Favorite Chocolate Buttercream

Deliciously soft, creamy, silky, and easy PERFECT chocolate buttercream recipe! sallysbakingaddiction.com

Here we go! This is my favorite chocolate buttercream recipe. I’m tempted to call it a “basic” chocolate buttercream, but it’s anything but– it’s incredibly CREAMY, silky, smooth, and rich. Like a decadent brownie in frosting form. Melts in your mouth and is unbelievable on chocolate cupcakes.

Deliciously soft, creamy, silky, and easy PERFECT chocolate buttercream recipe! sallysbakingaddiction.com

Even though it’s a wonderfully creamy chocolate buttercream, it holds its shape beautifully. So it’s perfect for piping even the most intricate and fancy designs.

What Tastes Best with Chocolate Buttercream?

I’ve made this chocolate buttercream more times than I can count, but I love it with:

  1. Cookies and Cream Cupcakes
  2. Yellow Cupcakes
  3. Coconut Cupcakes
  4. Pumpkin Cupcakes
  5. Banana Cupcakes
  6. Chocolate Cupcakes
  7. If you scale it up, you can use it to frost a layered cake, like I do with my chocolate cake

Dive into this chocolate decadence!

Deliciously soft, creamy, silky, and easy PERFECT chocolate buttercream recipe! sallysbakingaddiction.com

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Chocolate buttercream recipe

Favorite Chocolate Buttercream

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 2.5 cups
  • Category: Frosting
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This is my favorite chocolate buttercream recipe. It’s incredibly rich, creamy, silky, smooth, and easy to work with for decorating cakes and cupcakes!


Ingredients

  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 and 1/2 cups (420g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup (45g) unsweetened natural or dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 3 Tablespoons (45ml) heavy cream or milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy – about 2 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, heavy cream, salt, and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high speed and beat for 1 full minute. Add 1/4 cup more confectioners’ sugar or cocoa powder if frosting is too thin or another Tablespoon of cream if frosting is too thick.
  2. Cover tightly and store for up to 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer. After freezing or refrigerating, thaw in the refrigerator, bring to room temperature then beat the frosting for a few seconds so it’s creamy again. You may need to add a little milk if it’s still too stiff.

Notes

  1. Quantity: This recipe is enough to frost 12-16 cupcakes or one 9×13 quarter sheet cake. Follow these ratios for a 2 layer cake and these ratios for a 3 or 4 layer cake.

And here is my favorite vanilla buttercream recipe!

Deliciously soft, creamy, and easy PERFECT vanilla buttercream recipe! sallysbakingaddiction.com

Deliciously soft, creamy, silky, and easy PERFECT chocolate buttercream recipe! sallysbakingaddiction.com

268 Comments

  1. so good thanks for sharing your recipe with us so we can try it and enjoy it. No need to change anything on this recipe it’s perfect the way it is.. I just can’t believe some of these people trying to change what you wrote .. people don’t understand how much time you spent in that kitchen trying to get the perfect recipe and them post it here that’s another day or two people need to appreciate more .. thanks again happy baking

    1. I was so happy with the Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake recipe that I made another to freeze. I followed the recipe exactly and made the Chocolate Buttercream Icing on the second round. Thank you for perfecting the recipe to an exact science!

  2. This is my go to it is so rich and flavorful. I make a half batch at the time of the month and just devour it.

  3. I’ve made this buttercream a few times and, while it is delicious and pipes well, I have been unable to achieve the nice deep color as seen in your photographs. I have weighed all the ingredients, tried a dark cocoa (Hershey’s Special Dark) and the icing always comes out a lighter almost mocha shade. What brand of cocoa do you use? Or could you make any other suggestions? Thanks!

    1. Hi Pam! I always use Hershey’s regular unsweetened natural cocoa powder. I find the Special Dark variety tints the buttercream a grayish brown color. The longer you whip chocolate buttercream, the lighter in texture AND color it will become. Try not to over-mix. Here’s a tip, though. Allow your butter to get extra soft– even softer than normal room temperature butter. “Greasy” (not melted!) butter as the base of chocolate buttercream yields a darker hue.

