This black velvet cake is a moist black chocolate cake with black fudge frosting! Naturally colored with black cocoa for a unique Oreo-like flavor; it’s a rich chocolate dessert perfect as a Halloween cake, for birthdays, and more!

Black velvet cake cut in half on a white marble platter.

I first discovered black cocoa powder making Oreo cookies as a pastry chef (it’s the secret to Oreo’s classic flavor!). Black cocoa gives this cake a rich flavor and intense black color that won’t stain your mouth and teeth.

I used my best chocolate cake recipe as the base of this black velvet cake because of its rich chocolate flavor and tender texture. Dress it up as a spooky Halloween-themed cake or dress it down to be a black birthday cake; everyone loves it!!

If dark chocolate cake is your love language, try chocolate coffee cake, chocolate raspberry cake, or chocolate ganache cake next.

Black Cocoa Powder: The 411

Black cocoa powder is not the same as other cocoa powders, there’s actually a big difference! 

  • Black cocoa powder is double alkalized, so it’s not as bitter as regular cocoa powder. It also has a stronger and darker chocolate flavor which is why it’s often used for making things like Oreos, black cocoa brownies, and black velvet cake!

Where to Find Black Cocoa

You may have a hard time finding black cocoa powder in stores- I’ve looked pretty extensively but have yet to see it in any baking aisle.

However, it can be found online through Amazon, or directly through baking websites. My personal favorite brands are King Arthur and Black Mountain.

What Is Black Velvet Cake

Aside from its color, it has a lot in common with a classic red velvet cake. It is a deeply rich chocolate cake that has a similar taste and texture to red velvet!

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

Ingredients needed to make black fudge frosting in bowls with labels.
Ingredients needed to make black chocolate cake in bowls with labels.

Black cocoa powder: Substitute with Dutch-processed cocoa powder if needed. You can use a gel black food coloring with it to get it to a dark black color! 

All-purpose flour: It provides the structure of the black velvet cake. I have not tested it with alternative flour like gluten-free flour, but many readers typically have success using Bob’s Red Mill!

Buttermilk: For a tangy flavor, moisture, and rich flavor that stays soft and moist for days. I recommend using store-bought buttermilk and not homemade- it doesn’t have the same fat content!

Hot coffee: Your cake will not taste like coffee. The coffee brings out a more intense chocolate flavor! I also use it in my cream-filled cake for this reason. Use hot water in substitution if needed.

Oil: For a cake that stays moist for days! Flavorless oils like canola or vegetable oil are recommended.

Find the full ingredient measurements and instructions in the recipe card below!

Recipe Instructions

Line three 6-inch round cake pans with parchment paper on the bottoms.

Step 1: Make the fudge frosting. Melt the butter and salt in a pot over medium heat. Whisk in the sugar and heavy cream. Cook until the sugar dissolves and it’s nearly boiling. Then stir in the chocolate chips until melted (image 1 below).

Step 2: Chill the frosting. Stream the liquid mixture into a mixing bowl with the sifted cocoa powders (image 2 below). Add the vanilla and mix until lump-free. Transfer to an airtight container, and chill for 4-6 hours.

Step 3: Mix in the wet ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil and sugar, then mix in the eggs, vanilla extract, and buttermilk (image 3 below).

A process collage of the steps for making black velvet cake.

Step 4: Mix in the dry ingredients. Whisk in the flour mixture until smooth (image 4 above).

Step 5: Mix in the hot coffee. Whisk together the hot coffee and black cocoa powder until lump-free. Then whisk it into the chocolate cake batter until just combined (image 5 below).

Step 6: Bake! Evenly distribute the cake batter into the pans, bake, and cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Then, carefully flip out the cake layers to cool completely (image 6 below).

A process collage of the steps for assembling and decorating black velvet cake.

Step 7: Assemble the cake. Trim the cake domes, then alternate layers of cake with the black buttercream frosting (image 7 above). Place the last layer upside down. Chill in the fridge until set, about 30 minutes.

