It is possible to find black food coloring in confectionery stores, but it is not as common as other colors. Make your own dye by mixing other colors or explore natural ingredients to color toppings, sweets or savory dishes.
(A) Mixing food colors
Buy red, blue and green dyes.
It is possible to mix these colors to make dark gray, which is the best you can do without buying a black food coloring.
If you are making icing or other icing, use a gel or paste dye. Liquid dyes are less intense and can leave the coating drained.
Add cocoa powder (for white toppings only).
The end result is always better when you start from a dark colored recipe. If you’re using a white icing, you can fix this by putting powdered cocoa, one spoon at a time.
Black cocoa powder gives the best result, but the common one will also work with this method.
If you skip this step you will have to use a lot of dye, which can affect the taste and texture.
Put equal amounts of red, blue and green in the recipe.
Start with just a few likes of each color and mix well. Repeat until the mixture darkens and reaches a shade of black, always placing equal amounts of each color.
It is possible to use yellow instead of green, but as it is lighter, reaching black becomes more difficult.
Adjust the color.
If you see traces of other colors in gray, make the following adjustments:
If it is greenish, add more red.
If it is purple, add more green.
Place one drop of color at a time, stirring well afterwards.
Wait to see the final color.
Most food colors will darken in buttercream and fade a little in royal icing or boiled toppings. If you are making icing or other boiled toppings, consider adding the dye 30 minutes before serving to reduce fading.
In some countries, chemical components in water can change color. Buttercream is usually a more reliable color when made with milk.
Keep the cover or mass away from direct light and heat, which can cause it to fade.
(B) Using natural ingredients
Mix black cocoa powder in the cake batter.
This special type of cocoa powder, marked as “black” or “ultra-processed”, has a darker color and a softer flavor than ordinary cocoa. This will make the cake black and with a very delicate chocolate flavor. When replacing it with regular cocoa powder, make the following changes.
Put a little more fat (butter or oil).
Use a spoon (5 ml) of yeast instead of ¼ of a spoon (1.25 ml).
Put squid ink in savory dishes.
It has a salty taste, so it is not suitable for sweets or desserts. It is commonly used to color pasta, rice or savory sauces. To obtain a more intense color, mix it in fresh homemade pasta (instead of salt and part of the liquid ingredients). For a faster but less consistent recipe, put the ink in the water while the pasta or rice is cooking. Put the paint in the sauce too for a more intense look.
Some fishmongers sell the product, but you may have to go to several to find it.
Put the squid ink in small quantities. It is very salty and can taste like iodine.
Stores specializing in confectionery may have black food coloring for sale.
Black walnut shells can be boiled to make a brown or black paint to decorate egg shells. Eating such ink can be bad, so don’t use it as a dye in food. The broth can stain your skin, clothing and anything else you touch.