My Favorite Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

11.10.2012

Chocolate. Do we need much more in life? I know I definitely have a serious weakness for chocolate. I have a really hard time understanding people who don’t. Like my sister for instance, I love ya sis but I will never understand why you pick the chocolate chips out of your chocolate chip cookies. They are basically the best part of the cookie. It is hard for me sometimes, to sit and watch you do such a thing =). It breaks my little baker heart. I guess next time just hand them over to me and I will pile them on top of my chocolate chip cookie. Less wrinkles for me. Yes indeed, even chocolate has it’s nutritional value with the antioxidants it contains, right? How much, well that’s not important. All I know once upon a time I heard chocolate contains antioxidants which helps slow aging so I need not ask further questions. I simply just say that means I need to eat more chocolate. With that said, frosting for breakfast? Mmkay. I love when my mom comes to stay and she get’s excited when I have some left over frosting in my fridge that she can pile on her morning oatmeal. What a great way to start the day.

I’ve had a few people ask if my recipe for My Favorite Fluffy Buttercream Frosting could be adapted to make a chocolate version. So rather than guessing to answer your questions I’ve decided to create and post what I thought are the best proportions. I’m telling you, this frosting is what dreams are made of. It’s fluffy, creamy, smooth, rich, indulgent, chocolaty, delicious, my best friend. Basically it’s melt in your mouth, pure divinity. Don’t be fooled by it’s pale shade, this is a very chocolaty frosting. The pale color is just due to all the whipping of the butter, so the rich chocolate flavor may take some by surprise.
I listed below two options for cocoa and powdered sugar measurements, one creates a richer chocolate frosting than the other so just go with the one that suites your taste. This recipe should yield plenty enough for 24 cupcakes or a 2 layer 9-inch cake. Enjoy!

My Favorite Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

My Favorite Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, at room temperature (I like to use 1 cup unsalted and 1/2 cup salted)
  • 3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder*
  • 3 - 4 Tbsp heavy cream or half-&-half
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  • In a the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with whisk attachment (paddle attachment works too. Whichever you use just pay attention the the shade of the butter), whip butter on moderately high speed until very pale and fluffy (nearly white in color), about 6 - 8 minutes, occasionally scraping down sides of the bowl. Sift in cocoa powder then add in powdered sugar, 3 Tbsp heavy cream and vanilla and mix on low speed until combine, scrapping down the sides of the bowl as needed and adding up to 1 tbsp additional cream to thin if desired. Increase mixer to medium-high speed and whip mixture until pale and very fluffy about 4 - 5 minutes, occasionally scraping down sides of the bowl.
  • Note that similar to whipped cream the frosting will lose some of its "fluff" after a few hours, it will still taste the same it just loses some of the air that was whipped into it (similar to whipped cream how it loses it's stabilization after a few hours). It is best to prepare and use within a few hours for best (fluffiest) results.
  • Recipe Source: Cooking Classy

Notes

*For a milder more milk chocolate like flavor, increase the amount of powdered sugar to 4 cups and decrease the cocoa powder to 1/2 cup (leave other ingredient measurements the same).

http://www.cookingclassy.com/2012/11/my-favorite-chocolate-buttercream-frosting/

96 comments

  • Patricia Reitz: Wow – what a photo!! November 10, 2012 at 9:50am Reply

  • *katie: Yummm! This is pretty close to the way I’ve grown up making chocolate frosting, except for the half and half or heavy cream…I’m definitely going to try it that way next time I make frosting! Those cupcakes look so tasty!! November 10, 2012 at 10:03am Reply

  • The Cooking Actress: YUMM! This looks like the perfect chocolate buttercream! November 10, 2012 at 10:12am Reply

    • Joan: I wanted to lick my monitor the frosting looks so good! November 10, 2012 at 6:45pm Reply

  • hOtMaMa: awesome! thanks for the recipe.. will try it soon :) November 10, 2012 at 10:47am Reply

  • jenica: can’t wait to try it! what tip did you use? November 10, 2012 at 5:33pm Reply

  • Loretta E.: This is truly a gorgeous frosting! November 10, 2012 at 9:47pm Reply

