Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

chocolate buttercream3 Chocolate Buttercream FrostingAmericanButtercream 150x150 Chocolate Buttercream FrostingLast year I posted my recipe for Classic Vanilla Buttercream.  It’s the recipe I use for decorating cupcakes and birthday cakes, especially if I know kids will be the ones eating it.  For wedding cakes I like to use a more silkier type frosting that I’ll share with you in the near future. But for everyday cake frosting, the vanilla buttercream is what I use.  From that post, I received many comments and emails requesting a chocolate buttercream frosting which could also be used to frost cakes and for piping decorations.

ganache3way Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

I often referred readers to my most favorite chocolate frosting I use for glazing, frosting, filling, and piping.  As you can see from the picture above, chocolate ganache is very versatile and best of all it is made with heavy cream and chocolate.  But this frosting is also heavy and very decadent, unless you whip it.  Some people would write me and tell me they didn’t want ganache but wanted  a more true buttercream.  So by popular request I made a batch of American chocolate buttercream over the weekend to share with you.  It is great for frosting cupcakes and cakes.  It can also be used for frosting brownies or cookies.  Like its name suggests, it is more buttery, creamy, and slightly sweeter than ganache. And like ganache, it pipes decorative borders very nicely.

chocolate buttercream8 Chocolate Buttercream FrostingYou will need to make sure your butter is soft enough to cream.  Do not be tempted to softened it in the microwave unless you know how NOT to melt the butter.  Melted butter will not work for this frosting.  But if you do use your microwave, I like to place cold sticks in the microwave for 8 seconds.  If it’s still too firm, I will microwave it for 2 more seconds.

chocolate buttercream4 Chocolate Buttercream FrostingNext, you’ll want to cream the butter and then then add sifted sugar and cocoa.

chocolate buttercream5 Chocolate Buttercream FrostingThis is my daughter Mimi.  She likes to help me in the kitchen whenever chocolate is involved.  I’ve taught both of my daughters about the baker’s reward philosophy.  If you help me in the kitchen, you also get to lick the spoons.  Oddly enough, they  never seem to want to help me when I’m cooking vegetables. Those stinkers.

chocolate buttercream6 Chocolate Buttercream FrostingBe sure to start your mixer on slow speed after adding the dry ingredients.  Otherwise you will have cocoa and sugar fly everywhere landing on everything within a couple feet of you.  Your frosting will look strange like clumps of clay.  Don’t worry.  Once we add some cream it will transform into beautiful chocolate buttercream.

chocolate buttercream7 Chocolate Buttercream FrostingWhen deciding on whether or not to use milk or cream, I prefer cream.  It just makes the frosting… well.. more creamier.  Half and half works too.  But if you do use milk, it is better to use whole milk for the added fat content.  I also prefer to use almond extract when making frosting.  It enhances the flavor so nicely and a little bit goes a long way.  But if you only have vanilla, use it!

chocolate buttercream1 Chocolate Buttercream FrostingAs you can see by these photos, this frosting pipes really nicely.  The frosting can be refrigerated to use later.  Just make sure it’s in a lidded container.  Allow the frosting to warm up to room temperature on the counter before using.  Happy cake decorating!

chocolate buttercream 2 Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

4.7 from 141 reviews
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 cups
A simple recipe for classic chocolate buttercream frosting. Perfect for frosting cakes, cookies, brownies, or cupcakes.
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or ½ pound), softened (but not melted!)
  • 3½ cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
  1. Cream butter for a few minutes in a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Turn off the mixer. Sift 3 cups powdered sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl. Turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the dry ingredients do not blow everywhere) until the sugar and cocoa are absorbed by the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add a little more sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time.

Here’s a great short video tutorial I did for PBS on how to pipe these beautiful frosting flowers using vanilla buttercream on cupcakes, but you could easily do this with the chocolate one from this page. If you enjoy the video, please like it so I’ll be able to do more!

And here’s another short PBS video tutorial I did on how to make Cookie Monster Cupcakes.

pin it button Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
About these ads


  1. asia says

    made this for my yellow butter cupcakes. was fast easy and yummy. I did melt down a block of milk chocolate and added it to the frosting to sub for the lack of cream. was perfect.

  2. Nicole says

    I have made the Classic vanilla buttercream to RAVE reviews..Can’t wait to try this one this weekend for my sister and her daughter’s Birthday cupcakes!

  3. Andrea says

    I just tried this buttercream recipe for a super rich death by chocolate cake and it rocks! The flavor is wonderful and the consistency is great. Thank you for this post!

  4. Sheila says

    Thank you for sharing I just made the buttercream frosting and it’s delish, I hope I don’t eat the bowl. Haha! I can’t wait to make the chocolate frosting next!

  5. Cheryl says

    Why does my chocolate buttercream icing always come out smooth but the vanilla buttercream icing is normally grainy?

  6. says

    I need a butter based icing that I can ice a cake with, and the cake will be left at room temperature for at least 4 hours. Will this work? I am doing a cake for a charity auction but don’t want to use Crisco..any ideas? HELP.

  7. says

    Oh my word! I used your chocolate butter creme recipe today for cupcakes that I needed to make for a community bake sale. What wonderful flavoring and JUST the right texture to decorate with. Thanks!!!

  8. Amanda says

    Love this. Maks me want to lick the screen. Easy to make, easy to use, scrumptious. What more could a chocolate crazy baker ask for!
    Thank You!!!

  9. Camden says

    I’ve never made homemade frosting before. Your recipe is straightforward and easy to follow. The frosting turned out wonderful….so much better than the premade stuff! Thanks for sharing!

  10. says

    My sister requested yellow cake with chocolate frosting for her birthday cake this weekend–I’m looking forward to trying this, and will be sure to rate it. Thanks for the beautiful blog and photos!

  11. Rose says

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe for all the aspiring bakers like me! :)
    this frosting was not only delicious but it spread wonderfully on the cake i made! My whole family devoured the cake and raved about “the best icing they have ever tasted”

  12. Cyndi says

    Tried this frosting on chocolate cupcakes I made for a sweet 16 bday party – THANK YOU! Was creamy and delicious but also super-easy to work with – will try LOTS more of your recipes – thanks again!

  13. says

    I used this recipe this week and it’s AWESOME. Perfect texture and delicious – thank you! I’ll be back when I need to whip up some of that delicious looking ganache- my last attempt at ganache was a dismal failure.

    Thanks again!

  14. keely says

    I just made this frosting and it is DELICIOUS! I wish you had recipes for basic choc and yellow cake. I made one from another site and i didn’t think it was that great. do you have any other cake recipes?

  15. Khushi says

    what is the mixture attachment to be used for making this receipe
    If I use Whipping cream will it stand for couple of hours ?
    I am going to try icing the cake with it and then cover with fondant
    I hope this works

    • Maureen says

      Maria, sounds like your butter was too warm. Refrigerate your mixing bowl, then rebeat. If that doesn’t work, add more sifted powder sugar. Also, always,make sure your mixing bowl is well dried after washing and cold! Good luck.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Rate this recipe:  

Anti-Spam Quiz: