Black Velvet Chocolate Cake Recipe

Black velvet buttermilk cake is light, fluffy and has a rich and velvety texture. Combine it with vanilla buttercream for a lighter taste or chocolate ganache for a rich and decadent cake.
↓ Recipe ↓ Video Never Miss A Cake
Total Time: 1 hr
Serves: 8 cups
black velvet cake

Black velvet cake with sweet neon buttercream frosting

This black velvet buttermilk cake is super soft, moist and oh so dark. I paired my black velvet cake with some bright fuchsia sweet frosting. This sweet frosting is similar to that frosting you find at the grocery store. Yes, even I crave that sweet stuff once in a while! It’s so nostalgic! 

black velvet cake

I also wanted to show you guys how to color frosting bright colors. American buttercream (sweet frosting) is the easiest of all the frostings to color but the technique is the same for any buttercream. 

How do you make a black velvet cake?

Haven’t you heard? Black is the new black! How do you make a black velvet cake without tons of food coloring though? Well, the secret is in the cocoa powder!

Did you know not all cocoa powder is created equally? You might read our blog post on cocoa powder to find out more about how using dutched or natural cocoa powder can really affect the final cake!

For years I have been making a delicious chocolate cake recipe using cake flour and it has been a huge hit with my brides! I love it! One of the reasons it’s so delicious is that it uses a very high-quality type of cocoa powder. The cake is moist, fudgy and delicious and perfect for wedding cakes. Now that I am teaching mostly online sculpted cakes, I have found myself sometimes in need of a more sturdy cake recipe.

slice of black velvet cake with bright pink and yellow buttercream frosting on a white plate

What makes a velvet cake velvet?

Velvet cakes are cakes that are baked using buttermilk or vinegar that reacts with baking soda and results in a velvety smooth cake texture. The buttermilk adds a delicious tang to the cake flavor that is classic velvet. 

two slices of black velvet cake on a white plate with cake in the background

neon pink, yellow and green striped buttercream cake with swirls of buttercream on top and bright yellow gumballs

How do you make bright-colored frosting?

This is the easiest way to make bright colors in your frosting. 

  1. Mix up your buttercream frosting. American buttercream colors the easiest but you can color SMBC, IMBC or easy buttercream this way as well. 
  2. Add 1-2 teaspoons of food coloring to your frosting and mix it in with the paddle. You don’t want to incorporate more air. 
  3. Take out 1/4 cup of the buttercream and melt it in the microwave until it’s barely melted. You don’t want it super hot. Add your food coloring to the melted buttercream and stir well. 
  4. Mix that back into the buttercream while mixing on low until combined. 
  5. Leave your buttercream to deepen in color overnight (cover with plastic wrap)
  6. Give your frosting a quick mix before you use it! 

Check out my other velvet cake recipes

Authentic red velvet cake
White velvet buttermilk cake
Pink velvet cake

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Cups of Batter Needed

8 cups

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5 cups

Note: measurements are estimated based off the vanilla cake recipe using standard US cake pans and sizes. Measurements used are for 2" tall cake pans only. Your results may vary. Do not overfill cake pans above manufacturer's recommended guidelines.

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black velvet cake

Black Velvet Chocolate Cake Recipe

Black velvet buttermilk cake is light, fluffy and has a rich and velvety texture. Combine it with vanilla buttercream for a lighter taste or chocolate ganache for a rich and decadent cake.
4.93 from 26 votes
Print Rate Never Miss A Cake
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 1 hr
Serves: 8 cups
Calories: 517kcal


For the black velvet cake

  • 13 oz (369 g) AP flour
  • 6 oz (170 g) unsalted butter room temperature
  • 16 oz (454 g) granulated sugar
  • 4 oz (113 g) black cocoa powder we used Guittard 100% Cocoa Noir
  • 2 ounces (57 g) melted chocolate
  • 4 large (4 large) eggs room temperature
  • 1 tsp (1 tsp) salt
  • 2 tsp (2 1/2 tsp) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoons (1 teaspoons) baking soda
  • 4 oz (114 g) strong coffee hot
  • 8 oz (227 g) buttermilk warm (110ºF)
  • 4 ounces (113 g) vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp (1 tbsp) vanilla extract

