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5 from 7 votes

Black velvet sheet cake with classic velvet frosting

This black velvet sheet cake features a topping made with activated charcoal. I love the effect, the crumb is a stunning black. Here’s how to make it.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Desserts and sweet treats
Cuisine: American
Keyword: activated charcoal, cake, dessert
Servings: 16 slices
Calories: 479kcal
Author: Emily Leary


For the sheet cake

  • 320 g cake flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 240 ml buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1.5 tsp vinegar
  • 5.5 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 10 g activated charcoal
  • 200 g shortening
  • 390 g caster sugar

For the classic velvet frosting

  • 250 ml whole milk
  • 5 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 225 g unsalted butter
  • 225 g caster sugar
  • 150 g blueberries


For the sheet cake

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/355F (160C/320F fan).
  • Sift together the cake flour 2 tbsp cocoa, salt and charcoal and set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the buttermilk, vanilla, baking soda and eggs.
  • Add the vinegar and stir. It may fizz a little - set aside.
  • Cream together the shortening and sugar until fluffy.
  • Alternate adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk/egg mixture until all combined.
  • Add the remaining cocoa and beat until combined.
  • Pour the batter into well-greased 35 x 45cm sheet cake pan. I didn't have one, so I split the mix between two smaller trays.
  • Use a large offset spatula or knife to even out the surface.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the cake to cool completely before icing.

For the classic velvet frosting

  • Combine the milk and flour in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Whisk constantly until thick. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
  • Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add the cooled milk mixture and vanilla and beat very well. It may look separated, which means you have to keep beating until fully combined. It should be fluffy and light, similar to whipped cream.
  • Ice the cake.
  • Top with blueberries.
  • Cut into 16 slices to serve.


Calories: 479kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 258mg | Potassium: 110mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 41g | Vitamin A: 436IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 1mg