  4. Love this frosting. I do have a question though. If making a chocolate cake with Dutch cocoa would I also use Dutch cocoa in the frosting?

  5. Just baked this ( chocolate of course) in the 6” pans. AMAZING . Also made the chocolate frosting and substituted buttermilk for the heavy cream, which was also called for in the chocolate cake. Also appreciate the weight (ie grams,etc.) measurements in the recipes. So much more accurate. Thanks again and keep baking and sharing!

    Love and peace ,
    MaryPat

  6. My butter was room temperature, so much so that it was kind of greasy like you stated. However my buttercream is still grainy, even though I used professional icing sugar (the kind that bakers use). Tried to beat it for a very long time, but that only caused to color to be very light brown-not very appealing…I’m developing a aversion for baking since even the simplest things don’t seem to work 🙁 Glad it worked for others though

  7. Hello Sally, I love all of your recipes and tips, it help me so much in baking. I was wondering will the chocolate buttercream frosting still turn out if I use a whisk instead of a stand mixer or a handheld mixer. Thank you

  8. First of all……I have used so many of your recipes. I need a chocolate buttercream and am anxious to give this a try. I have been reading way too many recipes and should just know to follow you. Can you tell me why some say to use 1/2 crisco and 1/2 butter for buttercream? Perhaps it is in the crusting? Does this recipe crust at all? Our weather may be a little warm when these are needed. These would be for a morning meeting and I would really need to do the night before. Would that be a really bad thing? I really appreciate your help……….

    1. Hi Sue, You are correct! Usually crusting buttercream use shortening. This recipe does not crust but it does hold it’s shape beautifully when piped. If it’s very warm where you live you can cover your cake or cupcakes and store them in the refrigerator if you make them the night before. Enjoy!

  9. Hi Sally,

    Can I make this delicious buttercream in equal ratios such as 100g sugar and 100g butter and cocoa powder? Would it be bad? Also, can I make this just with a wooden spoon since my beaters broke??

    Thank you so much Sally!

    1. Hi Sarah, If you are going to change the quantity of ingredients I recommend you keep them all in the same ratio to each other as the original recipe. To make buttercream you really need to cream the butter and the other ingredients together which would be extremely difficult using just a wooded spoon. You can attempt to us a hand held whisk but it’s going to take a lot of arm muscle!

    1. Absolutely. You can prep it a few days ahead of time and refrigerate. Let it come to room temperature, then beat it for about 1 minute. You may need to add a little milk if it’s still too stiff. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months. See step 2.

  10. YUM! My mom just moved in with me, and she wanted cake with frosting first, and 3 dozen cookies (yes, she was that specific) next. Even though I goofed and added a whole teaspoon of salt, the frosting is delicious. Salted chocolate frosting…happy accident? Next, trying to decide which cookies to make, although I think we need to finish the cake first.

  11. I have never felt so proud of myself to actually have created a butter cream for my cupcakes. I had used a plant-based butter made of avocado oil. I was a little hesitant of using dairy free items for this because I might destroy the recipe. But I used 2 tablespoons of rice milk. To thin it out. Everything else came out absolutely perfect! Using this recipe I felt so proud to have created something dairy free. My step daughter tasted it and said it tasted like cake batter. I am dairy free myself. I had my stepdaughter try it I have never felt so proud of myself to actually have created a buttercream for my cupcakes. I had used a plant-based butter made of avocado oil. I was a little hesitant of using dairy free items for this because I might destroy the recipe. But I use 2 tablespoons of rice milk. To thin it out. Everything else came out absolutely perfect! Using this recipe I felt so proud to have created something dairy free. My stepdaughter tasted it and said it tasted like cake batter. I am dairy free myself. I had my stepdaughter try it and she said First. I told her it was dairy free afterwards. And she said oh I thought you asked me to try it because it might had real butter in it. I said no, it’s actually dairy free! That’s how good this recipe came out. The only thing I changed was 2 tablespoons of milk instead of three. Are used exactly the same measurements for everything else. Thank you so much for making me feel like I can bake. I will definitely use this recipe again perfect! Smooth like silk

  12. I was wondering if you could give me the recipe to frost a two-layer cake because my computer won’t let me open the link that you’ve already provided, and I just want to make sure that i have my proportions right for my icing. Thanks!

