Ghosts and goblins, spooks galore, scary witches at your door, Jack-o-lanterns smiling bright, wishing you a haunting night!
I’m so excited to share this buttercream recipe with you, that I’ve appropriately named Midnight Buttercream, because it’s dark as night, both in color and flavor. Perfect for a haunted Halloween cake.
I made a new discovery in the baking world. Not really new, but new to me, and it’s a game changer: BLACK COCOA POWDER.
Black cocoa powder is an ultra-Dutch processed cocoa powder made from high quality beans. The acidity has been neutralized, leaving the flavor mellow, non bitter, and super dark. It’s the darkest, richest, strongest, most intense cocoa powder you’ll ever try. You know the flavor we love in Oreos? That’s it. But what it also does is act as a natural coloring agent; giving a deep, almost black (haunted) finish, making your desserts show-stopping awesome.
Bonus: It tastes amazing. New obsession.
Seeing all the black cakes floating around on Pinterest and Instagram, I’ve been eager to try the trend. But my research taught me most bakers use black food coloring to get that color, which not only tastes like chemicals, it stains your teeth black. Gross. I wanted to try a more natural route that didn’t sacrifice flavor and create a zombie smile. This brought me to black cocoa powder.
Using black cocoa powder as the base in my chocolate buttercream gave me the deepest, darkest color I’ve ever seen, without adding any chemical tint. And, interestingly, the color got darker over time. Dark as midnight.
Some notes: I’ll be honest, it’s a not a true black, but I wanted to keep it natural. If you’re looking for a true black I’d start with black cocoa as the base and add just a few drops of black tint. A few drops won’t change the flavor or stain your teeth. But just a few! I also wouldn’t use this buttercream as the interior frosting for your cake. Its dark chocolate flavor is so intense you’d need a gallon of cold milk to recover. I used the Midnight buttercream for the cake exterior and a mild vanilla bean buttercream for the layers to balance the rich flavor.
These adorable Supertitious sprinkles are from Sweetapolita. I topped the cake with ghost Peeps I found at the grocery store. Such a sweet and spooky mix.
Makes enough for one 8” four layered cake exterior
2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 oz good quality dark chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature
3/4 cups black cocoa (I used King Arthur Flour Black Cocoa)
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed till light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Change the speed to low and slowly add the melted dark chocolate. Scrape down the sides and mix again till fully incorporated.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the black cocoa. This is when you’ll see the dramatic change in color. Scrape down the sides again and add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, scraping the bowl as needed.
Stop the mixer and add the vanilla, salt, and heavy whipping cream. Mix on low till combined, then change to medium-high speed, mixing for another 3 minutes, till light and fluffy.