The Dramatic Black Velvet Cupcake Recipe That You Need to Try

You’ve probably had a red velvet cupcake, but what about it’s lesser known sibling, the black velvet cupcake? This dramatic twist on the original swaps red food coloring for black, creating an ebony treat that’s far more striking than your every-day chocolate.

black velvet cupcakes with pink frosting

The right frosting can transform this cupcake into a sophisticated dinner party treat, or a spooky Halloween sweet. Check out our black velvet cupcake recipe below!

black velvet cupcakes on plate with pink frosting

Black velvet cupcake recipe

Makes 12 – 16 cupcakes


  • 2½ cups cake flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking cocoa powder (dutch process)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons of white vinegar (distilled)
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 2½ cups superfine sugar
  • 1½ cups butter (room temperature)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1-2 teaspoons black gel food color
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • Cupcake liners
  • Cupcake pan

Step 1:

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Place cupcake liners in each cavity of the pan. Set aside while you prepare batter.

Step 2:

In a stand mixer, cream together butter and superfine sugar. Add black gel food color and vanilla bean paste. Then gradually beat in eggs, mixing on low until incorporated.

Step 3:

In a separate bowl, mix cocoa, flour and salt.

Step 4:

Gradually transfer your dry ingredients from Step 3 into your butter mixture with a large spoon, adding buttercream between scoops of dry ingredients.

Step 5:

Combine baking powder and white vinegar, mixing at medium speed. Your batter should begin to foam. If you aren’t satisfied with the color, feel free to add a little more food coloring, and blend for 5-8 seconds. Keep in mind, your batter should darken when baked!

Step 6:

plain black velvet cupcake

Now separate the batter evenly between your cupcake liners (we fill ours 2/3 full, but ovens differ so keep this in mind). Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Leave to cool.

black velvet cupcake and buttercream

Now for the fun part! Bright white buttercream always makes for a striking contrast, and looks lovely against the dark color of these dramatic cupcakes. If you’re looking something a little more playful, consider a bubblegum pink, or even lime green. For seasonal flair, finish your black velvet cupcakes off with sprinkles or festive fondant toppers.

black velvet cupcake with halloween spiders Chic black velvet cupcake with pink frosting


Black cupcakes may not be everyone’s cup of tea, so when throwing a party, it’s a good idea to offer a traditional cupcakes flavor like vanilla, for those who aren’t feeling quite so adventurous.

Not keen on a totally black cupcakes? Try separating a fourth of your batter, tinting it black, and leaving the rest un-colored. Then spoon both mixes into your liners and marble by swirling with a cocktail stick!

Stylish black velvet cupcake with pink frosting

How will you decorate your black velvet cupcakes?

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