New Year’s Eve Black Cocoa Cupcakes

4.73 from 11 votes
Dark, dramatic Black Cocoa Cupcakes are moist, tender, and a beautiful dessert to serve at your New Year's Eve party.
Homemade Black Cocoa Cupcakes are decorated with white meringue cream and topped with black, gold, and gold star sprinkles.

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Hi Bold Bakers!

Today’s recipe for Black Cocoa Cupcakes was written by Dee, one of our Bold Baking Network experts and founder of One Sarcastic Baker. Check out some of the other wonderful recipes she’s shared as part of the Bold Baking Network, like her Hannukkah Apple Fritters, Chocolate Tahini Cookies, Passover Cream Puffs, and Spiced Apple Cake!

My Black Cocoa Cupcake recipe is perfect for your New Year’s Eve celebration — or any time you need a tender, moist, and fluffy cupcake and chocolate fix. The black cocoa powder gives them a fascinating dramatic appearance and, together with some gold sprinkles, it’s like a firework show on the last night of the year.

What I like the most about these cupcakes is that they are really perfect for any occasion. Think of them like your favorite black dress; it never goes out of style.

I have been curious about black cocoa powder for quite some time; its dark black color gave me the impression of a powerful and intense chocolate flavor. Imagine how surprised I was to discover the complete opposite. Black cocoa powder is great for appearance but not so much for deep chocolate flavors.

Of course, this is just my humble opinion — you might love the subtle chocolate flavor of black cocoa powder. But even if you are a die-hard chocolate fan, there is nothing a cup of dark chocolate chips can’t fix. So I feel confident to say this cupcake recipe is most definitely for the whole spectrum of chocolate lovers out there!

Table Of Contents

Deep, dark chocolate cupcakes are served on a table top in front of a glass of milk. They are decorated with white frosting and festive black and gold sprinkles.

What Is Black Cocoa Powder?

Black cocoa powder is an unsweetened natural cocoa powder that has been alkalized a few times. The alkalization process removes the acid from the powder, and as a result, the cocoa gets darker.

What Do Black Cocoa Cupcakes Taste Like?

The cupcakes have a very mild chocolate flavor; the darker the powder, the milder the chocolate flavor. This recipe calls for mini chocolate chips to enhance the chocolate flavor. 

Tools You Need To Make Cupcakes

Black Cocoa Cupcake Substitutions And Ingredients

In addition to basic ingredients such as flour, eggs, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda, here are a few more key ingredients these chocolate cupcakes call for:

  • Black Cocoa: To give us the dark, dramatic black color. If you don’t have black cocoa powder, you can adapt this recipe and use Dutch Cocoa Powder or a combination of dark and natural (Dutch) cocoa powder.
  • Hot Coffee: The high temperature coming from the hot coffee will bloom the cocoa powder and extract the flavors into the batter. Also, coffee enhances the chocolate flavor, so the stronger the coffee, the better. If you are not a fan of coffee, use hot water, but please remember that the coffee helps to bring out the chocolate flavor, it will not cause the cupcakes to taste like coffee.
  • Half And Half: Half and half will increase the fat in the recipe and provide flavor; you can replace it with milk, heavy cream, sour cream, or buttermilk.
  • Vegetable Oil: This recipe is rich in flour and cocoa starches; the oil coats the starches and prolongs the cupcake’s freshness. You can replace it with melted butter, but it is not recommended since it solidifies as it cools down.
  • Dark Chocolate Chips: Black cocoa powder has a very mild chocolate flavor; the chocolate chips will provide more of a chocolatey taste.

A side-by-side photo shows the steps of making cupcakes. On the left, the wet ingredients are mixed in a large measuring cup above the dry ingredients, which are mixed in a bowl. In the right photo, a chocolatey mixture is being whisked.

How To Make New Year’s Eve Black Cocoa Cupcakes

This is a quick, no-mixer recipe you can make last minute or ahead of time.

  1. In separate bowls, mix the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, leaveners, salt, and sugar) and wet ingredients, excluding the coffee (half and half, eggs, vanilla extract, and vegetable oil.)
  2. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix to blend.
  3. Pour the hot coffee and mix to blend.
  4. Fold in the chocolate chips, divide the batter between the cupcake liners, and bake.

A side-by-side photo shows how to make cupcakes. On the left is the chocolate cupcake batter, on the right, the mini chocolate chips have been added and are ready to be folded into the batter.

Frosting And Decorating Cupcakes

Even though I made these cupcakes as a New Year’s Eve celebration, the sky’s the limit. While I frosted them with traditional Vanilla Buttercream and decorated them with black and gold sprinkles, Chocolate Ganache, Swiss Meringue Buttercream, or Chocolate Buttercream are all excellent options. And the same goes for decoration; simply match the sprinkles to your special (or everyday) occasion.

Can You Make Cupcakes Ahead Of Time? Storing Black Cocoa Cupcakes

Store the cupcakes at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze them for up to 3 weeks.

To make ahead, make and bake the cupcakes, then freeze them. When you are ready to serve, let them come to room temperature and frost them. 

A close-up image of a black cocoa cupcake with a bite taken out of it shows the soft, tender, moist cupcake with chocolate chips baked throughout.


Can I use natural or Dutch cocoa powder?

Yes, note that it will change the color of the cupcakes.

Can I skip the chocolate chips?

Yes, but the chocolate flavor will be very mild.

Can I bake this cupcake recipe as a cake?

Yes, it will yield two thin 8-inch cakes or three 6-inch cakes.

The Bold Baking Network

Bigger Bolder Baking is thrilled to introduce you to the Bold Baking Network, a team of talented chefs, creators, and experts looking to teach, entertain and help you on your baking journey. Here are more articles from our amazing collaborators!

Black Cocoa Cupcakes

4.73 from 11 votes
Dark, dramatic Black Cocoa Cupcakes are moist, tender, and a beautiful dessert to serve at your New Year's Eve party.
Author: Dee Frances
Servings: 18 cupcakes
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Dark, dramatic Black Cocoa Cupcakes are moist, tender, and a beautiful dessert to serve at your New Year's Eve party.
Author: Dee Frances
Servings: 18 cupcakes


  • 1 ½ cups (180 g/6 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ cups (250 g/9 oz) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (45 g/1.5 oz) black cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • ¾ cup (180 ml/6 oz) half and half, at room temperature
  • ½ cup (120 ml/4 fl oz) vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (120 ml/4 fl oz) hot coffee
  • 1 cup (170 g/5.5 oz) mini chocolate chips
  • Swiss Meringue Frosting


  • Directions
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line 2 cupcake pans with 18 paper liners.
  • Mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
  • Mix the eggs, half and half, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract in a separate bowl, then pour it over the dry mixture and stir to blend.
  • Pour the hot coffee over the mixture and blend.
  • Fold in the chocolate chips and divide the mixture between the cupcake liners. Each should be about ¾ full.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes on the middle shelf until a toothpick comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Allow to cool completely before frosting them with Swiss Meringue Buttercream and decorating them with sprinkles.
  • Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
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1 year ago

To make any chocolate baked good darker, just add a drop or two of red food coloring. This is a trick that the industry uses and that’s why industrial cakes have very little flavour but a deep deep color. Be careful not to overdo it…

1 year ago

Hi Gemma. I don’t think we have half an half in Australia … is there an alternative?

1 year ago

Hi Gemma,
I might be mistaken but what exactly do I need here, please?
¾ cup (180 ml/6 oz) half and half, at room temperature – of what? Ingredient is missing, what should be used here, please?
Thank you,

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Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.


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