Learn how to make chocolate buttercream frosting with this easy recipe and tutorial. This is my favorite recipe for chocolate frosting, it’s easy to make with just a few simple ingredients, and pipes perfectly too. Perfect for cakes, cupcakes, and so much more!
Do you have a favorite frosting? If I had to choose one, I would have to go with chocolate buttercream frosting.
I’ve already written an entire post on how to make buttercream frosting, but I felt that this recipe deserved its own post. I mean, it’s chocolate frosting. What’s not to love? Plus this recipe is easy to make and beats anything you can buy at the store.
I decided to put together a post showing you step-by-step how to make this frosting, different ways to use it, and how to prep it ahead of time too. I’ll also be sharing two more recipes next week showing you how to use this chocolate frosting. And yes, they involve even more chocolate.
How To Make Chocolate Buttercream Frosting – Step by Step
First, let’s discuss how to make this easy chocolate frosting.
- You’ll start with two sticks of unsalted butter that have been softened to room temperature. I suggest using unsalted butter since the amount of salt can vary between different brands of salted butter. By using unsalted butter, you control the amount of salt in your recipe.
- Next, beat the butter for 1-2 minutes just until it’s nice and smooth.
- Then, mix in the powdered sugar. You can sift your powdered sugar if you prefer, but to be honest I always skip this step. It’s also best to mix the powdered sugar in 1 cup at a time so that it’s thoroughly mixed with the butter. Be sure to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl as well once you finished mixing the last cup of powdered sugar in with the butter.
- Once the powdered sugar is mixed with the butter, sift in your cocoa powder. I know I said you can skip sifting the powdered sugar, but I never skip sifting the cocoa powder because no one likes a huge lump of unsweetened cocoa powder in their frosting. Yikes!
- Mix in the cocoa powder until it’s well combined, the mixture will be pretty thick at this point.
- Finally, mix in some heavy whipping cream, vanilla extract, and a tiny pinch of salt. I suggest starting with 3 tablespoons of heavy cream and then add another tablespoon if you think you need it.
That’s it! I told you this frosting was easy to make.
Different Ways To Use Chocolate Frosting
There are about a million different ways that you can use this frosting, but here are a few of my favorite ways:
- Chocolate Cupcakes
- Layered Chocolate Cake (recipe coming on Monday!)
- Cookie Cakes
- Sandwiched between cookies
- On top of fudgy brownies
- Cookie Cups
- Vanilla Cupcakes
I also have a tutorial on how to pipe a tall swirl (like the picture above) or a simple rose design.
How To Prep Your Frosting Ahead of Time
I get a lot of questions about whether or not you can freeze frosting or prep it ahead of time. The answer is yes! Here’s how I prep my frosting ahead of time:
To make ahead of time: Frosting can be made 2-3 days in advance. Cover tightly or store in an airtight container and transfer to the refrigerator. When you’re ready to use it, remove from the refrigerator, bring to room temperature, and mix well before frosting cupcakes/cakes.
How to freeze the frosting: Frosting will also freeze well for 2-3 months in a freezer bag/container. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature and mix well before frosting cupcakes/cakes.
Baking Tips For Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- Make sure that your butter is at room temperature before getting started. This will ensure a much creamier frosting!
- It’s best to sift your cocoa powder first, then mix it into the frosting to avoid any lumps.
- I suggest using heavy whipping cream for a creamier frosting, but you can use milk. Just keep in mind that the frosting won’t be quite as creamy with milk.
- This recipe makes about 3 cups of frosting which is enough to generously frost 14-16 cupcakes or lightly frost a two-layer cake. If you prefer more frosting on your cake, I suggesting multiplying this recipe by 1.5. If you’re making a three-layer chocolate cake, you can use 1.5x this recipe for a lighter frosting or double this recipe for a thicker layer of frosting.
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- 1 cup (230 grams) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3 cups (360 grams) powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup (42 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- 3-4 tablespoons (45-60 ml) heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- tiny pinch of salt adjust to taste
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed for 1-2 minutes or until smooth.
- Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, making sure to mix well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the cocoa powder and mix until fully combined.
- Add the heavy whipping cream, vanilla extract, and salt and mix on medium speed until fully combined, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.