Best Ever Black Velvet Cake

a slice of black velvet cake on a white plate.

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This is the BEST Black Velvet Cake! Two layers of moist, tender, cake that is naturally black (no food dye needed), and tastes reminiscent of Oreos. This is a simple, one bowl recipe that bakes up in less than 30 minutes and is perfect for your Halloween festivities! 


Units Scale

For The Cake:

  • 220g all purpose flour
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 70g black cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 240g whole milk
  • 120g neutral flavored oil (vegetable, canola, avocado)
  • 60g full-fat sour cream
  • 2 large eggs- room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 120g boiling water

For The Buttercream:

  • 226g salted butter (2 sticks)- room temperature
  • 400g powdered sugar
  • 40g black cocoa powder
  • 2-3 tablespoons whole milk
  • Small pinch of salt (omit if using salted butter)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line the bottoms two 8 inch round cake pans with parchment paper and spray the sides of the pans with non-stick cooking spray.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, black cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix until well combined.

  3. To the dry ingredients, add in the milk, oil, sour cream, eggs, and white vinegar. Use a wooden spoon to mix everything together until well incorporated.
  4. Next, carefully pour the boiling water into the cake batter and again, mix carefully until the batter is smooth. (it will seem thin, that's ok!)
  5. Divide the chocolate cake batter between the two prepared pans and place into the preheated oven. 
  6. Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Carefully remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool for 10 minutes in the pan before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Once the cakes are cool, you can start making the black cocoa buttercream. To make that, place softened butter into a large mixing bowl and use a hand mixer (or stand mixer) to beat for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
  9. Next, add the powdered sugar, black cocoa powder, milk, and salt (if needed) to the butter. Mix on low speed until fully incorporated, then turn the speed up to medium/high and beat for 2-3 minutes.
  10. To stack your cake, place one layer onto your cake stand, spread buttercream on top, place on the top layer, then cover the entire cake in frosting, decorate, and enjoy!


  • Use room temperature ingredients: Using room temperature ingredients ensures that they blend together easier when mixing, thus resulting in a smoother batter.
  • Measure ingredients properly: You'll notice that the ingredients in the recipe card are listed in grams, and that's because it's the most accurate way to bake.
  • Don't over mix the batter: When stirring everything together, keep mixing until the ingredients are just combined.
  • Substitute boiling water with coffee: No, your cake won't taste like coffee, but it will have a more pronounced chocolate flavor.
  • Don't double the recipe: If you're looking to do a four layer cake, make the same recipe in two batches. Cakes can be finnicky and don't do well always if you simply double the ingredients.
  • Have fun with decorations: Have fun and get creative when decorating! Go for a naked cake look, fully frosted, vintage piping, or keep it easy with themed sprinkles. Whatever you do, just make sure to have fun!
  • Storing: Place a sheet of parchment paper where cake is cut to lock in moisture and store cake in an airtight container at room temp for 2 or in the fridge for up to 5 days. Or cut cake into slices and keep in an airtight container.

Keywords: black velvet cake recipe, Halloween black velvet cake, black cocoa cake