This Halloween, serve these spooky Black Velvet Cupcakes! A light and tangy buttermilk cake with a hint of black cocoa is frosted with a rich and decadent black cream cheese frosting. This recipe yields 24 cupcakes.
Are these not the spookiest cupcakes? Black velvet cupcakes are the perfect treat for halloween. A tangy, moist cake that is as impressive as it is black.
What is Makes a Cake Velvet?
Velvet cakes are made using buttermilk and/or vinegar which reacts with the baking soda creating a tangy cake with a velvety texture that is unique to all velvet cakes.
These goulish cupcakes are frosted with a black cream cheese frosting and topped with sprinkles!
To Make These Black Velvet Cupcakes You Will Need:
- extra light olive oil
- unsweetened applesauce
- vanilla extract
- black food coloring
- unbleached all-purpose flour
- black cocoa powder (plus unsweetened cocoa powder – see recipe notes)
- baking soda
- fine salt
Preheat your oven to 350℉ (or 180℃)
Line 2 standard muffin pans with paper liners.
In a 4-cup liquid measuring cup, crack in 2 large eggs and measure and add in 1 cup extra light olive oil, 1 cup buttermilk, 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce, 1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar and 1-1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.
Whisk to combine before pouring in 2 ounces black food coloring. A necessary evil when making these deeply black cupcakes. Rarely do I ever use food coloring. However, I firmly believe, everything in moderation. But if 2 ounces of food coloring makes you uneasy, I personally think you could get away with 1 ounce.
Stir until combined and set off to the side.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, measure and add in 2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, 2 cups granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons black cocoa powder (for a more pronounce chocolaty flavor add 1-1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa power – see recipe notes) , 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1 teaspoon fine salt.
Turn the mixer on low and stir until combined.
What is Black Cocoa Powder?
Black cocoa powder is pure cocoa powder processed in a way that makes it darker. It is lower in acidity, which allows its distinct flavor to shine. Love Oreos? That’s probably because of the black cocoa powder (and the cream filled middle!).
I have seen recipes where black cocoa powder is used to color the black velvet cake. However, since I based this recipe from my red velvet cake recipe, I used food coloring to give it the rich black color.
Black cocoa has a distinct and mild chocolate flavor. For more of a punchy chocolate flavor, consider adding 1-1/2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa along with the black cocoa.
With the mixer on, slowly and carefully, pour in the wet ingredients.
Mixing on low until incorporated.
Black. Like my soul. 😜
Divide the batter among the two pans, roughly 3 generous tablespoons per liner. Bake each batch in your preheated 350° oven for 16 to 18 minutes or until the tops bounce back when pressed gently and a tester comes back with only a few crumbs attached. I bake them separately because my oven is small and extremely old and I worry about uneven baking.
Once baked, remove and allow the cupcakes to cool completely. Meanwhile, make the frosting.
To Make The Black Cream Cheese Frosting You Will Need:
- cream cheese
- unsalted butter
- pure vanilla extract
- black gel food coloring
- powdered sugar
In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, add in the softened cream cheese and unsalted butter. Mix on low to medium-low until smooth and zero lumps.
Next add in 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract and 1 ounce black food coloring gel. I feel like gel coloring works best in frosting recipes.
You guessed it, mix until incorporated.
Sift 9 cups powdered sugar and gradually add it in, mixing well after each addition.
Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, adding more powdered sugar and repeating these steps until the frosting has thickened. For me I needed 9 cups.
The color is unreal.
This recipe makes about 5 cups which is more than plenty to frost cupcakes or a 2-tiered cake.
Scoop frosting into a piping bag.
Not into the black cream cheese frosting? Here is my classic cream cheese frosting recipe!
And frost each cupcake.
Top with a some black sprinkles.
An impressively spooky halloween treat!
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Black Velvet Cupcakes
FOR THE CUPCAKES:
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup extra light olive oil, or other light tasting oil
- 1 cup low fat buttermilk
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 ounces liquid black food coloring, see notes*
- 2½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons black cocoa powder, see notes**
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
FOR THE FROSTING:
- 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ounce black gel food coloring
- 9 cups powdered sugar, sifted
MAKE THE CUPCAKES:
- Preheat your oven to 350℉ (or 180℃) and line 2 standard muffin pans with paper liners.
- In a 4-cup liquid measuring cup, add in the eggs, extra light olive oil, buttermilk, unsweetened applesauce, white distilled vinegar and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine.
- Pour in the black food coloring, stir to combine and set aside.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, measure and add in flour, sugar, black cocoa powder, baking soda and fine salt. With the mixer on low, stir to combine.
- With the mixer still on, slowly and carefully, pour in the wet ingredients. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, mixing well until combined.
- Divide the batter among the two pans, roughly 3 generous tablespoons per liner. Bake each batch in your preheated oven for 16 to 18 minutes or until the tops bounce back when pressed gently and a tester comes back with only a few crumbs attached. I bake them separately because my oven is small and extremely old and I worry about uneven baking.
- Once baked, remove and allow the cupcakes to cool completely. Meanwhile, make the frosting.
MAKE THE FROSTING:
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, add in the softened cream cheese and unsalted butter. Mix on low to medium-low until smooth and zero lumps.
- Next add in 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract and 1 ounce black food coloring gel. mix until incorporated, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as you go.
- Gradually, add in the spoonfuls of sifted powdered sugar, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, repeat until the frosting has thickened. For me I needed 9 cups.
- Add the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a tip of your choice and frost each cupcake.
- Top with sprinkles if desired.
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