September 7, 2022| By

Black Velvet Cake

Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
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Black Velvet Cake is a light and fluffy, cocoa-flavored cake layered with rich Oreo cream cheese frosting for a decadent dessert. With its strikingly unique presentation and distinct taste, you'll want to make this treat for upscale events like adult birthday celebrations and even Halloween parties!

If you are on the hunt for more luscious, chocolate cakes then you should try Strawberries and Cream Chocolate Cake or Chocolate Pound Cake with Peanut Butter Glaze.

black velvet cake on a cake stand.
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This Black Velvet Cake recipe is inspired by the classic red velvet cake dessert. Leave the Betty Crocker cake mix on the shelf because Black Velvet Cake baked from scratch is the way to go!

Once you cut a slice, you will be mesmerized by the stunning, rich black hue of this deliciously dark treat. No food coloring or activated charcoal is necessary because this moist, flavorful cake gets its color naturally from black cocoa.

Black Velvet Cake vs Red Velvet Cake

So if you've never heard of this dessert before then you're probably wondering, "What is the difference between black velvet and red velvet?" Black Velvet Cake contains more cocoa powder than red velvet cake. And unlike red velvet, Black Velvet does not contain food coloring (red or otherwise).

However, both types of cake have a smooth velvety texture and a tangy sweet cream cheese frosting.

Ingredient Notes

ingredients to make black velvet cake - flour, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, black cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda, buttermilk, vinegar, vegetable oil, butter, and kosher salt.
  • Flour: Use the all-purpose variety.
  • Baking soda: Use fresh baking soda so the cake perfectly rises.
  • Black Cocoa: This key ingredient gives the cake its flavor and distinct black color.
  • Kosher salt: Enhances the other flavors.
  • Espresso powder: My special ingredient! It intensifies the chocolate flavor but I promise it won't make your cake coffee-flavored. It actually enhances the cocoa powder.
  • Butter & Vegetable Oil: Both ingredients add moisture but the butter adds more flavor.
  • Sugar: Would it be a cake without some added sweetness?
  • Eggs: Make sure to use room temperature eggs.
  • Vanilla extract: It may seem off to include vanilla in a chocolate cake recipe but it balances the chocolate flavor.
  • Vinegar & Buttermilk: For a tender crumb texture, these ingredients are a must! It also adds a distinct tanginess that is essential for velvet cake.

Oreo Frosting

ingredients to make oreo frosting - powdered sugar, butter, cream cheese, heavy cream, oreos, and vanilla extract.

Whip up this sweet, thick icing in just minutes. Be careful because you might find yourself licking the bowl!

  • Butter
  • Cream cheese
  • Powdered sugar
  • Heavy cream
  • Vanilla extract
  • Salt
  • Oreo cookies

How to Make Black Velvet Cake

a hand lifting up a piece of cake from the black velvet cake.

Bake the Cake

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, black cocoa, kosher salt, and espresso powder. Set aside.

Add room temperature butter and vegetable oil to a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Cream together for 3 minutes, until smooth. Then add sugar and continue to mix for 2 minutes. 

Add eggs one at a time, then add vanilla extract and vinegar and mix until combined.

Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix together until combined. Then add half of the buttermilk. Repeat.

Spray 3 8-inch pans with nonstick baking spray. Divide the batter equally among the pans and bake for 30-33 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a wire rack or plate to cool completely.

Make the Oreo Cream Cheese Frosting

While the cakes are cooling, make the Oreo Frosting. Add cold butter and cold cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream together on low speed, increasing to medium speed until smooth.

Add powdered sugar one cup at a time, going from low speed to medium speed between each cup to ensure the frosting is fluffy. After all of the powdered sugar is added, add vanilla extract and a pinch of salt.

Fold in crushed Oreo cookies.

oreos added to the buttercream.

Layer and Frost the Black Velvet Cake

Once the cakes are cooled, place one of the cakes on a cake stand. Level the cake if needed. Spread an even layer of oreo frosting all around the cake then place the second cake on top. Add an even layer of frosting and repeat with the third layer.

Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes so that the icing can set. Then add another layer of frosting on top of the cake.

Optional: To pipe frosting on top, add leftover frosting to a piping bag with your favorite piping tip and pipe little domes on top of the cake. (I used Wilton piping tip 1A.)

a slice of cake on a wire rack.

