Dark Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe

This may just be the best buttercream frosting you’ll ever make! Our dark chocolate buttercream frosting recipe is fluffy and with just the right bitter-sweet flavor. This chocolate icing may just disappear off your counter before you ever get to use it.

spoon full of chocolate buttercream with birthday cake sprinklesChocoholics, rejoice: this will be your new favorite frosting, it’s so easy to make you can whip it up for cupcakes and other delights right before parties, get-togethers, and more. We personally recommend using it with chocolate or vanilla cupcakes for the most perfect treat ever! It should make enough to frost a layer cake, as well. We’re honestly drooling just thinking about it…

Other suggestions for using this buttercream: brownies…cookie sandwiches…really, the sky’s the limit. You may just end up wanting to put it on everything! Now let’s make some chocolate icing!

dark chocolate buttercream frosting piped in lines from piping tipsChocolate Buttercream Recipe Supplies

Yield: Frosting for about 24 cupcakes (depending on the amount of frosting on each cupcake)

Prep Time: 10 min

chocolate buttercream frosting recipe ingredients laid out on tableIngredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream or milk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Ingredient note: If you only want to make 12 cupcakes, this recipe can be cut in half pretty easily!

Utensils & Other Items

  • Mixing bowl
  • Medium-sized bowl

dark chocolate buttercream frosting recipe steps and tipsHow To Make Chocolate Buttercream Icing

  1. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter until fluffy and smooth.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder. (This step is optional, although it makes the frosting smooth and easier to mix!)
  3. Gradually add powdered sugar to the butter, alternating with heavy cream.
  4. Add vanilla extract and beat well.
  5. Use immediately or store in refrigerator for up to 3-5 days until ready to serve. Bring to room temperature before using.

Note: You can freeze this frosting in an airtight container for up to 3 months as well if you have a lot of extra or just want to make it super far in advance! Just make sure it comes to room temperature before you use it.

dark chocolate icing in white dishDark Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Tips & Tricks

If you want to make sure this chocolate icing turns out perfect, or if you might have a question we’ve not already answered…read this section first!

  • Make sure you follow step 3 well! Alternating the heavy cream with the sugar is how you’ll get that lovely silky, fluffy texture and appearance.
  • If the frosting seems too wet, add more powdered sugar until it’s fluffy again. Just remember that the more powdered sugar you add, the lighter the color will be. We love the dark color of this icing.
  • And on the other hand, if the frosting is too dry, add more whipping cream or milk until you have the right consistency.
  • You can probably use salted butter instead of unsalted butter if that’s all you have on hand. It shouldn’t change the flavor too much. We’ve used it as a replacement in a pinch with no issues!
  • If you have to substitute ingredients for certain diets and it works out, we’d love to hear about it in the comments. As it stands, we can’t fully recommend any substitutions. But we have heard that margarine works in place of butter, and milk substitutes do great. If you don’t mind a bit of risk…try it!
  • The dark cocoa powder is so important for the taste (and color!) of this buttercream. It gives it a slightly, slightly bitter ‘kick’ that you’ll appreciate! And it makes the frosting so it isn’t TOO sweet. So yummy!
  • Speaking of the cocoa powder, Dutch-process or natural cocoa powder should both work well. (And if you aren’t sure what that means…well…just grab your favorite brand!)
  • We’ve heard of folks adding espresso flavoring or orange extract to alter the flavor a bit in those directions. Go ahead and try that if you don’t want straight-up chocolate!

chocolate frosting recipe in white bowl with sprinkles all aroundWhat Else Can I Use Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe On?

Chocolate frosting is totally delicious, isn’t it? What will you be making with it? Would be great on chocolate cake because hello, chocolate! We’d love to hear your thoughts on flavor combos! Here are a few ideas:

No matter what you choose to use this on, this silky smooth frosting will be the perfect addition to those sweets!

Yield: 24

Easy Dark Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Easy Dark Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream or milk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter until fluffy and smooth
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together powdered sugar and cocoa powder - this step is optional, although it makes the frosting smooth and easier to mix
  3. Gradually add powdered sugar, alternating with heavy cream
  4. Add vanilla extract and beat well
  5. Use immediately or store in refrigerator until ready to serve. Let come to room temperature before using

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