttercream is complete it is time to add some color! In order to achieve a rich, black color you will need to use black food dye. Black food dye is available in liquid or gel form and can be found at select craft or baking stores – especially during the Halloween season! We recommend using the GEL food dye in order to keep your buttercream at a thick consistency. Slowly add a drop of food dye and mix. Add more food dye until you’ve reached your desired color.

Tip: If your buttercream starts to thin out due to the food dye, add a spoonful of powdered sugar and stir until thick. Buttercream should be soft and smooth to touch. However it should be hard to shake off of when placed on a spoon.

Tip: If you do not have black food dye and can not find some, using equal parts of red, green, and blue food coloring will achieve a similar but lighter, grey color. To do so slowly add one drop of each color and mix. Using this method will take longer and will not provide the same results or color.

Step 5: Pipe your buttercream on your favorite desserts! After you have reached your desired color you may pipe your buttercream on anything you’d like!

This recipe is super simple to follow and provides wonderful results. If you are looking for simple ways to spice up your pastries and make them more spooky for the Halloween season, look no further! This buttercream can be left in the pantry for up to 3 days, a week if refrigerated and a month if frozen- so making a big batch and using it throughout the month may not be a bad idea! Hope you enjoy this recipe!

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