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Best-Ever Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

4.8 from 5 votes
Perfect for topping an incredible amount of desserts, my Best-Ever Chocolate Buttercream Frosting recipe is even great straight from a spoon.
A bowl of chocolate buttercream frosting.

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Hi Bold Bakers!

Chocolate buttercream frosting is a recipe that every baker should know how to make. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with buying storebought frostings, but once you try this simple recipe, I don’t think you’ll ever go back!

My chocolate buttercream frosting is incredibly rich and decadent — it’s almost fudge-like. It’s super simple to make and it’s amazing on everything. Put it on top of your cakescupcakesbrownies, and, if you need something sweet STAT try it on a graham cracker

There are two very important ingredients to my chocolate buttercream that I really recommend you don’t skip: salt and espresso powder. These two things bring so much to the table when it comes to chocolate! Coffee and chocolate have the same flavor profiles, so it just enhances the chocolate flavor like crazy! And if you notice, I use salt in a lot of my sweet recipes. It seems counterproductive, right? But salt actually helps your tastebuds taste sweet better. 

What Is Chocolate Buttercream Frosting?

Chocolate buttercream frosting is simply a frosting that is made with whipped butter and flavored with sugar and cocoa powder. It’s a simple process, but the taste and smoothness of this homemade buttercream are really something special.

What You Need To Make Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

How Do I Make Chocolate Buttercream Frosting?

Making your own frosting is very easy, and you can add as much chocolate flavoring you want! Here is how you make homemade chocolate buttercream frosting (get the full recipe below):

  1. Sift the powdered sugar and cocoa into a large bowl to remove any lumps and set them aside.
  2. Place the room temperature butter in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the butter at high speed until it is fluffy and pale in color. This should take 2-3 minutes.
  3. Turn the stand mixer down to medium-low speed and slowly add the powdered sugar mix, 1 tablespoon at a time until fully incorporated.
  4. Scrape down the bowl of the stand mixer and add the vanilla, salt, espresso, and 3 tablespoons of milk. Beat on high speed for about 3 minutes. If you’d like thinner frosting, add an extra tablespoon of milk.

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips For Making Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • I like to use salted butter for the extra flavor. Again, don’t be shy about adding salt to your sweets!
  • Always sieve the powdered sugar and cocoa powder, they tend to have lumps in them. 
  • Make the frosting in advance, it will last in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Salt is important in frosting, especially when using chocolate. It brings out the flavor.
  • Coffee and chocolate pair wonderfully together so I strongly recommend not leaving it out.
  • When you take the frosting from the fridge, allow it to sit out at room temperature to soften for an hour.

A close up of chocolate buttercream frosting.

How Do I Store Chocolate Buttercream Frosting?

You can store your frosting in an airtight container in your fridge for up to 5 days, be sure to let it sit at room temperature for about an hour before decorating cakes.

Make More Toppings!

And don’t forget to buy my Bigger Bolder Baking Cookbook!

Full (and printable) recipe below!

Best-Ever Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

4.8 from 5 votes
Perfect for topping an incredible amount of desserts, my Best-Ever Chocolate Buttercream Frosting recipe is even great straight from a spoon.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 6 cups
Prep Time 10 mins
Perfect for topping an incredible amount of desserts, my Best-Ever Chocolate Buttercream Frosting recipe is even great straight from a spoon.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 6 cups

Ingredients

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup (8oz/225g) butter (room temperature)
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon espresso powder (dissolved)

Instructions

  • In a large bowl sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa to remove any lumps. Set aside.
  • Place the room temperature butter in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until fluffy and pale in color, roughly 2-3 minutes.
  • Turn the machine down to medium-low speed and slowly add the powdered sugar mix 1 tablespoon at a time until fully incorporated.
  • Scrape down the bowl and add the vanilla, salt, espresso, and 3 tablespoons of milk. Beat on high speed for roughly 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the extra tablespoon of milk if you want a thinner frosting.
  • Your frosting is ready to decorate or you can put it in the fridge to firm up for a minimum of 30 minutes but up to 5 days. Allow to sit out at room temperature for 1 hour before using.
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Margaret Santangelo
Margaret Santangelo
1 month ago

This is not a frosting question. Can I use almond milk to make chocolate pudding

Emaan
Emaan
3 months ago

Would this be enough to frost a nine inch circle cake

Zaiba
Zaiba
3 months ago

Hey Gemma!
I used this frosting for your German Chocolate cake recipe as I couldn’t find any whipping cream for the ganache. This frosting was absolutely delicious. I was just wondering if it’s normal for the frosting to start getting runny if its been out of the refrigerator for a while. I kept it out for a couple of minutes and it started having a melted butter consistency.

Tehillah
Tehillah
4 months ago

How many cupcakes can this recipe be used to frost?

Gabriela Díaz
Gabriela Díaz
7 months ago

Dear Emma, thanks for your recipe!…I was just wondering… what if we replace the teespoon of expresso for another liquid? (Personally, i don’t like they combination of chocolate and coffee). In that case, what would you recommend?

Thanks for your answer!

will
will
7 months ago

can you make this more thick or not?

Fiona
Fiona
8 months ago

Hi Gemma, how much is 3 cups of icing sugar in weight and how much is 1 cup of cocoa powder in weight, thanks so much, hope ye are all settling in ok

Avika Gupta
Avika Gupta
8 months ago

Can we substitute espresso powder with something else???

Kate
Kate
8 months ago

Recipe says espresso powder (dissolved). Do you dissolve it in the milk?

Bill Jonke
Bill Jonke
8 months ago

Just my opinion, but good and real buttercream frosting is made with egg, egg whites, or yolks, sugar syrup, along with that comes butter, and lots of it .Think of Creme au Buerre and German buttercream. Anyway, I make it both ways when necessary, the latter of which doesn’t come often. Yours sounds great too too, and I am going to try it out.

Last edited 8 months ago by Bill Jonke

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere!

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