If you have been making soap for any amount of time, you have either heard of or used a fragrance oil called Black Raspberry Vanilla. This fragrance oil has become a favorite among soapmakers because it behaves well in soap. Plus, it it smells great and customers love it!!
So I started wondering what would happen if I used real black raspberries and real vanilla beans in my soap. I will admit that it did not work perfectly for me the first time (more on that later), but I learned from my mistakes and created a really wonderful soap on my second try.
Note: Black raspberries are often confused with blackberries. They are, in fact, different fruits. However, black raspberries are pretty rare and can be very expensive, so I made an executive decision to use blackberries instead. If you can find black raspberries, that would be amazing! Simply substitute them for the blackberries in this recipe.
Preparing the Ingredients
Before we can use fresh ingredients in our soap, we need to prepare them! Here’s what you’ll need to make our two fresh homemade ingredients: pureed blackberries and vanilla bean infused cream.
- 4-6 ounces ripe blackberries
- 4 Vanilla beans
- 4-6 ounces half and half or full cream
Other Tools Used
- cutting board
- paring knife or other small sharp knife
- fine mesh strainer or colander
Making the Berry Puree
PREP THE BLACKBERRIES: Simply place the blackberries into your blender and blend at low speed until they are a jam-like consistency. Set aside until ready to use, or refrigerate if you will not be using it right away.
Making the Vanilla-Infused Cream
PREP THE VANILLA: Place your vanilla beans flat on your cutting board. Using a paring knife, slice the bean lengthwise from one end to the other, leaving about 1/2″ uncut at the end.
Using the top of the knife (the side that isn’t sharp), drag the knife along the inside cut edges of the bean, removing the small black seeds. Repeat for all four beans.
INFUSE THE CREAM: Once the seeds have been removed, chop the beans into 3-4 large pieces each and place them, along with the seeds into your half and half or cream. You can certainly use any non-dairy type of milk here instead of the cream to make this a vegan recipe.
Allow the vanilla and cream to marinate for at least 20 minutes so that any seeds that are still attached to the bean pods will come out into the liquid. When you are ready to use the cream, strain out the large vanilla pieces so that you are only left with the small black specks in the cream.
Making the Black Raspberry Vanilla Soap
Soap Recipe Used
This soap was made as a single recipe, with the blackberry puree going into the purple portion and the vanilla cream going into the white portion.
Total Soap Recipe Oil Amounts
- 16.8 ounces of Coconut Oil (35% of the oils)
- 14.4 ounces of Olive Oil (30% of the oils)
- 4.8 ounces of Avocado Oil (10% of the oils)
- 4.8 ounces of Shea Butter (10% of the oils)
- 4.8 ounces of Rice Bran Oil (10% of the oils)
- 2.4 ounces of Castor Oil (5% of the oils)
- 6.5 ounces of Sodium Hydroxide (10% superfat)
- 9.8 ounces of Filtered Rainwater* (40% lye solution)**
* Feel free to replace with Distilled Water.
** I know that this is a steep water discount. I like to do this so that my soaps harden quickly and cure quickly. Please feel free to adjust this recipe for more water: a 33% solution would use 13.2 ounces of water total.
Fragrance Oil Used
- 1.5 ounces of Black Raspberry Vanilla Fragrance oil
Colorants and Additives Used
- 3 teaspoons of White Kaolin Clay (Wholesale Supplies Plus)***
- 1 teaspoon of Cyber Grape Mica (Nurture Soap)
- 1 teaspoon of Silver Graphite Mica (Micas and More)
- 1 teaspoon of Titanium Dioxide(water soluble) (Micas and More)
- 3 teaspoons of Sodium Lactate (Soaper’s Choice)***
- 2 tablespoons vanilla infused cream
- 2 tablespoons blackberry puree
*** Optional ingredients
PREP IT UP: Prepare your oils, lye solution, and additives. I premixed my micas into 1 tablespoon of sweet almond oil and my titanium dioxide into 1 tablespoon water.
MAKE THE SOAP: Pour your lye solution into your premixed oils. I add my kaolin clay and sodium lactate to my oils and stick blended before adding my lye solution.
Stick blend until you reach a light to medium trace. Add your fragrance oil. (You can also add your fragrance oil before your lye solution, if you’d like.)
Divide your batter into three portions – approximately ¼ of the soap for the gray, then divide the remaining ¾ of soap evenly for the white and purple portions.
Add the purple mica and blackberry puree and stick blend until combined. This was when things got interesting! The soap turned a deep orange color. I just went with it and as it cured, it went back to a light purple.
Add the titanium dioxide and vanilla infused cream to the white portion and stick blend until combined.
Add the gray mica to the smallest portion and stick blend until combined.
SWIRL IT UP: Once all of your colors are ready, pour one at a time into the mold, using half of the purple and half of the white each time, with the entire gray portion between them. Save a few tablespoons of each to decorate the top by randomly placing the three colors all over.
Use a small wooden skewer to swirl the soap in a loose linear pattern.
Cover your mold with plastic wrap and wrap it in a blanket overnight to fully gel. Cut, cure, and enjoy!
A note about my trial and error: A good rule of thumb for using purees is a maximum of 1 ounce of puree/extra liquid per pound of oils. You can also discount your water to account for this, as I did.
The first time I made this soap, however, I thought I could get away with using 4 ounces each of the blackberry puree and the cream, even though I should have maxed out at 3 ounces. The soap worked, but had some issues.
The white portion got very intense glycerin rivers from an excessive amount of liquid and the purple portion was not as firm as it should be. I use a big water discount partially so I don’t have to worry about using extra liquids, but this time, I went too far!!
I also decided to make the purple a lot lighter in my final batch so you can better see the blackberry seeds in the puree. I hope you can learn from my mistakes!
Even chefs have bad days in the kitchen. At least my family will have some soap to use for the next month or two!!
The black raspberry vanilla soap recipe featured in this tutorial is palm free, and can easily be a vegan recipe by replacing the cream for a nut milk or rice milk. It uses a 10% superfat and a 40% lye solution. Feel free to adjust as necessary!
I learned a lot making this tutorial. I love playing around with fresh ingredients and I would love to hear what you have tried or would like to try. Or even some of your fresh food failures! Let me know in the comments below if there is a food item or liquid you’d like to see in my next Using Food in Soap tutorial!