Rich with 2 kinds of chocolate, this is the BEST chocolate buttercream frosting ever. Make it dairy free. Make it vegan. No matter how you make it, it is divine.
This chocolate buttercream frosting is a twist on American buttercream. That makes it super easy to make with simple ingredients you can find in any store. It is perfect for putting on top of vanilla cupcakes, chocolate cupcakes, egg free brownies, or even on top of sugar cookies!
Basically, any special occasion or holiday you have will call for this perfect buttercream frosting.
Free From: wheat, gluten, dairy (optional), casein (optional), eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, coconut, fish, shellfish, crustaceans, mollusks, celery, corn (optional with right sugar), sesame, mustard, lupin, sulfites, and more
Why You’ll Love this Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Easy to make with simple ingredients. Nothing strange or hard to find in this recipe! Use ingredients found at the local grocery store to make this recipe.
Double chocolate for a more intense flavor. Twice the chocolate means double the fun!
Holds its shape for piping and frosting. Use a piping tip and decorate cupcakes, cakes, cookies, brownies, and more. This frosting is soft and creamy but still holds its shape for fancy designs.
Makes enough to generously frost 12 cupcakes or one 9x13 cake!
Butter - Any butter will work in this recipe from dairy butter to plant-based butter! No matter which kind you choose, make sure that it is softened to room temperature. That way it can more easily mix with the sugar and melted chocolate to make the most luscious frosting.
Cocoa Powder - I prefer to use Dutch processed cocoa powder for this recipe. This cocoa powder has been processed to remove the acid from the cocoa which makes it sweeter. However, if you only have natural unprocessed cocoa powder, that will work as well.
Chocolate Bar - This is the double chocolate part of this recipe! I LOVE Baker's German chocolate in this as it is sweet and chocolatey. If you are avoiding dairy and corn, I recommend Enjoy Life Ricemilk Bars for their sweet flavor and easy melting ability.
Other ingredients you’ll need: Powdered sugar, vanilla extract, salt
Need to make this dairy free? Make sure that you are using a good plant based butter. I like “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” Sticks, Country Crock plant based butter sticks, or Earth Balance butter sticks.
Also, make sure to use a chocolate bar that is dairy free. I love Enjoy Life for this! But any semi-sweet chocolate bar will work. You can even melt chocolate chips in a pinch!
Need to make this corn free? Make sure that your powdered sugar is corn free. I recommend Wholesome Powdered Sugar that uses tapioca in place of cornstarch. Also be sure to use a butter (dairy or dairy free) that is free from corn oils.
For the full instructions complete with ingredient measurement and quantities, please see the recipe card below.
Start with your softened butter of choice. Place it in the bowl of your stand mixer and attach the whisk. You can also use a large bowl with an electric hand mixer. I don’t recommend that you make this by hand as you’ll never get the same fluffy texture.
On medium-high speed, whisk the butter for about 5 minutes or until it has lightened in color and is super fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl about once a minute. This length of time for whisking is what aerates the butter, making it softer and giving it loads of volume. Don’t skip this step!
While the butter is whisking, in a heat safe bowl in the microwave, or over a double boiler on the stove, melt your chocolate bar. Let it cool for a few minutes while the butter is whisking so that you don’t melt the butter when you add the chocolate later.
Next, add in the powdered sugar, pinch of salt, vanilla, melted chocolate, and cocoa powder. I like to add everything in all at once and slowly mix them in, but you can divide the sugar into 2 or 3 additions if you prefer. Start on a low speed and once it is fully incorporated, whisk again on high speed for 2 to 3 minutes to get that volume back!
Finally, depending on how thick or thin you want your frosting, add a spoonful of milk as needed. Don’t just pour in a whole bunch! Do this a spoonful at a time till you get the consistency you want.
Tip! For super smooth frosting, switch from the whisk attachment to the paddle attachment and mix the second time. This will transform your frosting into the ultimate smooth texture.
Want to learn about how to pipe frosting like you see in these photos? Check out my vanilla frosting recipe with step by step instructions for creating the perfect swirl.
How to Store
This frosting is best when made the day of and frosted onto cakes and cupcakes right away.
Fridge: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week. You can add an additional splash of milk to help the frosting have a smooth consistency again. When on cakes, cupcakes, etc, this frosting will last for 1 week in the fridge but may begin to dry out after 5 days.
Freezer: Store in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw in the fridge and add a splash of milk to achieve a good frosting consistency. When on cakes, cupcakes, etc, this frosting will last in the freezer for 3 months. It may begin to lose flavor after 2 months. Allow to thaw in the fridge before serving.
What to make with this chocolate buttercream?
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- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- mixing bowl
- hand mixer or stand mixer
- piping bags and tips
- 1 cup butter or butter alternative, room temperature
- 50 grams chocolate, melted
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp vanilla or coffee
- sprinkle salt to taste
- splash milk of choice, if needed
- In a microwave safe bowl, or in a double boiler on the stove, melt the 2 oz of chocolate until smooth. Set aside to allow it to cool slightly.
- In the stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, whisk 1 cup of butter until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Give the sides of the bowl a scrape about every minute to ensure all the butter is whisked.
- Now add the cooled chocolate along with ½ cup cocoa powder, 4 cups of powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and a dash of salt.
- Mix on low speed until all ingredients are incorporated. Then mix on high speed for 2 minutes. Add a tablespoon of milk as needed for the right consistency.
- Use right away or store according to your preferences. Enjoy!