Black Velvet Cake Recipe

This Black Velvet cake is eye-catching. She may appear exotic and ferocious, but she is really just the richest chocolate cake you’ve ever seen. This cake is unlike any other, with four layers of chocolate cake interspersed with the silkiest chocolate black buttercream. Arianna was her name.


For cake

  • 1.5 cups brown sugar (firmly packed)
  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup black cocoa*
  • 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup hot water or coffee
  • 1/2 cup neutral flavoured oil (grapeseed, rice bran)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 100g/3.5ozs. finely chopped dark chocolate

For frosting

  • 375g/13.3ozs. butter, room temperature
  • 190g/6.7ozs. caster sugar
  • 115ml/4flozs. water, room temperature (test on wrist)
  • 3/4 cup black cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To decorate

  • 6 black cherries
  • 6 blackberries
  • Purple and gold sprinkles


  1. Butter and line 2x20cm/8inch round tins. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius (320 degrees Fahrenheit). In a large mixing basin, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, bicarb, and baking powder. Combine the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. The eggs are next added, followed by the water. Gently fold the chopped chocolate into the flour mixture in three or four batches. Bake for 30 minutes after dividing the batter between the two muffin trays.
  2. Fit your mixer with a beater attachment and beat the butter, sugar, and cocoa together on low speed for 1 minute, then raise to a 3 out of 10 speed for 3 minutes. At low speed, add the water and vanilla extract, then beat for another 5 minutes on the same speed (3 out of 10) or until the sugar no longer feels grainy between your fingertips.
  3. Trim the tops from the cakes (I used the surplus to make cake pops) and then use a cake leveller to cut each cake in half horizontally (I am pretty hopeless at achieving a straight slice with a knife). If you have time, cover and freeze the cake layers to make icing them simpler. Spread buttercream between each layer of cake, then top with extra buttercream (a crumb coat isn’t necessary because the cake isn’t very crumby).
  4. Fill a piping bag with some of the buttercream and pipe dollops around the edge of the cake using a 1A tip. Then add black cherries, blackberries, and sprinkles to the top.

Source: Not Quite Nigella

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