Chocolate buttercream takes any dessert to the next level. This frosting recipe is easy and delicious! Step-by-step photos teach you how to make this smooth, rich, chocolate frosting!
Sometimes I like a fancy frosting like my chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream but this my friends is an easy recipe that anyone can make!
This is the perfect topping for cakes and cupcakes even brownies!
This would be perfect on top of my best ever chocolate cake recipe! In our family birthday cakes always have to be chocolate!
For this easy frosting recipe you will need:
- Salted Butter. Since the frosting is so sweet I prefer to use salted butter to offset it. But of course, you can use unsalted butter if you like a sweeter frosting or you could use unsalted butter and add a pinch or two of salt as well. For the butter you must bring to room temperature, this is key to a great American buttercream.
- Confectioners Sugar. Also known as powdered sugar, this is very lumpy so it is imperative that you sift the sugar through a fine-mesh metal sieve to remove the lumps. When you first add the sugar to the butter mix at low speed to prevent a snow store mess! Once combined increase the speed and mix on high.
- Dutch-Process Cocoa Powder. Dutch-process cocoa powder has had the acidity neutralized for a smoother flavor. This is also a darker cocoa powder. If you only have natural cocoa powder feel free to use that. Since this is a frosting recipe it's okay to swap out the cocoa powders but you can't do that with all baking recipes, just keep this in mind!
- Pure Vanilla Extract. Don't use the cheap stuff, only real vanilla extract here please! Vanilla helps enhance the chocolate flavor.
- Heavy Cream. My preference is to use heavy whipping cream but you could use or Whole Milk
If you want adding a tiny bit of espresso powder to the cream is a great addition!
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or a large bowl with a handheld mixer beat the butter for 5 full minutes, until light and fluffy.
In a very large bowl sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder to remove any lumps, this is crucial to smooth frosting.
Add half of the sugar/ cocoa to butter then beat for another 5 minutes.
Then add the remaining powdered sugar and mix for 3 more minutes, the mixture will be very thick.
Make sure to scrape down the bowl every minute or so to ensure everything is evenly combined.
Add the vanilla and three tablespoons of heavy cream and beat for another 2 minutes, you may want to add the remaining heavy cream if desired.
Spread or pipe frosting. Store in the fridge for up to 7 days, let come to room temperature and mix before using. The color of the frosting may darken as time goes on from the cocoa powder really combining with the rest of the ingredients
Tips and Tricks
To ensure a very smooth buttercream folow these tips:
- You must whip the butter on its own first, I know this is time-consuming but it's so worth it
- Sift your cocoa powder and confectioner's sugar. I know this is a pain, I HATE doing this but I almost always do because the last thing you want in a beautiful frosting is a lump of bitter-tasting cocoa powder or a lump of powdered sugar, trust me, just sift it!
- Add your sugar in two batches and whip well in between, I learned this tip from Cupcake Jemma, and I've never gone back!
- After you've added the cream and vanilla whip again for another few minutes, this helps the cream really whip into the buttercream.
Since there is so much mixing time this recipe is perfect for an electric stand mixer but you can, of course, use a handheld electric mixer, your arm might just get tired! But the time is worth it to achieve a very soft, fluffy, smooth buttercream!
How to thicken or thin
If your frosting is too thick for your liking add one additional tablespoon of cream at a time and mix in. If your frosting is too thin you can add more confectioner sugar to help thicken it. I would make sure to whip really well after adding the additional frosting. Sometimes if you want a very thick frosting the flavor ends up very sweet so in that case, I would add a very small pinch of salt
How to freeze
Store frosting in the freezer for up to 1 month, place in the fridge overnight to defrost and let come to room temperature then mix before using.
Can you double
You can definitely double the recipe just make sure your mixing bowl is large enough. Press the 2X button on the recipe card below to increase the recipe ingredient quantities to double.
More frosting recipes
This coffee buttercream is the most popular frosting recipe on my site for good reason!
For a super-rich chocolate frosting, you gotta try my fudgy chocolate frosting recipe.
★★★★★ Please let me know if you make this recipe by leaving a star rating and comment below!Print
- 8oz (1 Cup) Salted Butter, softened to room temperature
- 450 grams ( 3 ¾ Cup) Confectioners Sugar
- 67 grams (¾ Cup) Dutch-Process Cocoa Powder
- 2 Teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
- 4-6 Tablespoons Heavy Cream or Whole Milk
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or a large bowl with a handheld mixer beat the butter for 5 full minutes, until light and fluffy.
- In a very large bowl sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder to remove any lumps, this is crucial to smooth frosting.
- Add half of the sugar/ cocoa to butter then beat for another 5 minutes then add the remaining powdered sugar and mix for 3 more minutes. Make sure to scrape down the bowl every minute or so to ensure everything is evenly combined.
- Add the vanilla and three tablespoons of heavy cream and beat for another 2 minutes, you may want to add the remaining heavy cream if desired.
- Spread or pipe frosting. Store in the fridge for up to 7 days, let come to room temperature, and mix before using.
Enough to very lightly frost a 2 Layer 8-inch Cake or frost 12-16 Cupcakes.
- Prep Time: 15
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Mix
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: chocolate frosting recipe, chocolate American buttercream recipe, how to make chocolate buttercream