October 23, 2023| By

Black Velvet Cupcakes

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
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Black Velvet Cupcakes are a delightful twist on black velvet cake, combining the allure of rich black cocoa powder with the indulgence of a tender and moist cake. These delectable little treats are topped with a crown of smooth and creamy cream cheese frosting which adds a delightful contrast to the intense chocolate richness! 

three black velvet cupcakes on a plate with a pumpkin and fake spiders.
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Indulge in these rich Black Velvet cupcakes, where deep, velvety cocoa meets the sultry embrace of midnight darkness. Each bite is met with a sinfully smooth chocolatey cream cheese frosting that compliments the moist dark cupcakes below.

If you've never had black cocoa before, you are in for a treat. This will especially be a hit for all of the chocolate lovers as it has a deep dark ! And that deep black color makes these moist black velvet cupcakes Ideal for halloween parties!

Why You'll Love This Recipe

  • The perfect halloween cupcakes! These black cupcakes are such a fun treat for the spooky season. They're topped with a gorgeous black buttercream that'll be the hit of any halloween party!
  • Scary delicious! You'll LOVE the flavor of these cupcakes. The black cocoa powder adds a deep rich flavor that is so unique and bold. You won't be able to have just one!
  • Easy to make! The cupcakes don't require the use of an electric mixer, however, you will need a stand mixer for frosting.
an up close photo of a black velvet cupcake cut in half.

Ingredients

Black Cocoa Powder - this is what gives these cupcakes their dark color. It also imparts a deep chocolate flavor - think the flavor of oreos (without the cream filling). I've not seen black cocoa in the grocery store but have found a great product on amazon. We're also using black cocoa in the frosting, which is essentially an american buttercream with a tiny bit of cream cheese to make it into a rich yet tangy cream cheese frosting.

White Vinegar - Vinegar has a lot of uses in this black velvet cupcake recipe. It inhibits the formation of gluten and also helps the cupcakes to rise in the oven. You can also use lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. 

Unsalted Butter - because of the bitter taste of the black cocoa, I found that using unsalted butter is better than salted for this recipe. Ya'll know I usually use salted butter, but for this one, we're going unsalted. In a pinch, if you only have salted, omit the kosher salt entirely.

Large Eggs - use room temperature eggs to ensue a smooth cupcake batter that bakes up evenly! We're also adding an extra egg yolk for added richness and moisture. This cupcakes are MOIST. Save the egg whites for another time!

Black food coloring - totally optional. The cupcakes don't need it but the frosting could use a few drops to get that true dark black color. 

Buttermilk - it's a must! Buttermilk adds a subtle tang to the cupcakes that captures that true "velvet" flavor!

Corn Syrup - we're using corn syrup for the frosting. This ensures a beautiful glossy frosting that is fudgy and perfect for piping!

Pro Baking Tips

Use a kitchen scale to measure your ingredients! for the best results, measure out your ingredients with a kitchen scale as opposed to a measuring cup. This creates consistent results and prevents you from adding too much flour or sugar which can throw off the outcome of the cupcakes.

How to make Black Cocoa Cupcakes 

cupcakes on a silver platter with a pumpkin with lights in the background.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees f. Combine black cocoa powder and hot milk in a small bowl and whisk together and set aside. 
  • Combine sugar, vegetable oil, melted butter, eggs, vanilla extract, vinegar, and milk in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together until combined. 
  • In a separate large bowl, combine all purpose flour, baking powder, kosher salt, and baking soda. Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and then pour in the black cocoa mixture. Add the remainder of the flour mixture and mix with a rubber spatula until just combined.
cupcake batter in a mixing bowl.
  • Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and fill each liner about ⅔ with the cupcake batter. Back for 18-20 minutes. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely on a wire rack.
cupcake batter in a cupcake pan lined with cupcake liners.
  • Make the black cocoa frosting - melt chocolate chips and corn syrup in the microwave. 
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter for 2 minutes, then add cream cheese and beat together for 1 minute. Then add powdered sugar and black cocoa. Continue to mix together until combined, then add melted chocolate mixture and heavy cream. Scrape down the sides of the bowl of your stand mixer and continue to mix for another minute. You can add a couple drops of black food coloring for a true black frosting.
  • final step! Add the black cocoa buttercream to a piping bag and pipe the icing onto the cooled cupcakes. 
a black velvet cupcake in front of a black tree with pumpkins and fake spiders.

Variations

Add a cherry or raspberry filling for added flavor. The fruit pairing with the black cocoa is SO delicious. You can use raspberry preserves or make your own raspberry compote from scratch (just be sure to allow it to cool completely prior to filling the cupcakes). 

