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Black Chocolate Tie-Dye Cake

This post is a throwback to my 2020 Holographic Halloween Party. I have updated the links to ensure they'll send you to current product options.

Black Chocolate Tie-Dye Cake

I don't know what to say but orange is just not my color. When I started daydreaming of Halloween desserts this year, I decided to go with a non-traditional color palette. So how did I integrate pinks, purples, and blues without losing all the spookiness? I made jet-black frosting.

Black Chocolate Buttercream

This black chocolate buttercream recipe comes from and while it is super simple, she is not kidding when she says that patience is the key ingredient in this recipe. I made the buttercream the night before and even the next morning I was disappointed that it looked a little gray. But after a full 24 hours, it was the perfect crisp black that I was looking for.

Now this recipe also promises not to stain your guests' teeth black... but I made 3 desserts with black food coloring in them, including this one, and a quick brush was necessary afterward. I can't really confirm that this recipe won't stain your teeth because we had a bite of all three!

This was also my first attempt at a regular buttercream without any meringue in it. I found that this buttercream got REALLY hard when cold and REALLY soft when it came to room temperature so I found myself taking it in and out of the fridge a lot. Regardless, it was absolutely delicious and SO SO chocolatey! This recipe was more than plenty to fill and ice my 4-layer, 8-inch cake.

Black Chocolate Tie-Dye Cake

These beautiful sprinkles actually set the color palette for the whole party. I knew I had seen this mix before and it took me a bit of research but I of course found this set from If you do not already subscribe to Yolanda's youtube channel, do yourself a favor and do it now! I pretty much fall asleep watching cakes most nights.

EDIT: These sprinkles are no longer available from How To Cake It but I found a great substitution here.

Black Chocolate Tie-Dye Cake

Now this post isn't necessarily a recipe because I used boxed cake mix and someone else's frosting recipe. However, I do want to share my technique for getting four perfectly tie-dyed cake layers and that wonderfully dipped sprinkle effect! Trust me, if I can do it, anyone can do it. This semi-homemade dessert is definitely foolproof.

I could only make one box at a time because I only have 2 8-inch cake pans, but if you have more than that, you could easily double this recipe and save yourself A LOT of time!

How to Make a Tie-Dye Cake

Make a white cake mix according to the directions on your package. Evenly divide your batter into three mixing bowls. To achieve your tie-dye cake effect, use a large spoon to transfer 2-3 scoops at a time into each bowl to make sure you are dividing into equal amounts. As you get closer to the bottom of your batter, do one spoonful at a time.

For 1 box of cake mix divided into three, I used three drops of food dye in each bowl. The food coloring I used was Sunny Side Up Bakery in violet, fuchsia, and turquoise. If you have enough cake pans to make 2 boxes at once, you may want to use 5-6 drops in each bowl.

Wear gloves when handling this food gel unless you want your fingers stained for a week!

Once you have your three colors mixed well, spray your cake pans with non-stick spray, and then line the bottom with a round piece of parchment paper. Don't skip this step, it may save your cake's life later.

Line up your three colored batter bowls and your two sprayed cake pans. Using three different spoons, dollop each color into the cake pans one at a time. Don't overlap too much although you will need to at the end to fill in some gaps around the edges.

Next, I banged my cake pans hard on the counter to remove any bubbles. This didn't work at all and my cake had so many bubbles in it! I didn't want to swirl a toothpick through the colors because I wanted a color block-type effect but that probably would have helped with the bubbles. If you don't mind bubbles, (I don't) than no worries.

Bake your cakes according to the package instructions and allow them to COMPLETELY COOL in their pans. Once they are room temperature, put the whole cake in its pan in the fridge. Once the cake is super cold, you can remove it from its pan without worrying about it breaking. After removing my layers from their pans, I wrapped them individually in plastic wrap and tossed them in the freezer to chill even more.

Once all of your layers are super chilled, it is time to level them. This part is so satisfying because the 'crust' or 'caramelization' of a colorful cake is NOT cute. The pink looked ok but the purple was brown and the turquoise turned green around the outside of the cake. As soon as I sliced off the humps with a serrated knife, the colors were EXACTLY what I was hoping for. Because of this discoloration, I also carefully cut the caramelization off the bottoms of the cake. If I could go back, I would trim the caramelization from the sides too but my cake already seemed small and I didn't want to lose too much volume.

If you're using the buttercream recipe I linked to above, you'll want to set it out on the counter about an hour before you want to fill and ice your cake, maybe longer.

Fill and ice your cakes as usual. Keep in mind that this buttercream gets REALLY soft at room temperature so you may want to pop your cake in the fridge more often than usual.

To apply the sprinkles around the bottom of the cake, I used my left hand to hold the cake from the bottom. I held it over a bowl of sprinkles which was also on top of a cookie sheet to prevent runaway sprinkles all over my kitchen floor. I ever so slightly tilted the cake and used my right hand to scoop up sprinkles and press them into the side of the cake.

Finally, you can put your remaining buttercream in a piping bag fitted with an open star tip. Pipe your favorite designs on the top of your cake. Add some more sprinkles and your cake is complete!

Black Chocolate Tie-Dye Cake

This cake is perfectly delicious sitting out at room temperature but since the buttercream gets so soft, I suggest keeping it refrigerated as long as possible for easier cutting and serving.

Keep Growing,


All photos taken by Paula Ward Photography


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