  13. Would this be too much to frost a two-layer 6 inch cake? I have been trying to determine how many cups of frosting this makes (maybe this is a dumb question) but do you literally just sum all the ingredients measurements to get the amount in cups of frosting? The website says to use 3 cups of frosting for a two-layer 6 inch round cake. I am trying to avoid having leftover frosting or else I’ll eat it alllllllllll 😀

  14. Hi. Don’t know much about the science of baking, so please bear with me. What result would come from subbing heavy whipping cream for the cream or milk? Also, the whipping cream I have would be thawed from frozen solid. Will that have an affect?
    What about canned (condensed) milk?

    1. Hi Kim, If you use cream or milk instead of the heavy whipping cream your frosting will still turn out, it just won’t be quite as thick and creamy. The higher the fat content of your milk, the creamier your frosting will be. I don’t recommend condensed milk as it’s usually sold already sweetened.

      1. Hi again. I guess I was confusing in how I stated my question. Your recipe called for cream or milk, and I wanted to know if “heavy whipping cream” would work, and whether it would matter if it had been frozen prior. As it was, I had to finish my birthday cake so I left the heavy whipping cream in the freezer and used whole milk. It turned out AMAZING! Using the ratios provided with your Triple Chocolate Cake recipe, I frosted a 9 inch, double layer vanilla cake, with a thick layer of raspberry compote made from our homegrown berries in the middle, topped with sugared raspberries. The berries on top were frozen when I placed them. When I sugared them, I moistened them in dissolved red sugar sprinkles (trying to come up with a sub for honey or corn syrup, to make my sugar crystals stick to the berries!). As the berries slowly thawed on the cake as it sat in the fridge, they trailed thick, bright red streams of raspberry flavor down the sides of the cake and made little pools around it. The effect was unexpectedly sophisticated. Bottom line, however, this frosting is the best I’ve ever tasted, and so easy to make! Thank you so much!

  15. I just made a Hershey chocolate cake but ran out of cocoa. I do have bittersweet chocolate chips and semi-sweet chocolate bar? How can I substitute?

  16. Thank you so much for not having a long drawn out boring speach about why you like this recipe or what made you post it before you actually get to the recipe itself! I totally appreciate that! I also appreciate you not having a ton of pop-up adds every freaking minute! After an hour or so of looking at different bloggers and putting up with their crappy sites that pops up an advertisement every minute… I’m very much interested in trying your recipe and look forward to trying more! This recipe looks nice and easy to make along with being flavorful. I’m excited to try it out. You’re going to be my go-to from now on! Thank you for keeping it real and easy for us!

  17. Quantity: This recipe is enough to frost 12-16 cupcakes or one 9×13 quarter sheet cake. Follow these ratios for a 2 layer cake and these ratios for a 3 or 4 layer cake.

    the link of ration doesnt work. help

  18. I love this frosting! I like to add about a tablespoon of black cocoa to give an even darker frosting for Halloween decorations. Great recipe!!!!

  19. I made a batch of white mini cupcakes, just because we love them. I made your chocolate frosting. It is by far the best I have ever made. It is to die for. The only change I made was that I used Navitas Organic Cacao. I also made orange and cherry frosting. I made some plain, but others I used chocolate/orange and chocolate/cherry. I had to freeze the extra, otherwise I would have kept eating it until
    I made myself sick. Will never use another chocolate frosting recipe.

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