Black Cherries Soap

Soapmaking Forum

Help Support Soapmaking Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Grandmother & Soaper
Supporting Member
Apr 30, 2016
Reaction score
Western Illinois, USA
Yes, I mean real Black Cherries. In soap. That's right, and it smells divine, just like I baked a cobbler or something. Well not quite a cobbler, as that would also give off the odor of the bread/biscuity/pastry portion; and more of a sugary smell, too because after all, there's a whole lot of extra sugar added to most cobblers. No this smells like baked goods, but the way I like them, without all that extra sugar. Sweet, but not sickeningly sweet, if you get what I mean. Oh, well, maybe I just cannot describe it well enough. Suffice it to say that I have been sniffing this soap days and and hoping I don't compulsively take a bite because it smells so darn good!

And there is no added fragrance. My unfragranced second batch came out smelling so good, I decided that Black Cherries Soap # 3 was going au naturel in the fragrance department. Besides, for the advanced category for the June 2019 Soap Challenge Club, no Fragrance Oils were allowed and I don't think I could come up with any EO blend that would equal or surpass the natural fragrance this soap has without any assistance. Yes, it will undoubtedly fade over time, but I will enjoy it while I can.

So without further ado, here is an image of Black Cherries Soap #3, aka Black Cherries & Paprika:


How I made this soap:

I raided my refrigerator for possible food & drink items to meet the criteria for the advanced category. I settled on some frozen black cherries that I had earmarked to put into smoothies. After thawing them out, I tasted the juice & decided to use some if not all of it as water replacement in the lye solution. (This turned out quite eventful down the road, as cherries contain an abundance of natural sugar.) Then I puréed the cherries as fine as my Bullet would allow. I ended up with quite a lot of purée, & as my husband walked by he asked, 'You're not going to waste that in soap are you?' Well, I chose not to answer, but yes, they were destined for soap. (I did save a teeny tiny bit for him to spread on his toast, however.) The puréed black cherries went into two containers (approximately 325 grams in total of purée) and the cherry juice into another, then to the refrigerator.

Knowing I wasn't likely to have enough cherry juice, I began to consider other drink options and there are so many to consider. But I didn't feel like going out and buying anything new, so I made up some Rice Congee, some Oat Groats Rejuvalac and some Quinoa Rejuvalac. Given the amount of space in my refrigerator, I had to quit after I had filled 3 quart bottles and a few smaller bottles. In fact, I had to drink some of it, which why I normally make these drinks in the first place! BTW, my favorite of the 3 as far as flavor goes, is the Oat Groats Rejuvalac.

And of course, I had to consider how I was going to color the soap to obtain, not only something that would represent the deep deep shade of Black Cherries, but also some contrasting colors to create an interesting swirl. So I set about researching natural ways to get red, but what I really wanted was a deep deep very dark almost purplish red, almost black red. So I set about experimenting with alkanet, which lead me to creating some very very dark, almost black, purple soaps to practice. I also set about infusing a variety of oils with natural colorants. Alkanet root powder, paprika, a few others, until I ran out of space to keep infusing oils - a small boxful - about 9 jars at most.

I even went so far as to order some cochineal bugs (dead of course) online, in spite of the fact that I am a vegetarian and don't like killing or eating animals. I do kill bugs and I am aware that cochineal is already in some of the micas I use in soap (reds) and some of the foods I may eat, I still decided I wanted to try out the method of coloring soap. And anyway, I'm not exactly militant about my vegetarianism, in spite of how I react if my husband contaminates my food with a meat-tainted utensil (I won't eat said contaminated food). I still eat real Caesar Dressing when I eat Caesar Salad. It's my one non-vegetarain thing I eat, so there you go 20 years of being a vegetarian, yet I still let anchovy paste cross my lips when it comes to ordering a Caesar Salad in a restaurant. In fact, I even have a tube of anchovy paste in my fridge, although I can't for the life of me remember when I actually ever used it! Well so much for that tangent!

Well making cochineal colorant was an experience, and I found myself washing my hands even more often than usual, and that's saying a lot. And my nurses training-induced compulsion to keep clean and contaminants apart was really in full force the whole time, I have to admit. Of course, I believe that is a good thing. Who wants dead bugs floating around near their food, right?

Okay, so what else was involved? Well, when it came to test soap, I began with Black Cherry Soap #1, aka Black Cherry Rimmed soap (pictured) or Black Cherry Hearts with Alkanet Rim (not pictured)

The above photo soap would not have qualified for the advanced category as I used micas in it and actual water, but I was only practicing with some of the ingredients at that time. I did not use the cherry juice because I didn't have very much of it and wanted to wait for another soap. (Also, these soaps look a lot better after beveling the edges. I'll have to get another picture and show how much better they look cleaned up.)

By the way, I forgot to mention that cherries are somewhere in the range of 81-84% water, so I reduced the amount of liquid I would normally use by raising my lye concentration to 40%. In my first test soap this seemed perfect. So that's what I went with on the next two Black Cherry soaps.