Sweet Frosting

  • 8 ounces (227 g) unsalted butter room temperature
  • 8 ounces (227 g) vegetable shortening
  • 24 ounces (680 g) sifted powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoon clear vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 Tablespoons milk or water
  • 2 teaspoons food coloring optional


  • Stand mixer with paddle attachment


For the cake

  • NOTE: If you use a cocoa powder that is different than listed, your cake will not be as dark. You can supplement the color with 1 tsp of super black food coloring
  • Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 350ºF/176ºC.
  • Grease three 8" cake pans with cake goop.
  • Whisk together melted chocolate, cocoa powder, hot coffee, vanilla, and oil until combined (it will look lumpy). Then mix in the warm buttermilk and whisk until combined. Then set aside.
  • Add butter to stand mixer and beat at medium-high speed until smooth and shiny, about 30 seconds. Gradually sprinkle in the sugar, beat until mixture is fluffy and almost white, about 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs 1 at a time, mixing in fully before adding the next egg.
  • Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
  • With the mixer at the lowest speed, add about a third of the dry ingredients to the batter, followed immediately by about a third of the chocolate mixture, mix until ingredients are almost incorporated into the batter. Repeat the process 2 more times. When the batter appears blended, stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Return the mixer to low speed, beat until the batter looks like satin, about 15 seconds longer.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Smooth the tops with a rubber spatula. Bake cakes until they feel firm in the center and a toothpick comes out clean or with just a few crumbs on it, about 30-35 minutes.
    Transfer pans to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto the rack and pop cakes out of pans. Cool completely before frosting.

Sweet Buttercream Frosting

  • Cream your butter until smooth with the whisk attachment (by hand or in the stand mixer is fine)
  • Add the vegetable shortening to the butter and cream until smooth
  • While mixing on low, start adding in your powdered sugar one cup at a time until it's all combined with the butter mixture
  • Add in your salt, vanilla and milk and whip on medium for 10-15 minutes until very light and fluffy
  • If your frosting is too thick, you can add in 1-2 more Tablespoons of water or milk to thin it down to your desired consistency.
  • You can now add in your desired food coloring if you prefer your frosting to be colored. I used electric pink, electric green and electric pink food coloring from Remember, the frosting color will deepen after 24 hours.


If you can't find black cocoa powder you can use regular dutch cocoa powder plus 1 teaspoon of black food coloring or 2 Tablespoons activated charcoal mixed in with your liquid ingredients before adding it to your batter. 


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 517kcal (26%) | Carbohydrates: 61g (20%) | Protein: 3g (6%) | Fat: 30g (46%) | Saturated Fat: 16g (80%) | Cholesterol: 72mg (24%) | Sodium: 219mg (9%) | Potassium: 92mg (3%) | Fiber: 1g (4%) | Sugar: 49g (54%) | Vitamin A: 484IU (10%) | Calcium: 40mg (4%) | Iron: 1mg (6%)
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48 comments on “Black Velvet Chocolate Cake Recipe

  1. Omg this cake looks sooooo delicious! Could you please tell me how many ‘servings’ would be needed for a 1/4 sheet cake pan? Thank you! 🙂

    1. I would love to try it out and I need metrics measurements for this please.. Tia xx

      1. @tia hi, if you look under ingredients, just below vanilla, you can see metric. Touch it and all the US customary will change to metric.

  2. Do you use a simple syrup on your cakes or would you just use the simple syrup as as a spritze to adhere fondant to cakes? I’m a newby, learning so much..
    Thanks you guys

  3. 5 stars
    When I made this cake the sides shrunk except the bottom of the cake. Do the sides came out not even. I greased l and flour the pan. What did I do wrong? It always with chocolate but not the vanilla. Still delish tho. Your reply is greatly appreciated.

