Black Cocoa Powder Cake

The ultimate in dark chocolate, this black cocoa powder cake is easy, yet makes a gorgeously dark presentation.

After writing our guide to black cocoa powder and testing all kinds of chocolate cakes, our Instagram friends LOVED the look of our chocolate cake made with black cocoa powder.

And I 100% don’t blame them. It’s fudgy, moist and has a gorgeously dark look. Today I’m sharing how to make this homemade chocolate cake.

a piece of black cocoa powder cake on a spatula

Why you’ll love this cake:

  • Homemade fudgy chocolate cake
  • Deliciously dark chocolate frosting
  • Uses black cocoa powder
  • Perfect for picnics and potlucks…or with a scoop of ice cream!

What is black cocoa powder?

Read our complete guide to black cocoa powder which will answer everything about what it is, what bakers use it for, its taste, where to buy it and more.

a piece of fudgy chocolate cake on a plate with a fork

How to Make Black Cocoa Powder Cake

This cake is our favorite homemade chocolate cake, simply with the regular cocoa powder switched out for black cocoa.

Please note…black cocoa powder doesn’t have the traditional flavor that you think of when you think chocolate cake. I find that it isn’t bitter like dark chocolate, but is just more sweet instead of chocolatey.

Make the cake.

  • Preheat oven to 350º Fahrenheit. Grease a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray. Line with parchment paper if you’d like.
  • For the cake, put flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and mix well.
  • In a stand mixer, mix the buttermilk, oil, eggs, vanilla together. Slowly add in the mix of dry ingredients while the mixer is on low. Add the coffee and make sure everything is combined. The batter will be very thin.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for about 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack.

Make the frosting.

I showcased this frosting with half black cocoa powder and half regular cocoa powder. I wanted the frosting to taste more like chocolate which is why I decided to use half and half. If you choose to use all black cocoa powder, you may not have to add quite as much.

  • In a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, cream the butter for 2-3 minutes until it is almost white in appearance.
  • Add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder, 1 cup at a time, while mixing on low speed. Cover the mixer with a dish towel, if needed, to prevent powdered sugar from blowing out of the bowl.
  • Add in the salt and vanilla. Continue mixing on low and add the heavy cream, one tablespoon at a time.
  • With the mixer still running, drizzle in the melted chocolate, allowing it to mix in completely. Turn the mixer to medium and beat for 1-3 minutes, until the buttercream is light and fluffy.
  • Frost the cooled cake.
a closeup of a bite of chocolate cake

How to Store Cake

This cake is safe to store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. It also freezes really well. Double wrap the cake to help keep it fresh.

stack of 3 pieces of chocolate cake
stack of 3 pieces of chocolate cake

Black Cocoa Powder Cake

4.72 from 14 votes
The ultimate in dark chocolate, this black cocoa powder cake is easy, yet makes a gorgeously dark presentation.
Servings 15
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes

Ingredients
 

For the cake:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 227.5 grams
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar 350 grams
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened black cocoa powder 100 grams
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 5 grams
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda 12 grams
  • 1 teaspoon salt 6 grams
  • 1 cup buttermilk 244 grams
  • 1/2 cup canola oil 100 grams
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature 95 grams
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 5 grams
  • 1 cup freshly brewed strong hot coffee 222 grams

For the frosting

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 8 tablespoons heavy cream

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350º Fahrenheit. Grease a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray. Line with parchment paper if you’d like.
  • For the cake, put flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and mix well.
  • In a stand mixer, mix the buttermilk, oil, eggs, vanilla together. Slowly add in the mix of dry ingredients while the mixer is on low. Add the coffee and make sure everything is combined. The batter will be very thin.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for about 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack.
  • In a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, cream the butter for 2-3 minutes until it is almost white in appearance.
  • Add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder, 1 cup at a time, while mixing on low speed. Cover the mixer with a dish towel, if needed, to prevent powdered sugar from blowing out of the bowl.
  • Add in the salt and vanilla. Continue mixing on low and add the heavy cream, one tablespoon at a time.
  • Turn the mixer to medium and beat for 1-2 minutes, until the buttercream is light and fluffy.
  • Frost the cooled cake.
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Notes

The calories shown are based on the cake being cut into 15 pieces, with 1 serving being 1 slice of cake. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information. The information in the nutrition box are calculated through a program and there is room for error. If you need an accurate count, I recommend running the ingredients through your favorite nutrition calculator.**

Nutrition

Calories: 492kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 518mg | Potassium: 201mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 52g | Vitamin A: 554IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 2mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 492
Keyword chocolate cake, sheet cake

Recipe Variations:

  • If you want a touch more chocolate flavor in the cake, add mini chocolate chips.
  • Add sprinkles, nuts or chocolate chips to the top of the cake.
  • Make a strawberry frosting for the top of the cake.
  • Whip up a frosting with dark chocolate melted inside. It’s amazing!
  • Drizzle with white chocolate for a pretty look.

About Julie Clark

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Would this recipe work for cupcakes? If so, do you know about how many it would make?

One of your notes said: I showcased this cake with cocoa powder that is partially black cocoa and partially regular cocoa. I wanted the frosting to taste more like chocolate so added regular cocoa powder too. I’m confused did you use all black cocoa in the cake recipe? All regular cocoa in the frosting recipe? I don’t see where a combo of both types of cocoa powder is used in the cake or frosting recipes. Also in the frosting recipe you say to add melted chocolate. It’s not listed in your frosting ingred list. How much & what type of… Read more »

Why the coffee?

where do you get the black cocoa powder cuz I have cocoa