If you love chocolate, you will love this buttercream frosting. It’s not as cloyingly sweet as most other types of chocolate frosting I have tried (though you can definitely add more powdered sugar if that’s your thing), but it still delivers on the most luxuriously decadent, rich chocolate flavor.
Whipping the frosting will make it feel more airy and fluffy, and it also significantly lightens the color by introducing tiny air bubbles into the mixture:
Making frosting (or really anything else) with cocoa powder or powdered sugar can be a bit frustrating, though. If you get impatient and add too much to your mixer at once or don’t pay attention for just one second, BAM, a big powdery sugar cloud puffs out of the mixing bowl, blurring your vision and turning your pristine kitchen counters into a war zone.
If you have ever cleaned up such a powder explosion, you know what I am talking about. It’s messy, it’s impossibly sticky, and it will have you incessantly cursing yourself through gritted teeth. And chances are you will keep finding remnants of cocoa powder and powdered sugar for weeks – how on earth did it get in/on/under/behind there?
So, if you want to save yourself the pain, here are a couple of helpful tricks:
- Make sure the butter is nicely softened and perfectly smooth.
- Have the milk ready in a small jug or bowl before you start adding any dry ingredients to the butter.
- With the mixer off, add cocoa and powdered sugar in very small portions, followed by a tiny sip of milk.
- Do not turn the mixer on completely, but puls it instead, quickly toggling back and forth between on and off in a regular rhythm.
- As soon as the powder has been incorporated, add another small portion, followed by a sip of liquid.
- Repeat until all dry ingredients have been added.
You can make the frosting in advance and store it in the refrigerator, but let it warm to room temperature before using it.
It’s perfect for taking your cupcakes, brownies, and cakes to the next level. Try adding a little bit of rum, whiskey, almond extract, chili powder, or other flavors to change things up a bit.
If you are anything like me, you are already itching to get started on this, so without further ado, here is the recipe:
Adapted from Add a Pinch.
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- 12 ounces (1.5 cups/3 sticks) butter, softened
- 4.5 ounces (1 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup milk
- 15.5 ounces (3.5 cups) powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
- pinch salt
- Add butter to the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth.
- Slowly add cocoa powder in portions and cream until well combined.
- Add powdered sugar and milk in small portions and cream until perfectly smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure all the butter and sugar is incorporated.
- Switch to the whisk attachment. Add vanilla extract, espresso powder, and salt. Whip frosting on high for about 1 minute.
- Use at room temperature to decorate cupcakes or cakes.
For the perfect decadent chocolate treat, try this frosting recipe with my favorite chocolate raspberry cake.