  • sally @ sallys baking addiction: OMG Jaclyn!!!! I am stuffed from dinner AND a cookie for dessert but now all I want to do is lick the bowl of chocolate buttercream! Your photos – droooool ;) November 11, 2012 at 6:50pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks =). I’m still learning all the tricks about food photography but it’s fun to learn as you go. I will trade you some of this for one of those delicious chocolate peppermint cookies you just made! Those look amaze! I love the chocolate peppermint combo. November 12, 2012 at 11:39pm Reply

  • Paula Jones: Beautiful!! I REALLY want one! November 12, 2012 at 4:44am Reply

  • Christine: You read my mind. :) November 12, 2012 at 9:24am Reply

  • Monique @Ambitious Kitchen: My goodness. I want to spread that all over a brownie and get chocolate wasted. November 12, 2012 at 9:24pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Monique – hahaha yes yes yes! Sounds good to me =). November 12, 2012 at 11:37pm Reply

  • Jaclyn: Sorry I forgot to reply after publishing your comment! I used a 2D tip for these. November 17, 2012 at 2:51pm Reply

  • Anonymous: Is there a substitute you can use for the heavy cream/half and half? December 2, 2012 at 6:46pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Milk but use a tiny bit less. It wont be quite as creamy but it will work just fine. Hope that helps! December 4, 2012 at 10:54pm Reply

  • Nisa Homey: Hey this is my fav too…love ur gorgeous pic…happy to follow u… December 4, 2012 at 10:08pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks =) and I’m so happy to have you following Nisa! December 4, 2012 at 10:45pm Reply

  • Jack: Just wanted to say that I’ve used this recipe several times and it delivers just as advertised! Very light and fluffy and he flavor is perfection – chocolatey rich, with just enough salt to add interest. And it’s super fast and easy too! Thanks for the pos – just love it! December 7, 2012 at 7:38pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Jack – Thanks so much for taking the time to return to leave a comment =)! I’m so glad to hear you’ve enjoyed this! December 10, 2012 at 11:12am Reply

  • homecake westport: WOW!!! I just used your recipe to fill and frost an 8″ and a 6″ cakes, I usually dont like btc, but I have to say this surprised me BIG time!!! delish ;) quick to make and very easy to work with.
    Thank you very much for sharing the recipe :) December 8, 2012 at 5:11pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: homecake westport – I like that review =). Thank you so much for leaving a comment! You may also want to try the vanilla buttercream recipe I’ve posted (if you like vanilla) it is basically the exact same recipe minus the cocoa. Thanks again! December 10, 2012 at 11:15am Reply

  • Peyton: I didn’t have any cream, so I used about two tablespoons International Delight caramel coffee creamer and a tablespoon of Rumchata. And then for the hell of it I put in the rest of the whipped cream cheese I had in the fridge. It was so delicious, and my substitutions gave it a slight coffee-like flavor. January 9, 2013 at 10:34pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Sounds delicious! Thanks for your comment Peyton. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! January 11, 2013 at 10:50am Reply

  • Colleen: I just made this Chocolate Buttercream and it is super yummy. It will become my go-to frosting for now on! Thank you! ! January 18, 2013 at 8:07pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: So glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for the comment! January 18, 2013 at 8:54pm Reply

  • Shannon Stout: Going to make this icing tomorrow. Saw it loses its fluff in a short while. I am going to put it on cupcakes. If I keep them in the fridge will that help keep the icing fluffy? February 11, 2013 at 6:51am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Refrigerating wont really keep it from losing it’s fluff. One of the only things that would maybe help would be using a tiny bit of gelatin dissolved in a bit of cold water – although I’ve never tried that yet so I can’t guarantee. Sorry I wish I had a better answer to give you =). February 12, 2013 at 11:08pm Reply

      • Shannon Stout: Hands down the best icing.I will definitely being making it again. February 13, 2013 at 5:17am Reply

        • Jaclyn: Shannon – that is so great to hear! Thanks so much for your comment! February 14, 2013 at 9:18am Reply

  • Allison: Perfection! I’ve tried so many recipes, and this is the best frosting recipe hands down. All the other recipes called for the same ingredients, but these proportions and method makes the most delicious frosting ever. Thank you for sharing! February 16, 2013 at 2:11pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Allison – that’s so wonderful to hear I’m so glad you think so =). You’re very welcome and thank you so much for your comment! February 19, 2013 at 9:51am Reply

