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Welcome to the dark side: The jet black baking trend is here and we’re intrigued

So long rainbow bagels and matcha-flavoured anything. Get your hands on some activated charcoal and get baking!

by: Katelyn Williams of | 28 Aug 2017

(image: Katelyn Williams)

The unicorn trend is officially dead, people. And I, for one, could not be happier. Earlier this year, I predicted the onslaught of black/gothic food as a backlash to all the glitter and pastel rainbows that has been stalking us on Instagram, and well, I’m going to go ahead and say – I told you so!

A quick insta search will bring up everything from ash-coloured pizza to black lemonade and of course, cake (there’s always cake). So what ingredients are actually used to turn absolutely normal-looking treats to bites straight out of an Addams family episode? Well, let me break it down for you:

Activated charcoal
Available from most health stores, activated charcoal is one of the more prominent colouring mediums at the moment in the black food trend. Mainly due to all the good press, it’s been getting about how healthy it is (adding it to a waffle, of course, cancels out the calories in said waffle – duh!) BUT before you rush off and add it to everything, it can also cancel out any medication you’re taking, which is quite alarming really – especially if you’re on birth control. ‘Surprise! I’m pregnant ‘cos I ate a black bagel’ So if you don’t want to be having THAT conversation, sorry, you’re going to have to Instagram the plain, boring-looking bagels.

Dark chocolate or cocoa powder
While dark chocolate isn’t completely black, it is the trick for getting jet black buttercream! Ever wondered how those cakes on Pinterest get so inky black? Chocolate and black gel food colouring. Omitting the chocolate will leave you with a dull grey frosting (and a zero bank balance from the amount of black gel you’ll have to buy!). If you can find it, the black cocoa powder is also amazing at giving a dark black colour (it’s the kind they use in Oreos).


Black sesame seeds
Black sesame seeds won’t necessarily stain foods a deep black colour, but it will help by darkening and flavouring. The end product usually ends up in a dark grey (if colouring from white) with a nutty sesame flavour which can be used in sweet and savoury. Black ice cream, anyone?

Food colouring
For the deepest, truest colour - food colouring (in powder or gel form) is probably your best bet. And It won’t leave you pregnant. Just a few drops of gel or a couple taps of black food colouring powder and you’re good to go! You can also control how dark you want your food to be by lessening or increasing the amount of colouring you put in. It's also perfect for adding to literally anything because it has no flavour. Black waffles, anyone?

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