Black Velvet Cupcakes are striking dark chocolate cupcakes with a raspberry filling and black cocoa frosting. This recipe's cupcake base is easy to make in about 30 minutes and can be decorated for any occasion, especially Halloween!
If you like red velvet cupcakes, you will love this spin on them! They are decadent cupcakes with a sweet raspberry filling, and the frosting is dark and chocolatey with the addition of black cocoa.
As a day-after-Halloween baby, I grew up with a lot of spooky birthday parties and I wish I had these at them! These unique chocolate cupcakes are inspired by vampires with their midnight appearance, "bloody" raspberry filling, and bat cupcake toppers, making them perfect for your next Halloween party!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- The color is so eye-catching! Instead of red dye, these black velvet cupcakes use black cocoa powder and black food coloring to create a deep, intense cake.
- The raspberry filling in these cupcakes couldn't be simpler. Use your favorite raspberry preserves or jam, no additional steps are required.
- Red velvet cake is known for being incredibly moist, and this black velvet version does not stray from that! The cupcakes are made with vegetable oil and kefir, giving them a well-hydrated, delicious crumb.
You'll need the following ingredients to make these delicious Black Velvet Cupcakes:
- Black cocoa powder is used to add dark color and rich flavor to the cupcakes and frosting. I buy mine online from Amazon, but if you aren't able to get your hands on it you can use regular cocoa powder instead.
- Vegetable oil makes these cupcakes moist and fluffy. You can use vegetable, canola, or other neutral oil.
- Lifeway Organic Plain Whole Milk Kefir adds richness and tang to the cupcakes.
- White vinegar is a surprising ingredient that is used in black and red velvet cake. The vinegar interacts with the baking baking soda in the cake batter to help it rise into a fluffy cake.
- Black food coloring is optional but important if you want to create that deep black color. I like using gel food coloring which can usually be found in the baking aisle of your local grocery store or ordered online. Any black food dye should work just fine!
- My favorite raspberry preserves are by Bonne Maman, but feel free to use any brand or filling that you like!
See recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
Substitutions & Variations
- Substitute cherry preserves in place of the raspberry for a black forest cupcake version!
- Use vanilla buttercream to pipe ghosts on top of the chocolate cupcakes for a spooky decoration.
- If you can't find black cocoa powder, substitute Dutch processed cocoa powder.
- Decorate the cupcakes for Halloween! Use themed sprinkles, spooky cupcake toppers, or add a witch hat using black sugar cones.
- If you don't like filling in your cupcakes, leave out the raspberry jam and top the plain chocolate cupcakes with buttercream.
- If you can't find Lifeway kefir, you're welcome to replace it with an equal amount of buttermilk.
This recipe has not been tested with other substitutions or variations. If you replace or add any ingredients, please let us know how it turned out in the comments below!
How to Make Black Velvet Cupcakes
Quick Recipe Video
Step by Step Instructions
Step 1: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, black cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Step 2: In a separate bowl, whisk the sugar, vegetable oil, egg, kefir, vinegar, and food coloring.
Step 3: Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ones. Then mix in the hot water until just combined.
Step 4: Fill cupcake liners with batter, and bake at 350°F until a toothpick comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Step 5: Make the frosting by mixing softened butter, powdered sugar, black cocoa powder, salt, and heavy cream until light and fluffy.
Step 6: Cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes, fill them with raspberry preserves, and then place the cutout back over the filling.
Step 7: Pipe the frosting on top of the filled cupcakes. I used an extra large closed star piping tip.
Step 8: Add sprinkles, toppers, or any other decorations and enjoy!
Expert Baking Tips
- Don't over-measure the dry ingredients. Use a food scale and weigh the flour in grams (shown in the recipe card's metric tab below).
- Don't over-mix the batter to ensure the cupcakes turn out moist and fluffy!
- Make sure to cool the cupcakes completely before filling and frosting them to avoid melting.
- Use a cupcake corer or a knife to remove the cupcake centers, making sure not to cut all the way through the bottom of the cupcake.
Black velvet cake is a moist cake similar to red velvet, except that it's made with black cocoa powder and black food coloring.
Yes, you can. I'd recommend adding ½ teaspoon of baking powder in its place.
Absolutely. This recipe will make one 8 inch round cake. Layer the raspberry preserves between the cake and frosting or leave it out.
Lifeway's Organic Plain Whole Milk Kefir can be found in many U.S. grocery stores around the dairy aisle, or on lifewaykefir.com.
These black velvet cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container on the counter for 1 day.
The best way to make these cupcakes last longer is to store them in the refrigerator for about 5 days.
Place the unfilled, unfrosted, and cooled cupcakes in a freezer-safe container and store in a freezer-safe container for up to one month. Thaw at room temperature while making the chocolate buttercream and prepping the raspberry filling.
Black Velvet Cupcakes with Raspberry Filling
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring spoons
- Cupcake pan with liners
- Electric mixer recommended for the frosting
- Piping bag and tip
- Decorations optional
Black Velvet Cupcakes
- 1 cup all-purpose flour weighed in grams or spooned and leveled
- ⅓ cup black cocoa powder or regular cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 1 large egg room temperature
- ⅓ cup Lifeway Organic Plain Whole Milk Kefir room temperature
- ½ teaspoon white vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon black food coloring optional, more/less depending on color intensity
- ⅓ cup hot water
- 3 tablespoons raspberry preserves optional, or other filling of choice
Black Buttercream Frosting
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- ½ cup black cocoa powder or regular cocoa powder
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream more/less depending on consistency
- 1 tiny pinch salt to taste
- sprinkles optional
Black Velvet Cupcakes
- Preheat oven to 350°F and fill a cupcake pan with liners.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, vegetable oil, egg, kefir, vinegar, and food coloring.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and mix until a few flour streaks remain. Then, stir in the hot water until combined.
- Pour the batter evenly throughout the cupcake liners (they should be about ½-2/3 full). Bake on the middle rack until a toothpick comes out clean (12-15 minutes).
Black Buttercream Frosting
- In a medium/large bowl, cream together the softened butter, powdered sugar, black cocoa powder, heavy whipping cream, and salt until smooth.
- Transfer the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a large piping tip.
Assemble the Cupcakes
- Cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes (be careful not to cut all the way through the bottom). Save the cutouts. Fill the holes with raspberry preserves, and then place the cutout back on top.
- Pipe frosting on top of the cupcakes and then decorate with sprinkles or any other decorations!
The provided nutritional information is an estimate per serving. Accuracy is not guaranteed.