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  • kristina: This was fabulous! I have been trying to create the perfect chocolate frosting my whole life. Thank you so much. March 19, 2013 at 1:55pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Kristina – I’m so glad you enjoyed this, thanks for your comment! March 19, 2013 at 3:41pm Reply

  • Aidan: Would this be enough to frost the tops and sides of three 9”x2” round layers. If not, how can I tweak the current recipe so it fits the standards I have? April 2, 2013 at 5:27pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I would recommend that you add 1/3 more of the recipe then you should have enough. I usually have enough to frost 2 layers. April 2, 2013 at 7:42pm Reply

  • NGOZI: so going to try this tomorrow but I hve two questions! Would the vanilla recipe lose its fluff two, and can I use this on a chocolate cake or would it become so chocolatey April 12, 2013 at 4:48am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I love it on chocolate cake! They both just tend to settle a bit but it doesn’t change the flavor at all it just very lightly changes the texture as it’s not as airy after a few hours. I still love it the next day though. April 14, 2013 at 5:05pm Reply

  • NGOZI: Sorry meant too nt two April 12, 2013 at 4:54am Reply

    • Jaclyn: No worries – I do that all the time :) April 14, 2013 at 5:05pm Reply

  • Amy: I just made this frosting for the first time today for my sons’ birthday party, and it was amazing! By far the best chocolate buttercream I’ve ever had. This will be going in my permanent files! April 13, 2013 at 6:38pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: That is what I love to hear Amy! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment! April 14, 2013 at 5:00pm Reply

  • Amy G {my3monsters}: Thank you so much for this delicious recipe. I found you by searching chocolate buttercream on Pinterest. I chose yours because your photo was stunning, but the recipe is to die for! Your whole blog is so beautiful, it will be at the top of my reading list from now on. Thanks again!! April 14, 2013 at 9:55pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Amy that is so nice of you to say! Thank you so much!! I hope you continue to like what you find here. Thanks for your comment! April 14, 2013 at 11:01pm Reply

  • kavita: I am making this as i type this and im about done but it tastes really buttery even though i whipped the butter for 8 mins. Anything to make it better?? April 17, 2013 at 9:24pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: And youve added the powdered sugar? If you think the ratio is too much butter you can add more powdered sugar and milk to thin. Hope that helps! April 17, 2013 at 9:30pm Reply

      • kavita: Thanks!! It helped! I think it will be better once its cold! Thanks for the quick reply! April 17, 2013 at 9:44pm Reply

        • Jaclyn: You’re welcome! April 18, 2013 at 9:39am Reply

  • Michelle: Just made this frosting the other day for a shower and it got rave reviews. I only used a little over 3 cups of powdered sugar. My husband and I both loved it because it was chocolatey and not too sweet. My husband also raved about how fluffy it was. I will be making it again tomorrow to use on my daughters birthday cake!!! Thanks for the great recipe!!! April 19, 2013 at 1:44pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: You’re very welcome Michelle! So glad it was enjoyed! Happy Birthday to your daughter I hope she has a wonderful day :)! April 20, 2013 at 10:38pm Reply

  • Caitlin: First off this icing looks incredible!!!! I’m so excited to use it (I’m baking a cake for my inlaws 30th wedding anniversary) I have a possibly silly question: is the cocoa powder unsweetened or sweetened? I was assuming unsweetened but my baby brain is taking over (I have a newborn…) April 23, 2013 at 5:39am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Haha I totally know that feeling and congrats on the new baby Caitlin!! It is unsweetened cocoa powder. I hope you love this! April 25, 2013 at 7:04pm Reply

  • Julie: Love it! I used vanilla almond milk instead of cream. Yummy and smooth! May 22, 2013 at 8:36pm Reply

  • KT: This recipe looks perfect, I have just one question: If I’m making cupcakes for an afternoon buffet/party, how long can this frosting sit out? June 7, 2013 at 10:38am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I wouldn’t recommend more than a couple of hours, if your house is really hot, like arizona house hot (78 in the house, I used to live there) I wouldn’t let it sit out more than an 30 minutes. You can keep them in the fridge if needed and bring them to room temp before serving. June 7, 2013 at 1:35pm Reply

  • Steph: I made this frosting (along with your strawberry buttercream & a vanilla buttercream) to go on top of a banana split cupcake. We have half of this frosting left and its in the freezer to stop me from eating it because it’s no-joke THE best chocolate frosting I’ve ever had. And I didn’t even use all the chocolate you call for because I realized last minute I didn’t have enough and then I spilled some. Obviously the universe was against me but I still came out victorious.