Black Cherry Soap #2 was my practice run for the final soap that I intended to enter. I ran into an overboil situation with the the cherry juice lye solution, which was quite exciting, but not at all disastrous. Only a tiny bit actually escaped the container and I went ahead and soaped the soap anyway. It was a very small batch; only two bars of soap, but the smell, as I said is divine.

Other than the cherry juice lye solution boil-over, there was only one other problem I ran into. I did not use my SB at all because I wanted a lot of time to work, considering I was working with so many different components: 3 colorants; 3 portions of batter (at least this time, only one lye solution, though) and plans for an intricate design pour in a very tiny space. So at emulsion, I began pouring. Trouble was, it was too thin; the colors mixed with each other too much and became somewhat muddled. My swirl was all but obliterated. There is a hint of in on the tops of the soaps, but the bottoms are a muddle.


Okay, back to Black Cherry soap #3, the first photo.

Lye solutions
I measured out my NaOH in thirds, because I made 3 different lye solutions:

1. Rejuvalac (in lye solution, this is a creamy pale yellow) (paprika will be paired with this)
2. Rejuvalac + Cherry Juice + 1 Tablespoon Alkanet powder (solution looked almost black)
3. Cherry juice + Cochineal (in solution this was reddish brown) (Red Moroccan clay will be paired)

Base oils (not including the color infused oils & one portion in an equal amount that was not colored) were weighed and melted together. The 1:8 ratio of puréed black cherries were added to the oils and I used my SB to get them to a fairly creamy consistency. Of course the bigger particulate matter (cherry skins, or other larger heavier pieces) did tend to fall to the bottom, so more blender just prior to pouring was needed just prior to pouring into 3 containers in equal portions. I labeled each container to be sure not to mix things up in the process of combining ingredients.

Colorant additives (the one's not already in lye solutions)
1. Base Oils (to be paired with Lye sol's #1)
2. Base Oils (to be paired with lye sol'n #2)
3. Base Oils + 1 Table spoon of Red Moroccan Clay mixed well with SB - (to be paired with lye sol'n #3)

I kept out equal amounts of oil for the 3 color portions, which I proceeded to add to the base oils.
1. Paprika-infused oil
2. Alkanet-infused oil
3. Plain oil (no infused colorant)

Final batter mixing combining of all three parts for each of the 3 different color portions for the swirl:
1. Base Oils #1 + Paprika infused oil; then added Lye solution #1
2. Base Oils #2 + Alkanet infused oil; then added Lye solution #2
3. Base Oils #3 (with the added clay) + Plain Oil #3; then added Lye solution #3

I then poured the soap, swirled and put it in the oven for overnight gel. There was enough batter left over to make one heart soap of each color portion, plus one more as a spoon swirl and a tiny little sliver heat soap.
Very pretty soaps! I wonder if I'll ever get to the point I'm willing to make so many test batches. Lol
I love all of them. Thanks for detailing how you did it. Homework will be needed on Rejuvelac, which I never heard of before your post.
I've never heard of rejuvelac either, and I'm going to look ot up right now.
Thank you for your informative post @earlene and all of the accompanying narrative and photos! Please do keep us posted on the progress of them.

As everyone else has commented, I'll add that I have heard of Rejuvelac, but not made a good batch of it. How do you find it works in your soaps? Congrats on all the skills you've mastered and share (including bevelling, don't think that hadn't been noticed!)
Thank you for your informative post @earlene and all of the accompanying narrative and photos! Please do keep us posted on the progress of them.

As everyone else has commented, I'll add that I have heard of Rejuvelac, but not made a good batch of it. How do you find it works in your soaps? Congrats on all the skills you've mastered and share (including bevelling, don't think that hadn't been noticed!)

I've used Rejuvalac in my soaps several times. After I got tired of dealing with the huge bottles of Aloe Juice, I switched to Rejuvalac for awhile. But once I started making masterbatch lye, I don't use as many liquid replacements unless I am experimenting or making a specialty soap.

Rejuvalac has a sour fermented odor in soap at first, but it goes away. Because it contains components from the grain from which it was made, it also probably adds to the soap in hard to measure ways (bubbles, lather, skin feel). And it may very well increase the SF because there is potassium in Rejuvalac; how much would depend on the grain and other factors.

Quote from Global Recharge: "Rejuvalac is rich in proteins, rich in the vitamins E, K, C, B-1, B-3; the minerals magnesium, potassium and manganese; and amino acids".

Now, I would say that the above depends on the grains used and which batch (1st, 2nd, 3rd?) is used, when analyzing Rejuvalac for it's nutrient components. And obviously, when mixed as the lye solution, a lot of that is altered by the lye.

Incidentally, I bought this book about 20 or so years ago called Healing with Whole Foods: Oriental Traditions and Modern Nutrition by Paul Pitchford, in which I first (to my recollection) discovered Rejuvalac. It's one of the books that survived my Great Book Purge of 2005 and a couple other subsequent Book Purges since. It is filled with post-its & book marks from my referencing it. Even my Daughter-in-Law took copious notes from this book while living with me. Come to think of it, I should have bought her a copy as a gift. How thoughtless of me! I think I will order it for her.

Latest posts