Step 8: Decorate the cake. Use the rest of the frosting to cover the sides and top of the cake in a thick layer. You can use a small spatula or the back of a spoon to create “swoops” in the frosting for some texture (image 8 above).

How to Decorate for a Halloween Party

Once frosted, chill the cake in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to set the frosting. For a spooky black velvet cake, press pairs of candied eyeballs and white nonpareil sprinkles onto the sides and top. You could also decorate it with:

  • Chocolate sculls
  • Melted marshmallow spider webs
  • Red food coloring splatter
  • Halloween-themed cake toppers
  • Orange and black sprinkles
A slice of black chocolate cake on a white plate with a biten taken out of it.

Professional Baking Tips

Use a kitchen scale. Baking with a scale is much more accurate than cup measurements. To convert this recipe, click the “metric” button next to the ingredients title on the recipe card. If you do not have a scale, use a spoon to fluff the flour first, then spoon it into your measuring cup.

Mix the chocolate cake batter until just combined. This will avoid over-mixing and ensure your cake is perfectly moist and tender!

Evenly distribute the cake batter using a food scale. If the batter is fuller in one pan, it will bake longer or shorter, resulting in an uneven thickness.

Don’t skip the cooling time! If the cake layers are still warm, they will melt the frosting.

FAQs

What flavor is black cocoa?

Black cocoa has a unique flavor that is deeper and richer in chocolate flavor than regular cocoa powder. It has a very similar flavor to Oreo cookies, which is why I also use it in cookies and cream cinnamon rolls.

Is this cake only for Halloween?

No! You can serve it as a black birthday cake with a birthday cake topper or as an everyday cake for anyone who loves black food and Oreo flavors!

Can I make black velvet cupcakes with the cake batter?

Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake them for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out covered in a few moist crumbs.

I want to make this recipe into a sheet cake, is that possible?

Yes, pour the batter into a 9×13 baking pan. Bake at 350 F/180 C. You will need to watch the bake time, it will likely take about 20 minutes to start!

Can black velvet cake be made ahead of time?

Yes! I like to make the frosting and cake layers the day before and then assemble the cake the next day. 

How should black velvet cake be stored? Can it be frozen?

Store leftover cake slices in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. You can also wrap the slices individually in plastic wrap and store them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month.

More Halloween Recipes

If you tried this or any other recipe on my website, please let me know how it went in the comments below, I love hearing from you! Also, please leave a star rating while you’re there! You can also tag me on Instagram or Facebook so I can check it out!

Black velvet cake cut in half on a white marble platter.

Black Velvet Cake

5 from 30 votes
– by Cambrea Gordon

Black velvet cake – moist black chocolate cake with black fudge frosting! Naturally colored with black cocoa for a unique Oreo-like flavor; it's a rich chocolate dessert perfect as a Halloween cake, for birthdays, and more!
Print Recipe Save Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time: 5 hours
Cook Time: 28 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours 28 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10 servings

Equipment

Need Metric Measurements?Use the button options below to toggle between US cups and Metric grams!

Ingredients 
 

Frosting Ingredients

  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 2/3 cup + 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup + 1 tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted
  • 3/4 cup black cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Cake Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup hot coffee, substitute hot water
  • 3/4 cup black cocoa powder

