Gloriously dark and perfect for Halloween, these Black Cupcakes are made with just 7 ingredients that starts with a boxed chocolate cake mix and a magical ingredient that turns these cupcakes black.
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We all love cupcakes for desserts and parties, and these cupcakes always get rave reviews. These cupcakes go beyond just being chocolate and with the help of black cocoa powder, they turn an amazing color. Add a black cocoa buttercream frosting to make all black cupcakes.
Now, before we dive into this recipe, consider yourself warned. This cocoa powder likes to fly away as all cocoa powder does, and yes, if the powder lands on something like maybe your white shirt, it will get black. Never fear, though; I found by experience that it washes out.
Black cocoa powder
Here is the magical ingredient that turns these cupcakes into a deep, dark black color. Use this cocoa powder to make the black frosting, too.
If you like to use box mixes to create some luscious desserts try these recipes that are just as quick and easy as these cupcakes.
- This Banana Cake with Caramel is flavored with vanilla bean seeds for major flavor. This recipe uses a boxed yellow cake.
- The kids love making this Mountain Dew Bundt Cake for their parties. Grab a boxed lemon cake mix and a can of Mountain Dew, for a very lemony cake.
- We have made these Peanut Butter Cup Brownies so many times I've lost count. You need a brownie mix and peanut butter cups.
❤️Why you will love these cupcakes
- These cupcakes don't contain a food coloring that will turn your mouth black; you can achieve the color solely by using black cocoa powder.
- Both the cupcakes and the buttercream frosting are so easy to make, and since you start with a boxed cake mix, you won't need a ton of ingredients.
- These cupcakes make a beautiful presentation for spooky Halloween black cocoa cupcakes that you can call Black Magic Cupcakes. You can also serve them at a more formal event and call them Black Velvet Cupcakes.
The cake ingredients
- Chocolate cake mix - use your favorite brand - I like Duncan Hines Devil's Food cake mix
- Large Eggs
- Vegetable oil
- Black cocoa powder
- Coffee - This is used to bloom the cocoa powder. You can substitute water.
The buttercream frosting ingredients
- Powdered sugar - this is for the buttercream frosting
- Butter - salted or unsalted works for this recipe
- Milk or cream - this will smooth out the frosting and make it creamy
- Chocolate - semi-sweet or dark chocolate tastes the best
- Coffee -mixing coffee with chocolate helps to enhance the chocolate flavor. You won't taste the coffee, but if you are not a coffee drinker you can substitute vanilla.
You can go crazy with tall types and colors of sprinkles to decorate these cupcakes. This is what I used.
- I used these Black cupcake sprinkles, and the Halloween Sprinkle Mix.
- Add the little candy eyeballs for a monster-themed cupcake.
🧁 How To Bake Black Cupcakes
Step 1. The first thing you need to do is heat the coffee and dissolve the black cocoa powder. This is called BLOOMING and it gives the cocoa a richer flavor and it dissolves the cocoa so it incorporates it into the cake batter. Optionally, change out the coffee for water.
Step 2. In a large mixing bowl add the dry cake mix and follow the instructions on the box by adding the water, eggs, and oil. You can use a handheld mixer or use a stand mixer and mix the batter for two minutes then scrape the bowl.
Step 3. To the cake batter add the bloomed black cocoa and mix again for about one minute until the batter is completely mixed, then scrape the bowl again.
Step 4. Pour the batter into lined muffin tins, filling ⅔ full.
Cupcake tip - Use a cookie scoop to proportion the exact amount of cupcake batter. You want to fill the muffin tin ⅔ full of batter which is about a ¼ cup, or use a #20 cookie scoop (it's 2inches wide) which is also ¼ cup and your cupcake batter will be proportioned perfectly. Read this cookie scoop guide to understand all the different sizes of scoops.
Step 5. Bake the cupcakes in the center of the oven at 350˚F for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan then remove cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
Making the buttercream frosting
Step. 6. Melt the chocolate in the microwave, do this in 20-second intervals until melted. Stir the chocolate between each interval. I did this three times. Set aside to cool while mixing the other frosting ingredients.