    Thanks for a delicious frosting recipe. :) June 17, 2013 at 9:25am Reply

    • Jaclyn: The banana split cupcakes sound amazing! I’m glad you liked it Steph – and yes those cooking mishaps, I have one probably once a week :)! Thanks for your comment! July 5, 2013 at 2:12pm Reply

  • dawn: why use salted butter? i have heard so many cooking shows that when baking cakes or pastries, they always said to use UNsalted butter. June 23, 2013 at 5:31am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I know, it’s true, basically every baker will tell you that but I like the flavor it gives – sometimes things seem a little bland without it (or without enough salt). They say you can’t control the amount of salt if using salted butter but really you can if you just check the nutrition label, they also say it’s not as fresh since salt acts as a preservative but I never let it go near the expiration date. I also feel like, especially with recipes like this, that if I add in salt it doesn’t dissolve well enough and that salty flavor is much more pronounced. You can definitely use all unsalted if you’d like though. June 27, 2013 at 6:59pm Reply

  • SOFIA: what would ypu add to avoid as much as posible that it melts down in hot humid weather ???? June 30, 2013 at 10:34pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’d store it in the refrigerator, both after making it – I’d give it a just little chilling time before frosting, and then store the frosted cake in the fridge. You may even want to begin with you butter semi-firm (somewhere between room temp and firm). July 1, 2013 at 9:03am Reply

  • samantha: hi there…this looks soo wonderful..I actually want to frost in similar way for my daughters upcoming birthday but in a country like ours, there’s no such thing as heavy cream or half and half… maybe not even coffee creamer… as the birthday is approaching and am running out of good frosting ideas -prefer white yummy frosting like this one on a white cake with chocolate frosting sandwiched between the layers inside ;) – I was hoping you could help me make my cake and frosting to be as good as yours but without the creams pretty please?????? HELP…  July 15, 2013 at 8:06pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Hi Samantha, I would just recommend replacing the cream with whole milk and it will still be delicious. July 17, 2013 at 9:50pm Reply

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  • Shuba: I made this frosting for my daughter’s 3rd birthday party and it turned out to be Amazing!! I loved the fluffiness and the lightness in the frosting..I couldn’t stop licking it :) Thanks so much for this recipe.. July 22, 2013 at 8:27am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you liked this frosting Shuba! And Happy Birthday to your daughter! I love birthdays:)! July 22, 2013 at 5:22pm Reply

  • artricia: can I make this frosting ahead of time, as in 2 days prior to frosting cupcake? July 29, 2013 at 5:22pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yes you can, it just won’t be quite as fluffy. July 29, 2013 at 5:29pm Reply

  • Kaylin: Is it possible to use milk instead of cream? July 30, 2013 at 2:47pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yes that’s fine, then end result won’t be quite as creamy and slightly less fluff but it should still turn out delicious. July 31, 2013 at 5:48pm Reply

  • Maria: Just made the frosting. In error, I mixed everything together before beating the butter and it worked out perfectly anyways. I just scraped and beat for six minutes and I have perfectly fluffy and creamy American style buttercream frosting. Does it taste better than Betty Crockers canned chocolate frosting? A resounding yes. I reduced the white sugar to 3 1/3 cup because I like a milder sweetness to my frostings. It’s not Italian meringue buttercream, but it is a much better alternative to the jarred stuff. Happy baking! August 11, 2013 at 12:25pm Reply

  • Wendy Meyer: If I only have regular beaters for my mixer and not whisk ones, will that be OK to make this frosting? August 17, 2013 at 1:25pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yeah that should work fine, you might just have to blend a bit longer. August 18, 2013 at 1:57pm Reply

  • Claudia: I love this recipe! I have a party on Saturday and I think it would be a great idea to make this buttercream frosting on my cake Would it be better to make the frosting on the same day, to keep its fluffyness? August 19, 2013 at 8:32am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yes definitely. I always prefer to make it the day I’ll be serving the cake or cupcakes – if I can. It’s fluffiest the day it’s made. August 19, 2013 at 12:01pm Reply

