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Vegan Black Velvet Cupcakes

  • Author: Floured Frame
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12 cupcakes 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


This process will be split into two days. The frosting will be made on Day 1 and the cupcakes the next day. This is because the frosting will need time to deepen in color to get a true black. See notes for more information.



Black Cocoa Frosting

  • 2 sticks –  vegan butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon – AmeriColor Super Black food color gel (it must be gel), see notes
  • 420g (3 ½ cup) – powdered sugar
  • 50g (½ cup) – black cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons – pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon –  salt
  • 2 tablespoons – non-dairy milk, room temperature

Black Velvet Cupcakes

  • 240g (1 cup) – non-dairy milk, 90° F or lukewarm (I used soy)
  • 1/2 teaspoon – white vinegar
  • 210g (1 ⅔ cup) – all-purpose flour, see notes for proper measurements
  • 150g (¾ cup) – granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon – baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon – sea salt
  • 50g (½ cup) – black cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp – vanilla extract
  • 105g (¼ cup + 3 tablespoons) – vegetable oil


  • Food scale
  • Measuring spoons
  • Stand mixer
  • Mixing bowls
  • Whisk
  • Rubber Spatula
  • Cupcake Liners
  • 12-cup Cupcake Pan
  • Piping Bag
  • Large Star Piping Tip


Day 1 – Frosting:

  1. On a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, whip butter on medium speed for 2-5 minutes until creamy and light in color.
  2. Scrape down the bowl and paddle, then add the Americolor Super Black food color gel. Combine it until the butter turns gray. Scraping down the bowl in between, and making sure that all the butter underneath is incorporated.
  3. Next, add the powdered sugar, black cocoa powder, non-dairy milk, vanilla extract, and salt. Turn the mixer to low until all ingredients start to come together. Then increase the speed to medium, and beat for a full two minutes. The color will look like a dark gray at first but darken as time passes.
  4. Place the buttercream in an airtight container and allow the color to deepen for 24 hours or more.
  5.  When ready to use it, bring it to room temperature and re-whip it with your stand mixer to return it to frosting consistency.

Day 2 – Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit and line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Combine non-dairy milk, make sure it’s lukewarm, and apple cider vinegar. Mix and set aside for 5 minutes. This is your vegan buttermilk.
  3. In a large bowl, add the all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix until well combined.
  4. Next, in another bowl, combine vegan buttermilk, oil, sugar, black cocoa powder, and vanilla extract. Whisk until everything is emulsified and then add it to the dry ingredients. Combine all the wet and dry ingredients until you get a thick batter.
  5. Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners. Fill only 2/3rds of the way completely and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Remove the cupcakes from the oven, and let them cool in the pan for 10 minutes. After, remove them from the pan and let them fully cool on a wire cooling rack. Do not frost at this stage, as it will melt.


  • Measure your flour correctly. I test my recipes, 100% in grams. A common reason baked goods fail is incorrectly measured flour. I always recommend using a scale for accuracy when baking. This greatly improves your chance for success and lessens room for error.
  • If you measure by cups, avoid scooping the measuring cup directly into the flour. This tends to pack the flour into the cup, resulting in too much flour and a very dense or gummy finished product. Instead, aerate your flour (fluff it with a fork or spoon) and then spoon it into your measuring cups, leveling it with your finger or the back of a butter knife. Keep in mind though, that this method is not guaranteed to be accurate.
  • Do I need to make the frosting a day before? If you haven’t made black frosting before, black is one of the hardest to achieve in true color. At first, the color of the buttercream might look like wet concrete when you first mix it together. So, the trick is to give it at least 24 hours to deepen in color, and you’ll be blown away at how much darker it gets. To do this, store it in an airtight container and place it in the fridge. When you are ready to use, bring it out to room temp, I suggest 1-2 hours, before you start frosting.
  • How long will these last for? These cupcakes will last in the fridge for up to 3 days. However, they taste best when served at room temperature! I like to let them sit at room temperature for about an hour before serving.
  • Where can I find black cocoa? I ordered mine here, I find that they aren’t commonly seen in grocery stores. But if you can’t find it or would rather buy it in-store, you can sub it for Dutch-processed cocoa, however, the flavor and look will be completely different.
  • Why use gel food coloring? Gel food coloring is way more concentrated in color than liquid food coloring. Meaning, you don’t need to use much of it to get a vibrant color. It’s also formulated so that it won’t affect the consistency or flavor of the buttercream. My favorite gel food coloring to use AmeriColor, they are vegan-friendly!