Step 7. Whisk the powdered sugar and the black cocoa powder together in a large bowl. This will help break up any lumps and it also combines the two ingredients so they get mixed together.
Step 8. In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the room temperature butter for about a minute until it is light and fluffy. Then add the powdered sugar/cocoa powder mixture to the butter in one-cup increments. If you add this all at once you will have powder flying everywhere.
Step 9. Mix in the melted chocolate and add 1 tablespoon of the coffee, or cream. Mix this for one minute. Add additional coffee or cream or both until the icing is smooth and creamy.
Note - As this icing sits the black color becomes darker.
Step 10. Frost the cupcakes with the buttercream and decorate with sprinkles.
You can frost these cupcakes with a knife or you can pipe the frosting on the cupcakes. You can use a variety of icing tips, but for these cupcakes, I used a Wilton #10 round tip.
Step 11. If you are using sprinkles to decorate the cupcakes, make sure you add them immediately so they stick to the icing.
The all-black cupcake is always a favorite.
Also just using a colorful confetti sprinkle mix really looks nice on the black frosting.
Another option is to make a white buttercream for black and white cupcakes.
This is a heavily alkalized, or another term is called "dutched" cocoa powder, and black cocoa powder is ultra-dutched. Because it is alkalized, this powder is not as bitter as regular cocoa powder and it does not have a strong chocolate flavor.
You can add black food coloring which means you will have to use quite a bit to make the icing black. The best way to make chocolate icing black is to use black cocoa powder, it's an all-natural coloring.
Blooming means mixing cocoa powder with a hot liquid so it dissolves. This will remove lumps of the powder and this also releases more of the chocolate flavor in the powder that will make your baked goods extra chocolaty.
- Muffin pans
- Cookie scoop
- Icing bags
- Icing knife
- #10 icing tip
More cake recipes
Because who doesn't like cake?
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- Heat the oven to 350° F. Place the cupcake liners in the muffin pan.
- In a small bowl add the black cocoa powder and the hot coffee, or water, then stir or whisk this until the cocoa powder is dissolved.
- In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, add the cake mix, water, oil, and eggs then mix on low speed to combine. Increase the speed to medium and beat for two minutes. With a rubber scraper, scrape the sides of the bowl.
- Add the dissolved cocoa powder to the cake batter and mix for one minute. Scrape the bowl again.
- Pour the batter into lined muffin tins, filling ⅔ full. This should be a ¼ cup and you can use a large cookie scoop to scoop the batter. Please the pan in the center of the oven and bake for 18 minutes.
- In a small bowl add the chocolate chips and melt in the microwave at (3) 20-second intervals until melted, stir the chocolate between each interval to help it melt. Set this aside to cool.
- In a large bowl add the powdered sugar and the black cocoa powder then whisk together.
- In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until it is light and fluffy.
- Add the powdered sugar/cocoa powder mixture in 1 cup increments and mix on medium speed until totally mixed in with the butter. Mix in the cooled melted chocolate and mix until combined.
- Add 1 tablespoon of coffee and 1 tablespoon of cream and mix until the icing becomes smooth and creamy. You may need to add extra liquid 1 teaspoon at a time to achieve a spreadable icing.
- You can use leftover coffee.
- You can make a small amount of coffee using instant coffee
- You can omit the coffee and use water instead
- You can use all coffee for the liquid or all cream in the icing.
- As you mix the icing you may find it is too thick, if so, add additional liquid 1 teaspoon at a time.
Thank you for stopping by the One Hot Oven blog. Please leave a comment to say Hello, or just let me know what you are baking these days; I always love hearing from fellow bakers. Have any questions or want to chat about the recipe? My contact information is on my About page, and I’ll be happy to help.
From learning to cook on a farm in Indiana to culinary school in California, my passion for food is never-ending. Turning on my oven to bake something for friends and family is my happy place, and I am glad to be here at One Hot Oven sharing sweet and savory family-friendly recipes for your cooking and baking inspiration.