Instructions

  • In a pot, melt the butter and salt. Once melted, whisk in the heavy cream and sugar, whisking occasionally until nearly boiling; about 7-8 minutes. Stir in the chocolate chips until completely melted.
    6 tbsp (84 g) unsalted butter, 3/4 tsp fine sea salt, 1 2/3 cup + 1/4 cup (443 g) heavy whipping cream, 1 1/2 cups (300 g) granulated sugar, 2/3 cup + 1 tbsp (128 g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Add the sifted cocoa powders to a stand mixing bowl. Stream the hot chocolate mixture into the bowl, mixing until combined. Scrape down the bowl and mix for 2-3 minutes until lump-free. Stir in the vanilla, then pour the frosting into a container. Refrigerate for a minimum of 4-6 hours, or overnight before using.
    1 cup (100 g) Dutch-processed cocoa powder, 3/4 cup (75 g) black cocoa powder, 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Line three 6-inch cake pans with a round of parchment paper on the bottoms. Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt until combined. Set aside.
    1 3/4 cup (210 g) all-purpose flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the oil and sugar. Whisk in the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla extract. Then whisk in the dry ingredients until smooth.
    2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar, 1/2 cup (100 g) canola oil, 1 cup (227 g) buttermilk, 2 (110 g) large eggs, 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Whisk together the hot coffee and cocoa powder until lump-free. Then whisk it into the cake batter until just combined.
    2/3 cup (152 g) hot coffee, 3/4 cup (54 g) black cocoa powder
  • Evenly distribute the cake batter into the prepared cake pans. This is best done with a food scale for accuracy, each pan should hold 395 grams.
  • Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out covered in a few moist crumbs. Let the pans cool on a wire rack, then run an offset spatula around the edges and flip them out onto the rack.
  • When ready to assemble, let the frosting come to room temperature, for about 1 hour. In a mixing bowl, paddle-mix the ganache for 30-60 seconds to loosen it. Do not mix it for too long or it will start to lighten in color!
  • Place the first cake layer on your serving board. Pipe an even layer of the black frosting on the top. Continue alternating the cake layers and frosting, placing the last layer upside down. Chill the cake in the fridge for 30-60 minutes, or until the frosting is firm.
  • Use the rest of the frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake, using the back of a spoon to create swoops in the frosting for some texture. Decorate as desired and enjoy!
  • Leftover cake slices should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. They can also be wrapped individually in plastic wrap, placed in an airtight container, and stored in the freezer for up to 1 month!

Video

Notes

For an 8″ cake: decrease the baking soda to 1/2 teaspoon and add 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder. Pour into three 8-inch cake pans. Bake at 325 F/165 C for about 18-20 minutes.
*Measure your flour properly. This is my #1 baking tip! Do not ever scoop a measuring cup into your flour as this always leads to using too much flour. Instead, use the spoon-level method. This means fluffing the flour first, then spooning it into your measuring cup/spoon. For the BEST results, use a kitchen scale!*
 
Serving: 1serving | Calories: 740kcal | Carbohydrates: 101g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 392mg | Potassium: 206mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 75g | Vitamin A: 818IU | Vitamin C: 0.01mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 2mg

The calorie information provided for the recipe is an estimate. The accuracy of the calories listed is not guaranteed.

The calorie information provided for the recipe is an estimate. The accuracy of the calories listed is not guaranteed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




30 Comments

  1. Jacquelyn says:

    Hi! If I wanted this to be a sheet cake, what dimensions
    Should I use and would there be any alterations?

    Thank you, it sounds DELICIOUS!! Can’t wait!

    1. Great question! I haven’t tested it myself, but I would try it in a square 9×9 baking pan. I think the cake would be too thin in a 9×13. Let me know how it turns out if you try it!

  2. Very moist and rich. Goes well with a glass of iced coffee đź‘Ś5 stars

  3. Suzanne Bustamante says:

    Cambrea! I loved this recipe. But I made it with a different frosting about a year ago. Was that with your chocolate buttercream? I can’t remember and I’d love to make the original!

    Please let me know, and thank you so much. All your recipes are so amazing!5 stars

    1. Hi Suzanne, yes! That was with my chocolate buttercream with black cocoa powder instead of regular cocoa powder. I wanted the new frosting to be much richer which is why I changed it. Let me know if you need me to email it to you!

      1. Thank you so much for letting me know! And yes, I’d love for you to email it to me.
        I will try the new recipe, but so hooked on the OG, I wanted it for my recipe book.
        Much appreciate, and again, can not rave enough about your recipes, you make me look very good and my guests very happy!5 stars

        1. Absolutely! I just sent the recipe your way, check your spam folder if you don’t see it in your inbox. Thank you so much for your kind words, I’m so happy to hear you enjoy them!!