Get ready for this fun new Gluten Free Black Cupcake recipe! They are full of deep chocolate flavor, in a cute treat. Perfect for a fancy black-tie party, Halloween, or anytime you want to dare to be different!

Black cupcakes frosted to look like roses.

Today, I wanted to do two things with this post. First, I wanted to do something different. My daughter got me addicted to a new Netflix series called Sugar Rush. It is a dessert baking competition for professional bakers. Talk about droolishious desserts…it takes baking and cake decorating to an insane level!!

My daughter loves to decorate things I bake, so when we saw a team create a black cupcake recipe…we were both intrigued. These cupcakes are so versatile!

You will be hooked with one bite of these decadent black velvet cupcakes! Top with my Black Buttercream Frosting. From fancy black roses to frosting swirls, add a white chocolate bow tie!

Why these cupcakes are so fun:

These black cupcakes are not only delicious, but their dark black color lends themselves well to fancy parties, Valentine’s Day, and Halloween. You can darken them in a couple of different ways.

How do you make cupcakes black?

These black cupcakes are tricky to make…to get that deep black color, you can do it a couple of ways. You can use activated charcoal, coconut charcoal, or lots of black food dye. We have charcoal on hand as it is a good detoxer if you accidentally get glutened, but it takes a LOT of charcoal to get a dark black color.

My daughter and I decided combining a little charcoal and black dye would be better. Many bakers use charcoal, but it has a few things you should know before you decide to use it. It is considered a binder, and it binds everything in your gut.

For this reason, I recommend using a good gel black food dye for the cupcakes and frosting.

A close up of a black cupcake on a charcoal grey plate.

These gluten free black velvet cupcakes are so easy to make. If you love cupcakes as much as we do, you will want to try all of the Best Gluten Free Cupcake recipes on this blog!!

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Ingredient Notes:

  • Gluten free flour blend – I have tested this recipe with King Arthur Measure for Measure GF and Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 GF blend. That doesn’t mean others will not work, I just have not tested other flours.
  • Xanthan gum – If your gluten free flour blend doesn’t contain Xanthan Gum or Guar Gum, please add 1 teaspoon.
  • Butter – To make this recipe dairy-free, substitute the butter for vegan butter and use non-dairy milk.
  • Black food dye – I prefer to use gel food dyes; they are less messy and don’t splash. This prevents the risk of staining your clothing.

Recipe step-by-step directions:

Black cupcakes dry ingredients in a bowl.

Step 1: Add your dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl.

Whisked dry ingredients in a bowl.

Step 2: Whisk the ingredients together. You will note the dry ingredients are not really dark black yet.

Wet ingredients poured over the dry ingredients in a bowl.

Step 3: Pour your wet ingredients over the dry ingredients. Add your black food dye now and mix. (*This photo is before I added the black food dye.)

Cupcake batter in a muffin tin.

Step 4: If you are not using cupcake liners, spray coconut oil in a muffin tin and add your gluten free cupcake batter. Bake at 350º F for 20 minutes until done. 

Baked black cupcakes in a muffin tin.

Step 5: Remove the black cupcakes onto a cooling rack. While the black velvet cupcakes are cooling, it is time to make the frosting.

Black frosting in a standing mixer.

How to Make Frosting Rose Petals:

Step 1: Add the frosting ingredients to a standing mixer. Mix on low speed, gradually increasing the speed. Whip until the frosting is light and fluffy!

The cupcake decorating tip.

Step 2: To make the rose frosting decoration, you will want to use a tip like this. Depending on petal size, you can use a small or larger tip.

Making black rose petals out of frosting.

Step 3: Squeeze the frosting bag with the fat side of the tip pointing outward and the skinny side towards the cupcake. Squeeze and make petals. 

Making more black frosting rose petals.

Continue to swirl around with the petals until you reach the base of the cupcake.

Tips and Recipe FAQ:

How do you prevent the cocoa powder from turning the cupcakes muddy?

You must use good cocoa powder to avoid your cupcakes turning greyish! I recommend Anthony’s or Ghirardelli.

How long will these keep fresh?

These cupcakes will last up to 4 days in an air-tight container or up to 4 months in the freezer.

How do you keep these cupcakes light and fluffy?

Mixing your batter by hand is the secret to light and fluffy cupcakes. Mix the wet and dry ingredients until they are just barely mixed. Overmixing can break up the air bubbles, making your cupcakes denser.

