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Black Velvet Cupcakes

Black Velvet Cupcakes

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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.
Course Desserts & Sweet Treats
Cuisine American
Keyword black cupcakes, black velvet cake, black velvet cupcakes, cupcakes, halloween, spooky treats
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 18 mins
Total Time 58 mins
Servings 24 cupcakes
Calories 406
Author Laurie McNamara



  • 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
  • teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces liquid black food coloring see notes*
  • cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons black cocoa powder see notes**
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt


  • 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



  • Preheat your oven to 350° 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 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.


  • 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.


*I firmly believe, everything in moderation. But if 2 ounces of food coloring makes you uneasy, I personally think you could get away with making them with 1 ounce.
**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.


Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 406kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 229mg | Sugar: 59g