One of the questions I get asked a lot is how I manage to get such dark red, brown, purple, black (etc etc) shades of buttercream, such as in my Perfect Buttercream Rose & Tree Stump Cake videos. The answer is simple – I cheat! By that I mean I start off with a buttercream that’s already pretty dark in colour before I add any colouring to it – I use my chocolate buttercream and darken it up even more using melted chocolate before I start. This way I use a lot less colouring to get a dark result, making it easier to mix and less likely to split. You can mix pretty much any colour using this trick as long as you want it to be dark, or a muted warm/ mink type hue.
Now I know the first thing you’re thinking – if I add chocolate won’t my buttercream be just brown? No! Gel colours and droppers are pretty concentrated stuff, they take over the colour tone but sometimes just can’t get over the lightness if you start with bright white buttercream. This means instead of red you have pink, and instead of dark brown or black you have whitish brown or grey. But all that changes as soon as you add melted chocolate – this makes the starting shade so dark it eliminates that pesky whiteness. Plus, this method makes your buttercream taste like chocolate, instead of a mouthful of yuk – you’ll know what I mean if you’ve ever used too much colour before to get a dark shade. Result! The only time this trick doesn’t work well is if you want bright, cool shades such as royal blue or leaf green – for those you just need to use the gel colour as-is.
Now you know my secret to dark buttercream colours 🙂 Hope you find this useful!
You can watch the full video tutorial below:
If you’re a home baker or hobbyist, you can use my super easy & delicious Easy Chocolate Buttercream recipe below. Serious foodies or pro’s should use my original SEBC buttercream recipe chocolate flavour variation, beneath the simple version.
- Mix up a batch of my chocolate buttercream, recipe links above.
- Melt some milk or dark chocolate, allow to cool then gradually add to the buttercream to achieve the correct shade, mixing well between. If you only want to use a small amount of chocolate you can mix it in directly, but if you’d like to use a lot it’s easier to make a ganache first by mixing a few tsp of buttercream into your chocolate, before mixing it with the rest of the buttercream you wish to colour. This will keep the chocolate from setting too hard as you work.
- Add the dropper or gel colours of your choice and mix well. You can vary the shade by the quantity you add (note, lighter shades will have a muted/ mink hue due to the brown of the chocolate).
- For black or very dark colours, start with as dark a buttercream as possible, but remember to mix lighter shades first. You can add more gel colour or chocolate at any stage to darken your result, but you cannot easily make it lighter.
If you want to see which colours and other tools I recommend to get the right results, please visit my recommended products list:
That should be all the information you need to mix your own dark buttercream shades! Thank you for watching and stay tuned for more tutorials to come!