Tips

  • I strongly suggest using black cocoa powder but if you don't have any, dark cocoa powder is a good substitute. Your cake may not be black but the inclusion of espresso powder will still ensure a rich dark hue without using food coloring.
  • Measure your flour correctly! Flour scooped right out of the bag can typically be more because the flour is compressed. Fluff up the flour and spoon it into the measuring cup or use a kitchen scale to measure the flour for a more accurate measurement.
  • Another way to tell if the cake is done is if the cake has a slight bounce to it when touched.
  • Before assembling the cake, chill the layers in the freezer for 15 minutes. It will be easier to stack and frost them.

Recipe FAQs

What does Black Velvet Cake taste like?

This cake has a deep chocolate flavor that is not too sweet. It tastes similar to Oreo cookies, in cake form.

Is Black Velvet Cake just chocolate cake?

Black Velvet Cake is different from standard chocolate cake. It is made from black cocoa instead of regular cocoa powder so it is darker in color and not as sweet. Black velvet cake also includes vinegar and buttermilk, which isn't typically included in traditional chocolate cakes.

How long does this cake stay fresh?

Because it contains cream cheese frosting, the cake should not be left at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Store leftover cake in an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to 3 days.

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an up close photo of the top of a black velvet cake.

Black Velvet Cake

Black Velvet Cake is a light and fluffy, cocoa-flavored cake layered with rich Oreo cream cheese frosting for a decadent dessert. With its strikingly unique presentation and distinct taste, you'll want to make this treat for upscale events like adult birthday celebrations and even Halloween parties!
Serving: 12
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Cooling Time 45 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 45 mins
Calories: 600kcal

Equipment

  • 3 8-inch cake pans
  • Cake stand
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Stand Mixer

Ingredients

  • 3 cups All purpose flour
  • 1 tsp Baking soda
  • ¾ cup Black Cocoa
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp Espresso powder
  • ½ cup Butter room temperature
  • 1 cup Vegetable oil
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp Vinegar
  • 1 cup Buttermilk

Oreo Frosting

  • ¾ cup Butter cold
  • 12 oz Cream cheese cold
  • 6 cups Powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp Heavy cream
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • pinch Salt
  • 8 Oreo cookies crushed

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, black cocoa, kosher salt, and espresso powder. Set aside.
  • Add room temperature butter and vegetable oil to a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Cream together for 3 minutes, until smooth. Then add sugar and continue to mix for 2 minutes. 
  • Add eggs one at a time, then add vanilla extract and vinegar and mix until combined.
  • Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix together until combined. Then add half of the buttermilk. Repeat.
  • Spray 3 8-inch pans with nonstick baking spray. Divide the batter equally among the pans and bake for 30-33 minutes, until a tooth pick comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a wire rack or plate to cool completely.
  • While the cakes are cooling, make the Oreo Frosting. Add cold butter and cold cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream together on low speed, increasing to medium speed until smooth.
  • Add powdered sugar one cup at a time, going from low speed to medium speed between each cup to ensure frosting is fluffy. After all of the powdered sugar is added, add vanilla extract and pinch of salt.
  • Fold in crushed oreo cookies.
  • Once the cakes are cooled, place one of the cakes on a cake stand. Level the cake if needed. Spread an even layer of oreo frosting all around the cake then place the second cake on top. Add an even layer of frosting and repeat with the third layer.
  • Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes so that the icing can set. Then add another layer of frosting on top of the cake.
  • Optional: To pipe frosting on top, add leftover frosting to a piping bag with your favorite piping tip and pipe little domes on top of the cake. (I used Wilton piping tip 1A.)

Notes

Tips
  • I strongly suggest using black cocoa powder but if you don't have any, dark cocoa powder is a good substitute. Your cake may not be black but the inclusion of espresso powder will still ensure a rich dark hue without using food coloring.
  • Measure your flour correctly! Flour scooped right out of the bag can typically be more because the flour is compressed. Fluff up the flour and spoon it into the measuring cup or use a kitchen scale to measure the flour for a more accurate measurement.
  • Another way to tell if the cake is done is if the cake has a slight bounce to it when touched.
  • Before assembling the cake, chill the layers in the freezer for 15 minutes. It will be easier to stack and frost them.

Nutrition

Calories: 600kcal | Carbohydrates: 129g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 53g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 139mg | Sodium: 506mg | Potassium: 234mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 98g | Vitamin A: 1121IU | Vitamin C: 0.01mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 4mg
Course: Cakes, Pies, Tarts, Dessert
Cuisine: American

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Recipe Rating




  1. 5 stars
    This cake is nothing short of perfection!! Fluffy, chocolatey, and that Oreo buttercream with the cream cheese is soo good.. I ordered the black cocoa off of Amazon just to make this recipe and it was well worth it!!