  4. Hi, lovely cake recipe. I have only one 6″ pan, so I can I bake it at 3 internals. Hope it doesn’t matter if the batter is outside until one pan is baked m then bake the second n third batter.

  5. 5 stars
    This cake is amazing, it’s so moist & fudgey! I paired it with your vanilla buttercream for a party this weekend & omg amazing!! I can’t rate your recipes enough & look forward to trying the others ? thank you again Liz!!

  6. 3 stars
    Can u plz put these recipes in cup measurements.that would be very helpful for me to do.tks

    1. All my recipes are by weight so that they turn out. Baking with cups is not accurate and could result in a baking fail and wasting of expensive ingredients.

  7. 5 stars
    This recipe used to say 16 ounces of butter. I’m guessing the 6 ounces it’s now at is the correct amount?

      1. Well I’ve made this recipe countless times with 16 ounces ? of butter and it still turned out delicious. It’s even still carvable.


  8. Do you recommend using this recipe for cupcakes?

      1. 5 stars
        When using this recipe for cupcakes, they never fluff/dome. The cupcakes always fall flat.

        Do you recommend a certain oven temperature, omitting/adding ingredients?

        Thank you so much in advance!

  9. When using this recipe for cupcakes, they never fluff/dome. The cupcakes always fall flat.

    Do you recommend a certain oven temperature, omitting/adding ingredients?

    Thank you so much in advance!

  10. I cannot find Dutch process cocoa ANYWHERE within 40 miles. Is natural cocoa ok to substitute?

  11. Metrics measurements please! I so want to try this ONE! Tia

  12. I have been doing, this cake recipe for a quiet sometime, but the last time I made it turn out very dry, do you have any idea, what could be the issue?

  13. Hi! I just got halfway through measuring out my ingredients, and 16oz of sugar seems like so much / just validating that’s the right amount?! So sorry to bug, just fact checking before I proceed!! Thank you so very much!!

  14. Trying to get this correct . In a comment last November you said 6 oz of Butter then in a September comment a few weeks ago you said 16 oz. I want to try the recipe but not sure how much butter is correct ? Thank you

    1. Can you tell me if the 6 oz. butter is correct or 16 oz.? I went to click on the cake recipe and it says 6 oz.? Thank you

  15. Can you use butternilk instead of milk in this recipe?

  16. I noticed you recently changed this recipe and it had always been my go to chocolate cake! It previously used ultrafine sugar and regular milk, not buttermilk. Will the outcome make a big difference? I always had rave reviews with the previous recipe! Thank you! 🙂

    1. I have found the ultrafine sugar doesn’t make a huge difference and the buttermilk makes the cake a bit moister. You can totally stick to the old recipe by leaving the buttermilk as regular milk and leaving out the baking soda.

      1. Thank you so much, I’ll give the buttermilk a try!

  17. if i wanted to use superfine sugar do i use the same amount as granulated sugar? and do you think valrhona cocoa powder is a good one to replace the cocoa noir? thank you!

  18. For the deep color in the frosting did you mean: take out 1/4 cup, semi-melt it and add the color to the melted butter and THEN place that butter back into the rest of the buttercream??

  19. Hi! For the melted chocolate – what kind? Baking, dark, semi-sweet, milk? Thanks for continuing to share your recipes with us!

  20. 5 stars
    I made it this weekend, and I paired it with a whipped cream based Oreo frosting. It was absolutely incredible. I’ve made so many of your recipes, but I think this one is my favorite!

  21. 5 stars
    I made this for my husbands quarantine birthday this week. Despite my scale zapping out mid-way through the prep, this cake turned out delicious. Love these recipes!

  22. Can I use the same amount of ingredients if I use 9’’ pans? That white velvet was AWESOME Ny family loves it so much I’ve made 3 in the last 2 weeks.

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