Black Cocoa Cream Cheese Buttercream

What's the #1 issue with black frosting...?

Aside from getting white buttercream to turn a deep black - many people worry black buttercream will stain their teeth! 
As we head into spooky season and into Halloween baking, I want to re-share a recipe / tip that I use in almost all my Halloween decorating - black cocoa cream cheese buttercream! Black cocoa powder doesn't contain any dyes; it's simply cocoa powder that has been more heavily dutched or alkalinized. This keeps it from reacting with leavening agents in baked goods. It also gives it a dark color perfect for black frosting that won't taste bad or stain your teeth!

I've added a bit of food dye to the recipe, but it is optional - if you'd prefer to leave the dye out you absolutely can! I do recommend making this black cocoa cream cheese frosting at least 24 hours in advance; letting it sit that long will deepen the black color.

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Black Cocoa Cream Cheese Buttercream

Frosts one 8-inch cake or 24 cupcakes
Prep Time10 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: black buttercream, black cocoa frosting, black frosting
Servings: 1 cake
Author: Sarah H



  • Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with cocoa powder and milk until frosting reaches desired consistency.
  • Add vanilla, black gel color (if desired), and salt if needed and beat until well combined.


As mentioned above, letting the frosting sit for several hours or overnight will deepen the black color several shades! 

Black Cocoa Cream Cheese Buttercream additional notes / links:
Nielsen Massey vanilla extract (best reviewed) Watkins vanilla extract (less expensive)
Americolor black gel food color - I use black pretty frequently, especially around Halloween, so I bought this large bottle from Amazon! 


Make this Black Cocoa Frosting? Let me know how it went – or make my day and find me on Pinterest or on Instagram and tag @IntensiveCakeUnit in your photo!

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