What kind of non-dairy milk is best for this recipe?

Dairy-free milk will work, but I do not recommend canned coconut milk.

Black cupcakes with large googly eyes for Halloween.

Add googly candy eyes, and you have the perfect Halloween cupcakes!! This recipe makes 12 gluten free black cupcakes. Need more cupcakes???

More Gluten Free Cupcake Recipes:

Black cupcakes frosted as roses.

Gluten Free Black Cupcakes {aka Black Velvet Cupcakes}

Sandi Gaertner
Fancy Gluten Free Black Cupcakes, aka black velvet cupcakes with a black buttercream frosting.
5 from 4 votes
gluten free allergy icon
nut free allergen icon
soy free allergy icon
vegetarian icon
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 7 minutes
Course Gluten Free Dessert Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 552 kcal


  • 1 ½ cups gluten free flour blend * see note
  • ½ cup cocoa powder * see note
  • 1 tablespoon coconut charcoal * see note
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup butter melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 ¼ cup milk
  • Black food dye * see note
  • For Black Frosting:
  • 2 pound powdered sugar
  • 2 sticks butter softened
  • cup cocoa
  • 30 drops black food dye
  • 3 tablespoons to 1/4 cup water


  • Preheat the oven to 350º F.
  • In a bowl, add the dry ingredients and whisk to blend.
  • In a smaller bowl, add the wet ingredients and mix well.
  • Pour the wet ingredients over the dark ingredients and mix.
  • Add cupcake batter to a greased muffin tin (or use black cupcake liners in a muffin tin.)
  • Bake the cupcakes for 22 minutes until done.
  • While the cupcakes are baking, add the frosting ingredients to a standing mixer.
  • Mix the frosting until it is black. Note you will have to use more or less black food dye depending on the brand you use so judge the quantity by how black the frosting is.
  • Remove the cupcakes from the oven and move to a cooling rack.
  • Decorate with frosting (see above post for instructions to decorate these.)


  1. I have tested this recipe with King Arthur Measure for Measure GF and Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 GF blend in this recipe. That doesn’t mean others will not work, I just have not tested other flours.
  2. If your gluten free flour blend doesn’t contain Xanthan Gum or Guar Gum, please add 1 teaspoon.
  3. To make this recipe dairy-free, substitute the butter for vegan butter.
  4. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cupcakes. If the toothpick comes out clean, it is done baking. If you see batter or crumbs, the cupcakes need to bake longer.
  5. These cupcakes will keep up to 4 days in an air-tight container, or up to 4 months in the freezer.
  6. I used a combination of coconut charcoal and black liquid food dye to achieve the dark black color of these cupcakes. You may want to do a combination instead of just charcoal.


Please know that every gluten free flour blend has a different starch to grain ratio. If you use a blend I didn’t test, you may need to adjust your moisture levels in your baked goods.


Serving: 1gCalories: 552kcalCarbohydrates: 108gProtein: 5gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 60mgSodium: 197mgPotassium: 172mgFiber: 4gSugar: 93gVitamin A: 435IUCalcium: 68mgIron: 2mg
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Nutrition Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the actual nutritional information with the products and brands you are using with your preferred nutritional calculator.

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  1. Just curious why you didn’t just use black cocoa for the cake and frosting. That takes away the need for charcoal and food coloring. Frosting darkens overnight, with black cocoa, so I make it the day before

  2. Beautiful!!
    I have a lot of activated charcoal to use up. I bought some for a recipe and figured there were a million ways to use it but as soon as my oldest used it once for a face mask I was done with the mess in the bathroom, haha!
    I think these are the best way to use some of it up, can’t wait to whip up a batch, do I have to wait for a reason? 😉

  3. Instead of black food coloring why not use black cocoa. It’s a super Dutched process cocoa used by bakers to create really dark desserts. King Arthur Flour sells it.

  4. Hi Sandi, these look great, and I’m definitely going to try them for a bridal shower that I have to bring a dessert to. But i’m not going to use the charcoal, just the back food dye, so how much should I use then?

    Also, I’m nervous about making the rose petals frosting. Could you break the process down more, or point me to a website for that?

  5. Those are some seriously sexy cupcakes! I remember using black gel dye for my son’s batman cake when he was little. It seriously takes a whole lot of dye. I should have started with chocolate frosting, like you suggested.