Black Cocoa Cupcakes


These decadent Black Cocoa Cupcakes appear dramatic not only looks but in taste as well. Super moist cupcake and not a drop of food coloring used to get that dark black colour. 

black cocoa cupcakes

I’ve just recently discovered black cocoa.  I can’t remember what spurred my curiosity but I suddenly wanted to try it out and I was on a quest to find it.  I know I’ve seen it sold in a local grocery but alas they don’t seem to be carrying it anymore. Tougher to find than I thought.

 I’ve checked online but I wanted it in hand ASAP so I tried my luck and visited my local Bulk Barn here in Canada. And woohoo they were selling it!  In bulk even! 

Let the black cocoa baking adventures begin!

black cocoa cupcakes recipe


So there are different kinds of cocoa powders available.  There’s the natural cocoa, the most common, the kind that we find in the groceries.  Hershey’s and Nestle are natural cocoa powders. The chocolate taste is what we are most familiar with. 

Then there’s the kind that goes thru what is called Dutch process. Technically, it’s when the cocoa is treated to neutralize the acidity. This results in a darker cocoa powder and a slightly more bitter taste. Apparently, this kind is most common kind of cocoa powder in Europe.  Valrhona is a Dutch processed cocoa powder.

black cocoa powder versus natural cocoa powder

And then there’s the black cocoa powder. So black cocoa powder is actually Dutch processed cocoa powder but on steroids.  It’s super duper Dutched and hence the really dark color.  The taste is quite different from the regular chocolate taste, it’s quite bitter, more complex.  If you love dark chocolate (like me!) I think you will like this flavour as well.  Think Oreo cookies which are made with black cocoa powder.

In the US, King Arthur carries black cocoa powder.  Here in Canada, like I mentioned earlier I was able to get the powder in Bulk Barn. I have no idea what brand it was since it was sold in bulk. 

Side note, when I was in Bulk Barn, I saw red cocoa powder also being sold there.  I’ve never tried it before so that will be an experiment for another time as my curiosity is piqued! 


Okay so while I was doing research on black cocoa, I stumbled on David Lebovitz’s very informative post on cocoa powders.  He mentions about letting the cocoa powder “bloom” by adding hot liquids like boiling water or coffee to release and intensify the chocolate flavour. 

So for this recipe, I let the black cocoa powder bloom by adding hot coffee for the cupcake part and melted hot butter for the frosting part.  I believe letting it bloom made for an even darker result in colour. 

Black cocoa cupcakes INGREDIENTS

black cocoa cupcakes ingredients

Black cocoa powder – you can probably find the King Arthur brand in your grocery but if not you can get it online in Amazon.
Hot coffee -  I just use regular drip coffee but you can also use instant coffee with boiling water
Cake flour – I don’t usually interchange AP and cake flour BUT for this recipe you can replace cake flour with AP flour and the texture won’t suffer
Salt – fine iodized salt is best
Baking soda and Baking powder -  using both for best texture
Sugar – regular granulated sugar
Vegetable oil – you can also use canola or any other unflavoured oils like safflower.
Vanilla – use extract or paste
Butter – I used unsalted butter for the frosting but you can also use salted as an option
Powdered sugar – also called confectioner or icing sugar.

black cocoa cupcakes recipe


This black cocoa cupcakes recipe is based from my super yummy Ultimate Chocolate Cake, I swapped the regular cocoa to black cocoa.  I halved the original recipe. This makes about a dozen cupcakes.  You can easily double the recipe if you need more.


Firstly, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

Mix the black cocoa powder with the hot coffee. Set aside.

bloom black cocoa with hot coffee

In another bowl, sift the cake flour sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

sift dry ingredients in a bowl

Mix in the milk, oil and coffee/cocoa mixture into the dry ingredients. 

black cocoa cupcakes recipe: mix dry and wet ingredients

Add in the egg and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Batter is very liquid but don't worry, it's the way it should be.

black cocoa cupcakes recipe: add egg and vanilla

Use 1/4  cup measure for each cupcake. Using a cup measure will give you nice uniform cupcakes. 

black cocoa cupcake recipe: use 1/4 cup of batter per cupcake

Bake the cupcakes for 17-20 minutes.  Every oven is different always check first for doneness.

The cupcake is ready when an inserted wooden skewer or cake tester comes out clean or when it springs back when lightly pressed with a finger. 

Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting it.


Melt the butter in a saucepan. Turn off the heat when butter is completely melted.  You can also microwave the butter until all melted. 

black cocoa frosting : melt butter

Add in the black cocoa powder and whisk til there's no more lumps.

black cocoa frosting : add black cocoa powder to butter

Alternately mix in the powdered sugar with the milk.  So, first add the a third of the powdered sugar then half the milk. Then add in another third of the sugar then the milk again, and then finish with the last third of the sugar.  

black cocoa frosting : add in powdered sugar
black cocoa frosting : add in milk

At this point, frosting may still be a bit warm and and too soft for piping.  Let it cool at room temperature until thick enough to pipe.  Make sure that it is completely covered either with plastic wrap or in an airtight container.  This frosting will crust when exposed to air. 

black cocoa frosting cupcake


Finally, we can finish the cupcake! 

