Black Cocoa Cupcakes

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These Black Cocoa Cupcakes are fluffy, moist and piled high with rich black cocoa buttercream! They’re the perfect Halloween treat!

Three Black Cocoa Cupcakes with black cocoa buttercream on a small black cake stand

The coolest thing about these Black Cocoa Cupcakes is that they don’t have food coloring! The black cocoa powder turns these cupcakes pitch black while still tasting absolutely delicious (and without dying your teeth black).

For more black cocoa treats, try my Black Cocoa Crinkle Cookies, Black Cat Cookies or Halloween Ghost Sandwich Cookies!

Ingredient Breakdown

Black cocoa powder – flavors cupcakes and turns them black without the need for any food coloring. My go to black cocoa powder is made by Wincrest but any brand should work fine!

Granulated & brown sugar – sweetens and tenderizes cupcakes. Either light or dark brown sugar will work.

Baking soda & baking powder – both leaveners are needed to help the cupcakes rise.

Buttermilk – adds flavor and moisture.

Vegetable oil – adds moisture and tenderizes cupcakes. Also allows more chocolate flavor to shine through versus butter!

Vanilla extract and salt – enhances flavor.

Hot water – enhances chocolate flavor

What Is Black Cocoa Powder?

Black cocoa powder is cocoa powder that has been super Dutch processed which just means that it has been treated with an alkaline solution to reduce its acidity. This results in a mellower flavor and darker color. It’s actually the ingredient in Oreos that give them their unique flavor and color!

Thanks to the magic of black cocoa powder, these cupcakes and buttercream use zero food coloring but if by some chance your cupcakes/buttercream don’t turn out dark enough then I recommend using a few drops of black gel food coloring. Gel food coloring is the best because it yields a deeper color without using a ton of dye and throwing off the consistency and taste of cake and buttercream the way liquid food coloring does.

My go to black cocoa powder is made by Wincrest but any brand should work fine!

How To Make Black Cocoa Cupcakes

1. Make the black cocoa cupcakes: in a large bowl combine granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, brown sugar, black cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl whisk eggs, buttermilk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract.

3. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Once combined, slowly mix in the hot water (the batter will be thin). Scoop batter into prepared pans 3/4 full. Bake at 350°F for 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

 Black Cocoa Cupcake batter

4. Make the black cocoa buttercream: cream butter until light and fluffy on a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or with a hand mixer.

5. Add the black cocoa powder and mix on low then add the confectioners’ sugar and mix on low until combined. Scrape the bowl as needed.

6. Add vanilla extract and heavy cream or milk then beat until fluffy. Add salt to taste. The buttercream will darken as it sits so don’t panic if it isn’t super black yet! I recommend making it the day before decorating to give it plenty of time to darken.

7. Pipe or spread black cocoa buttercream onto cooled cupcakes. Store Black Cocoa Cupcakes in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature or up to 5 days in the fridge.

 Black Cocoa Cupcakes in a cupcake pan before and after baking

Pro Tips For Black Cocoa cupcakes

  • Weigh your ingredients using a kitchen scale! Measuring ingredients by volume is not accurate.
  • Don’t over mix the cupcake batter otherwise it will develop too much gluten and be dense/gummy!
  • Make sure your water is hot NOT boiling and slowly add it to the batter while stirring so you don’t accidentally cook the eggs.
  • Do not overfill your cupcake liners. Only fill them 3/4 full. I love this cookie scoop because it fills them with the perfect amount of batter!
  • Wait until the cupcakes are COMPLETELY COOLED before frosting otherwise the buttercream will melt and slide off.
  • Make the black cocoa buttercream in advance. It darkens as it sits so don’t panic if it’s not pitch black immediately after making it. I recommend making it the day before decorating the cupcakes.

My Favorite Cupcake Tools

If you try this recipe then please leave a rating/comment below to let me know how you liked it and feel free to ask any recipe questions you may have! 🙂

Black Cocoa Cupcakes

Maria Azzarelli
These Black Cocoa Cupcakes are fluffy, moist and piled high with rich black cocoa buttercream! They're the perfect Halloween treat!
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 43 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 24 cupcakes
Calories 349 kcal

Equipment

  • Two 12-count cupcake pans
  • Stand mixer or hand mixer

Ingredients
  

Black Cocoa Cupcakes

  • 250 g (1 1/4 cups) granulated sugar
  • 210 g (1 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 150 g (3/4 cup) brown sugar
  • 60 g (3/4 cup) black cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 240 g (1 cup) buttermilk
  • 120 g (1/2 cup) vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 60 g (1/4 cup) hot water

Black Cocoa Buttercream

  • 340 g (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened
  • 80 g (1 cup) black cocoa powder
  • 480 g (4 cups) confectioners' sugar
  • 45 g (3 tbsp) heavy cream or milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • salt to taste

Instructions
 

Black Cocoa Cupcake Batter

  • Preheat oven to 350°F and line two 12-count cupcake pans with paper liners.
  • In a large bowl combine granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, brown sugar, black cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl whisk eggs, buttermilk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract.
  • Mix wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Once combined, slowly mix in the hot water (the batter will be thin).
  • Scoop batter into prepared pans 3/4 full. Bake at 350°F for 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Black Cocoa Buttercream

  • Cream butter until light and fluffy on a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or with a hand mixer.
  • Add the black cocoa powder and mix on low then add the confectioners' sugar and mix on low until combined. Scrape the bowl as needed.
  • Add vanilla extract and heavy cream or milk then beat until fluffy. Add salt to taste. The buttercream will darken as it sits so don't panic if it isn't super black yet! I recommend making it the day before decorating to give it plenty of time to darken.
  • Pipe or spread black cocoa buttercream onto cooled cupcakes.

Notes

  • Weigh your ingredients using a kitchen scale! Measuring ingredients by volume is not accurate.
 
  • Store Black Cocoa Cupcakes in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature or up to 5 days in the fridge.
 
  • Butter: I recommend using unsalted butter in the Black Cocoa Buttercream. You can use salted butter, just be sure to omit the extra salt.
 
  • Nutrition: the provided nutritional information is an estimate per serving. Please read my Nutrition Disclaimer for more information.
Calories: 349kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 3gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 52mgSodium: 176mgPotassium: 135mgFiber: 2gSugar: 37gVitamin A: 403IUCalcium: 40mgIron: 1mg
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5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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