Black Cupcakes with a moist black cocoa powder sponge, a smooth black cocoa buttercream and decorated with Halloween sprinkles, some deliciously frightful treats that will go down well with absolutely everyone in the family. Rich and decadent, these black velvet cupcakes are very easy to make with a few simple ingredients.
It's October, the month of the falling leaves, harvest and the most awaited holiday of the season: Halloween. Baking some spooky treats is a must for us, and it's such a great fun too.
Black cocoa powder has been such a revelation for me - I am madly in love with its deep vibrant black colour and its oreo-like taste. It beats any black food colouring when it comes to its intensity, and it's just perfect for any Halloween bakes.
My Black Velvet Cake and Black Cocoa Brownies are still one of my favourite decadent treats - and I kid you not, they are so delicious, you really need some good willpower to resist having one too many.
There are cupcakes, and there are black velvet cupcakes - you can't go wrong with them this Halloween! Their unusually spooky blackness will make everyone love every single bite of them.
Ingredient needed to make black sponges
- butter - unsalted, it doesn't have to be at room temperature as it will be melted together with the milk
- milk - I prefer full-fat milk for any bakes, as it's creamier and richer than the semi-skimmed or skimmed
- flour - regular plain flour works fine here
- black cocoa powder - it gives the intense black colour to the cupcakes
- sugar - granulated or caster sugar, whatever you have
- vanilla extract - for some nice flavour
- baking powder - it helps make the sponge lighter and rise better
- egg - at room temperature
Ingredients needed to make the black buttercream
- icing sugar - or confectioners'' sugar, well sifted to avoid lumps in the buttercream
- butter - soft, but not melted
- vanilla extract - or any other extract of your choice
- black cocoa powder - well sifted
- milk -to loosen up the buttercream
Black cocoa powder works wonders in this recipe - it's got the deep colour to make the cupcakes really stand out. If you have trouble finding it though, you can use instead black food colouring.
I would avoid the liquid food colouring though, as they are not strong enough to get us the deep black we need, but usually the paste food colouring works a lot better. While I cannot guarantee the same good results, this is a good enough alternative.
Step-by-step photos and instructions
I adapted this recipe from my Moist Vanilla Cupcakes recipe which uses the hot milk technique, and it gives us the nicest sponge that stays moist and light for days.
- to make the sponges, add the milk and butter cut into cubes to a pan set over a low heat
- let it simmer until the butter is melted and the milk is hot, but not boiling
- remove it from the heat and set aside
- in a large bowl, cream together the egg and sugar until you have a pale yellow colour
- add the milk mixture, sift in the flour, black cocoa powder and baking powder, and add the vanilla extract
- use a spatula to combine all the ingredients into a smooth batter
- line a 6-hole muffin tin with paper cases, and divide the batter evenly
- preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit, 160 degrees fan oven)
- bake the sponges for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middles comes out clean
- set aside to cool down completely
- to make the buttercream, sift the icing sugar and cocoa powder and add them to a food processor together with the soft butter, milk and vanilla extract
- blitz until you get a smooth buttercream
- use a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle to decorate the cupcakes and sprinkle them with sprinkles or any other Halloween edible decorations
Make sure you leave the cupcakes to cool down completely after taking them out of the oven. If they are still warm when you decorate them with the buttercream, this will melt and make a big mess.
I prefer making the buttercream just before I need to pipe the cupcakes, as this tends to harden if left aside for too long, and the piping won't look as smooth and tidy.
Wait until the cupcakes are cold to peel off the cupcake paper, as the sponge would have stuck to the paper. A few hours later will be a lot easier to remove them.
No. Cupcakes do not need to be refrigerated as the sponge will harden too much and the buttercream won't be as smooth. However, it is best to store them in a cool place to avoid the buttercream melting.
A good piping bag fitted with a nice nozzles makes a way better job at decorating the cupcakes. However, if you don't have one, you can just spread the buttercream smoothly over the top and use some sprinkles to make them prettier.
Other cupcake recipes
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- 1 6-hole muffin tin
- 1 food processor
To make the sponges
- 75 g plain flour
- 25 g black cocoa powder
- 50 g butter
- 65 ml full-fat milk
- 1 egg
- 75 g caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
To make the black buttercream
- 175 g icing sugar
- 25 g black cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoon full-fat milk
- 100 g butter, soft
- Halloween sprinkles (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit, 160 degrees fan oven).
- To make the sponges, add the milk and butter to a pan set over a low heat, and leave them to heat up for the butter to melt.
- Remove from the heat and set aside.
- In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to cream together the egg and sugar until you get a smooth pale yellow paste.
- Pour in the milk mixture.
- Sift in the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder, add the vanilla extract and use a spatula to combine all the ingredients into a smooth batter.
- Line a 6-hole muffin tin with paper cases, and divide the batter evenly.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Remove the cupcakes from the oven and leave them to cool down completely.
- When the cupcakes are cool, make the buttercream.
- Sift the icing sugar and black cocoa powder, and add them to a food processor together with the vanilla extract, butter and milk.
- Blitz to get a smooth buttercream.
- Use a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle to decorate the cupcakes, then sprinkle some Halloween sprinkles over.
- Click on the US Customary link to see the measurements displayed in cups and ounces.
- The servings can be adjusted by clicking the number next to Servings.
- Make sure you leave the cupcakes to cool down completely after taking them out of the oven. If they are still warm when you decorate them with the buttercream, this will melt and make a big mess.
- I prefer making the buttercream just before I need to pipe the cupcakes, as this tends to harden if left aside for too long, and the piping won't look as smooth and tidy.
- Wait until the cupcakes are cold to peel off the cupcake paper, as the sponge would have stuck to the paper. A few hours later will be a lot easier to remove them.