Place a 1M pastry tip in a piping bag and add in your frosting in the bag.  

Starting from the center of the cupcake, pipe going around until you get to almost the edge of the cupcake.

black cocoa frosting cupcake

Pipe another level. Taper it to a point the higher you go.

black cocoa frosting cupcake

Then another.  Make it as high or as low as you like.

Go on, you can make it look like more frosting than the cupcake. I won't judge you. 

Seriously, coz this frosting is 

black cocoa frosting cupcake

See how dark that is inside? And not a drop of black colouring. 

how to get black frosting without coloring

Can I freeze these  black cocoa cupcakes?

Yes of course! You can do it two ways.

You can make the cupcake and frosting ahead of time and freeze it separately.  Place the cupcakes in a large airtight plastic container. You can place the frosting in an airtight container as well or in a plastic freezer bag (this saves space in the freezer).  Cupcakes can stay up to 2 months in the freezer and frosting up to 6 months. When you are ready to use it, let the cupcakes and frosting first thaw out in the fridge then at room temperature. 

Or you can make and finish the cupcakes and freeze it all frosted.  Freezing time would be shorter, would keep maximum a month in the freezer.  I like to keep it shorter, like 1 week, as the longer it stays in the freezer there is a certain freezer taste I find.   Keep it in an airtight plastic container that has enough room for the frosted cupcake.  When ready, let it thaw slowly in the fridge, then at room temperature.    

DOes it stain your mouth?

Don't laugh but this was the most common question I got when I posted on social media when I made these black cocoa cupcakes.

The short is answer is no! Of course, just right after you bite into it, your teeth and mouth will lool like you had soot on it so just a side note, it might not really be a good idea to eat it on a first date!

But as soon as your mouth is clear of any cupcakes, there is no lingering stain that is true of black cupcakes made with food colouring.  Oh you know what I mean!   

Black COcoa Cupcakes video


By Make Fabulous Cakes


6 tbsp (35 g) unsweetened black cocoa
1/2 cup (120 ml) hot coffee
1 cup (125 g) cake flour
1/2 tsp. (3 g) salt
1 tsp. (5 g) baking soda
1/2 tsp. (2.5 g) baking powder
1 cup (200 g) sugar
1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable oil
1/2 cup (120 ml) milk
1 large egg
1 tsp. (4 g) vanilla


Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

Mix in the black cocoa to the hot coffee and whisk until well mixed.  Set aside.

In another bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and sugar.Add in the milk, oil and hot coffee/cocoa mixture and mix it until smooth.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the egg and vanilla. Beat again until well incorporated. This chocolate cake recipe has a very liquid batter.

Scoop the batter into the prepared pan.  I used the ¼ cup measure to scoop it and fill the liner to about 2/3 full.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes.  

The cupcake is ready when an inserted wooden skewer or cake tester comes out clean or when it springs back when lightly pressed with a finger.  

Cool completely before frosting. 



1/2 cup (120 g) unsalted butter
2/3 cup (65 g) black cocoa
3 cups (360 g) powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

Place butter in a small sauce pan and heat til all melted.

Turn off the heat and add in the black cocoa.  Whisk until smooth.

Alternately add the powdered sugar and milk.  Begin by adding in a third of the powdered sugar and mix.  Then pour in half the milk and mix well.

Add another third of the sugar, use a rubber spatula this time as mixture will become heavier and thicker.  Add the rest of the milk and mix well.  Then add in the rest of the powdered sugar and mix til smooth.

Stir in the vanilla.

Mixture may still be warm and a bit soft at this stage.  So set aside and let the frosting cool until it thickens to spreading consistency. Keep it covered tightly with a plastic wrap until ready to use.


Place the frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a 1M pastry tip. Make a nice tall swirl on the cupcake.


 Yield: About 12-14 cupcakes 

*Does not print in Chrome browser; pls. print in Mozilla or Internet Explorer.

black cocoa cupcakes recipe



black cocoa cupcakes recipe

The images, tutorials and content on are protected by copyright laws. DO NOT distribute or copy the content without written permission. DO NOT edit, crop, or remove watermarks from any image or video. If you intend to use any of the text, templates or images within, it must be linked back to this site with credit given to For questions contact us HERE.

Disclosure: Please note some of the links in this post may be affiliate links, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. This doesn’t cost you anything additional and I truly appreciate this support, thank you!

comments powered by Disqus