Bakers use black icing to decorate horror and Halloween-themed cakes, create cake animals such as monkeys, penguins or whales, or highlight other types of bold or elegant decorations. A buttercream icing, as opposed to a fondant, whipped cream or royal icing, works best for a smooth texture. Getting the icing smooth enough to spread evenly over the cake is a matter of blending the right ingredients and, like most baking exercises, allowing for a little patience. Working with a dark chocolate icing will make getting to black much easier.
Things you need
- Mixing bowl
- 225 g (1/2 lb) softened butter
- 750 ml (3 cups) icing sugar
- 5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract
- 2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
- 50 ml (1/4 cup) full-fat milk
- Spatula or electric mixer
- Double boiler
- 3 Squares cooking chocolate or chocolate chips
- Black decorating paste or black food colouring
Make buttercream icing by hand or with an electric mixer. A standard recipe calls for blending tthe softened butter together with vanilla extract. Gradually add the icing sugar and salt until it is well-blended. To achieve the desired consistency, mix milk into the icing a little at a time. Bakers may also use any preferred buttercream recipe.
Melt the chocolate in a hob double boiler by heating water in the bottom pan and placing the three squares of baking chocolate into the dry top pan. Stir the chocolate as it melts to a smooth consistency.
Pour the melted chocolate slowly into the buttercream, blending well to achieve a uniform colour. The chocolate base makes it easier to achieve a solid black colour without using excessive amounts of food colouring or paste, which can negatively affect the taste of the icing. The smoother the melted chocolate, the smoother the icing will be so make sure it is melted thoroughly and free of lumps.
Stir the black decorating paste into the chocolate buttercream with a spatula. Add colour until it reaches the desired shade of black. Remember that the icing colour will deepen as it sets over one to two hours time.
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