The official school yearbook shot.
With hindsight, if I was going to make a black cake again, I’d paint the buttercream with black edible paint (not the concentrated colour, but edible paint - I know Australia have nailed this with @edibleartpaint, which is available in the UK via Amazon). I’d probably even paint the macarons (which I did with the gold ones) because they were the most stubborn to turn. But, if you’re a glutton for punishment like me, or only have black concentrated colour to hand, these are my tips: • Start with chocolate buttercream. Add as much cocoa powder as you can get away with so your starting point is already a dark brown. (If you’re lucky enough to lay your hands on it (I couldn’t) use black cocoa powder - this may negate the need for colouring altogether)
• Colour your buttercream a few hours, if not a day, in advance - the colour deepens on resting. It may look grey to start off with, but a few hours and it should have darkened to black. If not, add a bit more and rest again. This is your best defence against adding more colouring than you need/is recommended.
• Use as little of the black buttercream as you can get away with to cover your cake. I coated mine with a crumb coat and second layer of chocolate buttercream first. A short chill in the fridge and a thin(ish) layer of black buttercream should cover this no problem. • Chocolate ganache takes the colour much easier/quicker than buttercream. Perhaps because it’s still warm when it’s added, I don’t know, but again making ahead and whipping up to a buttercream consistency should mean using much less of the black stuff.
• Macarons. As if these aren’t hard enough already, getting them from white to black without overworking them is a minefield! I did mine the Italian way and coloured both the almond mixture and whipped egg whites separately before adding together. Again, you have to trust that a dark grey will turn to black once rested and cooked. It’s a leap of faith on that one!