This easy Gluten Free Black Velvet Cake recipe is simple to make and contains no food coloring. It’s a perfectly spooky cake for Halloween!
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Gluten Free Black Velvet Cake
This Gluten Free Black Velvet Cake is essentially a black chocolate cake. It gets it’s wonderfully deep, black coloring from black cocoa powder instead of black food coloring.
Like gluten free Red Velvet Cake, this delicious Black Velvet Cake is made with buttermilk for a wonderfully tender crumb. However, it contains more cocoa powder than traditional red velvet cake but doesn’t contain artificial coloring.
Since this cake is pretty much a typical gluten free chocolate cake recipe, it can be served any time of the year (because chocolate is always in season!). However, it’s especially great for Halloween!
That spooky black cake and black frosting combination is a great blank (black!) canvas for your favorite Halloween cake decorations. It’s the perfect cake to serve at a Halloween party!
Black Velvet Cake Ingredients
- Gluten Free Flour – I use my Nightshade Free Gluten Free Flour Blend in this recipe and it produces gluten free cakes with an outstanding texture. You’d never know it was gluten free!
- Xanthan Gum – omit if your flour blend contains it
- Granulated Sugar
- Black Cocoa Powder – this is what gives the cake its deep black color
- Baking Soda
- Baking Powder
- Fine Sea Salt
- Large Eggs
- Buttermilk – room temperature. If you don’t have buttermilk, use 1 cup milk + 1 tablespoon white vinegar. I almost always use homemade buttermilk because I never have it on hand.
- Oil – use a neutral-tasting oil like vegetable oil, canola oil, or Avocado oil
- Pure Vanilla Extract
- Hot Coffee – hot water can be subbed for the coffee. The coffee does not make the cake taste like coffee, it enhances the cocoa powder for a more intense chocolate flavor.
*Be sure to read the full recipe card below for exact measurements and step-by-step instructions.
Equipment Needed to Bake a Cake from Scratch
Basic Kitchen Tools – measuring cups, measuring spoons, mixing spoon, rubber spatula, parchment paper.
Mixing Bowls – you’ll need two for this recipe. A large bowl for dry ingredients and a medium bowl for wet ingredients.
Cake Pans – I used 2 8-inch cake pans for this recipe. 9-inch cake pans can be used but baking time will have to be decreased to avoid over-baking.
Cooling Rack – to cool the cakes to room temperature
These tools are helpful for decorating layer cakes but they’re not necessary. If you only used one, the offset spatula would be my top pick.
How to Make a Black Velvet Cake
This cake recipe can be made in just 5 simple steps!
Step 1. Mix the dry ingredients together.
Step 2. Mix the wet ingredients together.
Step 3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Stir in the coffee.
Step 4. Bake the cakes in a preheated oven in prepared 8-inch round cake pans.
Step 5. Once baked cool the cakes completely, assemble and frost the cake layers, and enjoy!
Best Frosting for Black Velvet Cake
Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting made with black cocoa powder is ideal if you want to stick closer to a true red velvet cake profile, which is slightly tangy.
Black Frosting (American Buttercream) – is perfect if you want a more traditional buttercream to go with the chocolate cake. The black buttercream paired with rich black velvet cake makes the perfect Halloween cake recipe!
Tips for Making Gluten Free Cake
- Don’t worry! The cake batter will be very thin and that’s normal! There’s a lot of liquid in this cake and it comes out so moist and delicious.
- Make this cake recipe if you prefer a homemade cake in the Brooklyn Blackout Cake recipe instead of using gluten free chocolate cake mix.
- If you aren’t able to get black cocoa powder, you can use dark cocoa powder or Dutch-processed cocoa powder with a few drops of black food coloring. I don’t recommend using natural cocoa powder (or regular unsweetened cocoa powder) in this recipe. It won’t produce a dark enough batter naturally and you’ll have to use quite a bit more black colour.
Make Ahead and Storage
You can bake the cake layers ahead of time! Bake the cakes as directed and cool them completely.
Once cool, level the tops if needed and wrap each layer tightly in plastic wrap and place in a freezer-safe ziplock bag. Freeze the layers on a sheet pan to keep them flat.
When ready to frost, you can frost the cakes while still frozen or defrost them for about 30 minutes before hand. Once frosted, let the cake fully defrost before serving. This cake is best served at room temperature.
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Gluten Free Black Velvet Cake
For the Cake
- 1 ¾ cups Gluten Free Baking Flour see notes
- ¾ teaspoon Xanthan Gum, omit if your flour blend contains it
- 2 cups Granulated Sugar
- ¾ cup Black Cocoa Powder
- 2 teaspoons Baking Soda
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1 teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
- 1 cup Buttermilk, room temperature see notes
- ½ cup Vegetable Oil, or Avocado Oil
- 2 Large Eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1 cup Hot Coffee, see notes
For the Frosting
- 1 ½ batches Black Frosting
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray 2 8-inch cake pans with non-stick spray. Line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper and spray that parchment paper with non-stick spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the gluten free flour, xanthan gum, sugar, black cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla extract.
- Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Then pour in the hot coffee and slow stir in to the batter. Mix until fully incorporated.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pans, dividing it evenly between the two pans.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 35 – 40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean and the cake starts to pull away from the edges of the pan.
- Cool the cakes on a wire rack (in the pan) for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the cakes from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.
- When the cakes are fully cooled, prepare the frosting, frost the cake layers, and assemble the cake. Serve at room temperature.
- Read the post for helpful tips to make this recipe.
- I use my nightshade free gluten free flour blend in this recipe. It produces a cake with a nice, light crumb that isn’t gummy or gritty.
- You can make your own buttermilk with 1 cup milk + 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar.
- Hot water can be used in place of the hot coffee.
- Nutrition facts are approximate. Calories do not include frosting.
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Nutrition Facts are estimated and aren’t always accurate. Please consult a doctor or nutritionist if you have special dietary needs.
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