Black Velvet Cake

black velvet cake

Black velvet cake is a stunning, glam, goth, cake flavor that is perfect for special occasions or anytime you want a dramatic chocolate cake. This black velvet cake can be transformed by the color of the frosting you use, and would be perfect for Halloween if you add orange food coloring to the vanilla frosting. 


It’s my birthday! So I took this as an opportunity to make a cake as dramatic as me! Ha! Also, I’ll take any chance I get to make the most intense chocolate cake possible. Black velvet cake is a true statement cake that will become center stage to any chocolate lover.

Black Cocoa Powder

 Black CocoaPowder is ultra Dutch processed cocoa powder. It has a strong flavor profile that is somewhat bitter and earthy, so should be used with another cocoa powder.

Black cocoa powder is usually used to give a deep, dark color to baked goods, frostings, and other desserts. In fact, this is the cocoa powder responsible for the color of Oreo cookies! This black velvet cake even reminds me of a cake version of an Oreo cookie!

Something to keep in mind when using black cocoa powder is that it can yield a dry cake if not used properly. Adding extra fat into the cake, along with combining black cocoa with regular Chocolate Cocoa Powder or  Dark Cocoa Powder, will give a moist and fluffy chocolate cake.

The Frosting

For this black velvet cake I used a vanilla bean American buttercream from, Vanilla Frosted Soft Sugar Cookies. However, it would go beautifully with a velvety Swiss or Italian meringue buttercream as well. Take it to chocolate overload by swapping out vanilla for a chocolate buttercream from my chocolate zucchini cake.

As I mentioned, this would be a great cake for Halloween. Just add some orange food coloring to the frosting.

This black velvet cake can easily be turned into cupcakes as well!

The Method

The method to making this black velvet cake is similar to other cakes, just pay special attention to sifting your black cocoa powder with your flour beforehand to remove any clumps.

Since black cocoa powder needs fat added to it, you can use full fat Greek yogurt or full fat sour cream in the recipe. See recipe notes for more substitutions.


Tools For This Black Velvet Cake

Black Velvet Cake

Black Velvet Cake is a dramatic and full chocolate flavored cake that is deep, rich, and decadent. The use of black cocoa powder creates the black cake without any food coloring! Perfect for special occasions and Halloween.


  • 1 1/4 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1.5 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup full fat sour cream or full fat Greek Yogurt
  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder regular or dark
  • 1/3 cup black cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup whole milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and lightly flour 2 8 or 9 inch pans. Alternatively, this recipe can make 24 cupcakes.

    1. Using a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy.

    2. Add eggs one at a time, scraping bowl after each addition.

    3. Add vanilla extract.

    4. Sift flour, cocoa powders, baking power, and salt.

    5. Whisk together sour cream and milk.

    6. Turn mixer to “stir”. Alternate (beginning and ending with flour mixture) between flour mixture and milk. 

    7. Divide evenly between your cake pans.

    8. Bake approximately 28 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

    9. Cool for 15 minutes in the pans before turning out to cool onto wire racks.

    10. Cool completely before frosting.

Recipe Notes

Use any type of frosting. To make these halloween themed, use orange frosting by adding orange food coloring to vanilla frosting.

Use full fat greek yogurt OR sour cream.