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Kitchen Queries

Welcome to Kitchen Queries, where the nigella.com team will answer your cooking or food related questions.  We’d love you to submit some of your recipe problems, dilemmas or queries for us to get our teeth into!

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  • Black Cake Frosting

    Hi, I want to make a birthday cake and to colour the frosting black.  I don't know how to make black frosting -  can you help please?

    From the nigella team:

    It is quite difficult to get a true black colour on cake frosting and many times they turn out a deep purple rather than black. However there are a couple of things that can help to get a dark, almost-black colour. The first is to use a gel paste rather that liquid food colour as it is much more concentrated and you will generally get a stringer colour when using pastes. 

    The second its to use a chocolate frosting as it already has a dark base colour. Using a white or pale frosting base will result in either a grey-coloured frosting or you will need to add so much food colour to make the frosting black that the food colour will make the frosting taste bitter. You may have a favourite chocolate buttercream recipe that you can use, or try the All-Purpose Chocolate Icing from Domestic Goddess (p195), beating in the food colour a little at a time after the vanilla and rum have been added.

    If you are wanting to colour ready to roll (Regalice/rolled fondant) icing then we would suggest looking for icing that is already coloured black as this will always have a much truer black colour than you can achieve at home. Some UK supermarkets sell boxes containing 4 small packages of pre-coloured icing, which includes black, Wilton sells a "natural" colours pack which includes black. You can also buy chocolate-flavoured ready to roll icing from cake decorating suppliers which again will be easier to colour with black if a large quantity is needed. 

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