  • Puppy: I made this chocolate buttercream today to frost a chocolate cake. I used all salted butter, because that is what I had on hand and I like a little saltiness to my chocolate. I sifted the cocoa powder and powdered sugar before adding it to the butter and I noticed a marked difference in presifting vs. just dumping the powders in there. A much silkier texture on the tongue. I also used heavy whipping cream for the liquid component for that extra umph. This is so much easier than Italian meringue buttercream and though markedly less silky than that frosting, it comes in a close…third, let’s say. August 25, 2013 at 11:52am Reply

  • Julie: This frosting sounds so yummy. Do you approx. how many mini cupcakes this recipe would frost (using a piping back to dollop the top)? Thanks so much! September 11, 2013 at 11:35am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Oh I wish I did but I don’t, I don’t make mini cupcakes very often. This should make enough for 24 regular sized cupcakes so I’d imagine it would be enough for 2 or 3 times as many minis. September 24, 2013 at 7:19am Reply

  • mandy: Just frosted a wedding cake with this recipe. Turned out beautifully and tasted divine!! September 28, 2013 at 9:55am Reply

    • Jaclyn: So happy to hear it was a success Mandy! Thanks for your comment! October 1, 2013 at 5:14pm Reply

  • Fadtk: This looks soo yumm… can i substitute the heavy cream with the normal cream we get here in india ? Im assuming tht will thin it down ? November 5, 2013 at 2:29am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Regular cream would actually work just fine! I hope you love it Fadtk! November 5, 2013 at 8:38am Reply

  • Gayle: This looks amazing! I am making a French Vanilla cake with a fresh raspberry and cheesecake filling. This is going to be perfect. Thank you so much for sharing! November 11, 2013 at 12:01pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: You’re welcome Gayle! I hope you love it! The french vanilla cake with cheesecake filling sounds amazing! November 11, 2013 at 2:36pm Reply

  • Connie: Delicious!!! Just made this after trying the vanilla version previously. Have learned much from your site, thank you. It is worth all the extra mixing! :) November 19, 2013 at 1:05pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for letting me know you liked it Connie :)! November 19, 2013 at 2:00pm Reply

  • Michelle: hi! This looks amazing! I wanted to make this but i wanted to know if i could substitute the cocoa for melted chocolate and if so what kind and how much? Will it affect the outcome? Thank you! January 29, 2014 at 11:32pm Reply

  • Kacey: I have made this recipe many times and love it! The last time I made it, it was for my Wilton class, so they are all about shortening in their buttercream (which I hate!) But I need to please them, so I did the unthinkable and substituted a half cup of butter with a half cup of vegetable shortening. And you know what? It still worked out great! Held up nicely, the taste was still rich, with just a hint of that oily residue that shortening creates. I understand shortening helps with stability, but an all butter buttercream is my go-to. Nonetheless, it piped perfectly for my final cake and no complaints from the instructor :) http://www.thecookiewriter.com/2014/02/chocolate-cake-with-chocolate.html February 4, 2014 at 9:06am Reply

  • Anne: Would it be ok to use just unsalted butter? What would I be losing if I did not use your combination? February 16, 2014 at 3:32pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: That would be totally fine, it’s just my personal preferable but you can use all unsalted if you’d like and it will still be delicious. I just like how a little salted butter balances out the sweet and seems to enhance the flavor of the chocolate. February 16, 2014 at 3:39pm Reply

  • Holly: How long can this not be refrigerated? February 19, 2014 at 7:07pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I think it could be refrigerated for a few days. It’s best when it’s fresh though. February 19, 2014 at 10:39pm Reply

  • Pat: Just made the chocolate buttercream and my husband and couldn’t stop licking the bowl! So good! I used it to ice my granddaughter’s birthday cake. I wanted to know do I need to refrigerate it – we won’t be eating it till tomorrow! And the leftovers?
    Thanks for the awesome recipe! March 29, 2014 at 11:14am Reply

    • Jaclyn: It doesn’t need to be refrigerated but it can be. I’m so glad you and your husband liked it Pat! Sounds like me – I can never stop swiping the bowl clean with a spatula – or just my fingers :). March 30, 2014 at 12:10pm Reply

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