Don't have black cocoa powder? You can use natural cocoa powder instead. It won't have that deep color but they'll still be amazing chocolate cupcakes

How to Store Cupcakes 

Allow the cupcakes to cool completely, then wrap each cupcake in plastic wrap to keep them from drying out. You can also store in airtight container if you've already added the frosting.

Because of the cream cheese in the frosting, the cupcakes need to be stored in the refrigerator. Bring them back to room temperature before serving to improve the texture and flavor.

Freezing: Cupcakes can be frozen for longer storage. Place individually wrapped or covered cupcakes in an airtight container or a freezer-safe bag. They can be stored in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. Thaw them in the refrigerator before bringing them to room temperature.

Pro tip: Avoid storing cupcakes away from strong-smelling foods, as cupcakes can absorb odors.

Recipe faqs

Can I use regular cocoa powder? 

You can! However, it won't have have that rich black color.

What is black cocoa powder?

Black cocoa powder is a dark dutch-process cocoa powder - which is cocoa powder that's been ultra processed and treated with an alkali to reduce its acidity. It's intensely chocolatey and has a very distinct flavor. 

What is black velvet flavor?

Black velvet is similar to red velvet but has a more intense chocolate-forward flavor. The flavor is similar to an oreo cookie with a smooth yet rich chocolate flavor.

More Velvet Cakes

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Let's stay connected on social media and continue to cook together! Also, if you decide to make this recipe, please leave a star rating on the recipe card and leave a comment below! Tag @BritneyBreaksBread on Instagram and hashtag #britneybreaksbread so I can see your creations! I hope that you love this recipe as much as we do!

a black velvet cupcake in front of a black tree with pumpkins and fake spiders.

Black Velvet Cupcakes

Black Velvet Cupcakes are a moist cake topped with a crown of smooth chocolatey cream cheese frosting - the perfect Halloween treat!
Serving: 16 cupcakes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 33 minutes
Calories: 430kcal

Equipment

  • 1 12-cup cupcake pan
  • 2 Mixing Bowls
  • Stand Mixer

Ingredients

  • 1 ⅓ cup All Purpose flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp Kosher Salt
  • cup Whole Milk (Hot)
  • cup Black Cocoa
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • cup Vegetable Oil (or any neutral oil)
  • 5 tbsps Unsalted Butter (melted)
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 1 ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp Vinegar
  • ½ cup Buttermilk

Black Cocoa Cream Cheese frosting

  • 1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 4 tbsps Corn Syrup
  • 1 cup Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
  • 4 oz Cream Cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • ½ cup Black Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tbsp Heavy Cream

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees f. Combine black cocoa powder and hot milk in a small bowl and whisk together and set aside. 
  • Combine sugar, vegetable oil, melted butter, eggs and egg yolk, vanilla extract, vinegar, and milk in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together until combined. 
  • In a separate large bowl, combine all purpose flour, baking powder, kosher salt, and baking soda. Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and then pour in the black cocoa mixture. Add the remainder of the flour mixture and mix with a rubber spatula until just combined.
  • Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and fill each liner about ⅔ with the cupcake batter. Back for 18-20 minutes. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Make the black cocoa frosting - melt chocolate chips and corn syrup in the microwave in 15 second increments until melted. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter for 2 minutes, then add cream cheese and beat together for 1 minute. Then add powdered sugar and black cocoa. Continue to mix together until combined, then add melted chocolate mixture and heavy cream.
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl of your stand mixer and continue to mix for another minute. You can add a couple drops of black food coloring for a true black frosting.
  • Add the black cocoa buttercream to a piping bag and pipe the icing onto the cooled cupcakes. 

Nutrition

Calories: 430kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 86mg | Sodium: 168mg | Potassium: 180mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 657IU | Vitamin C: 0.01mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Dessert, Halloween
Cuisine: American

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Recipe Rating




  1. If we just wanted to use this icing recipe and cupcake recipe could we just substitute the black cocoa for regular cocoa for a great chocolate cupcake? I know it wont have that kind of 'oreo' flavor, but wanted to know if it would still be chocolatey enough

  2. 5 stars
    This is the BEST chocolate icing in the WORLD! I saw this recipe on the How Sweet Eats "Currently Crushing On" blogpost yesterday. I made a different red velvet cake recipe for a two layer 8" cake and used this icing. We are taking it to a football party today.
    This will be my chocolate icing for everything moving forward. I think it would be great on cut out cookies too. Thank You So Much for sharing this recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    Omg made these for my wife's bday and she demanded I make them again for Halloween. Awesome silky chocolate taste! We ate the entire dozen!

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