Best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Mary and Brenda Maher

By Brenda & Mary

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Chocolate buttercream frosting is a joyous blend of both pure flavor bliss and simplicity. Its rich chocolate profile practically melts into the sweet powdered sugar, turning my baked treats into a delightful melody that hits all the right notes! 

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Once upon a Valentine’s Day, my high school boyfriend surprised me with a cake covered in the most divine buttercream chocolate frosting I’ve ever tasted. Yep, it was like sinking my teeth into a slice of blissful mouthfeel! And, believe it or not, that sweet, sweet gift had actually pulled me into the world of baking.

Why We Can Never Get Enough Of This Recipe

Forget your basic chocolate frostings; brown chocolate buttercream is where the flavor magic happens. The cocoa solids get all caramelized during browning, giving you a deeper, nuttier taste with a hint of coffee or toffee-like vibe.

Chocolate Buttercream Recipe
  • Of course, chocolate is still the vedette of the show. Coca powder? Melted chocolate? Or a mix of both? Doesn’t matter; this frosting will still give you a wild roller coaster ride, from mild and creamy to bittersweet, depending on your chocolate mood! 
  • Sure, brown chocolate buttercream is a match made in heaven for any chocolate recipe, like chocolate strawberry or raspberry cakes. But here’s the twist: it’s also a fantastic wingman for the gentle sweetness of vanilla sheet cakes. And those toffee-like notes will tango gracefully with the coffee flavor in some of my layer cakes. True magic!
  • And guess what? This sweet creation isn’t just for the chocolate fanatics. It plays nice with the light sweetness of berries or the zingy kick in citrus fruits, too. The result? A refreshingly balanced bite that can’t wait to high-five your taste buds!

How To Make Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Step 1, 2, 3

Step 1.

Grab your electric mixer (or use a stand mixer with the whisk or paddle attachment). Throw your softened butter in there and give it a whirl until it’s all fluffy and creamy; it should take around 1 to 2 minutes! Oh, and don’t forget to scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go.

Step 2.

Time to introduce powdered sugar. Sprinkle it into your bowl along with sifted cocoa powder. Wait! Did you sift the powder? Do it, my friends, unless you want some sneaky lumps to play spoiler in your smooth, fluffy goodness.

Step 3. 

Toss in a pinch of salt and a dash of vanilla, and pour in 3 tablespoons of milk. Now, let your mixing party continue!

Step 4. 

Crank up your mixer at low speed and keep it rolling. As you do, scrape down the sides of the bowl whenever necessary. 

The mix might look kinda clumpy at this stage, but no worries; it’s all part of the plan! We’re about to smooth things out with some cream/milk and a bit more mixing.

Step 5.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Step 5

Pour in 1 ½ to 3 tablespoons of the rest of the milk, crank up the mixer speed to medium, and let it work its magic for a good 1-2 minutes. You’ll know the frosting is good to go when it turns all fluffy and creamy!

Again, don’t forget to take care of the sides of the bowl with your scraper.

Step 6.

It’s decision time! 

Want softer frosting? Toss in a bit more milk. Craving a thicker texture? Just sprinkle in some extra powdered sugar. It’s your kingdom, so rule as you please.

Step 7. 

Give your layer of frosting a gentle press with a spatula to bid farewell to any pesky air bubbles that might have sneaked in.

Now, you’ve got options. The smartest move is to use your homemade frosting straight away. But if you’re playing the long game, toss it in the fridge, all snug and covered, for a few days.

When it’s time to bring it back to life, I usually add a hint of 1 ½ to 3 teaspoons of milk and let the mixer work its magic until my frosting is back to its smooth, creamy self.

Chocolate Buttercream complete

3 Things To Keep In Mind

1. You’ve got choices for cocoa powder, my friend. Either go for the natural, unsweetened version (a solid pick for most of my recipes) or swing to the Dutch-processed cocoa for that extra oomph – deeper, richer flavor and a darker color!

2. This frosting is versatile. You can spread it like a breeze with a spatula or get fancy and pipe it using big piping tips (for cake decorations and cupcakes). A pro trick for pipers out there: ease up on the milk a bit to keep that frosting from going too soft!

3. And here’s something I’ve learned from all my testing adventures: swapping in heavy cream for milk gave my frosting a tad curdled texture. Not the vibe we’re after! 

So you should still stick with good ol’ milk. It lets the frosting handle longer mixing, which keeps it light, fluffy, and steering clear of any curdled or grainy drama. Now, let’s get frosting!


How long does my batch of frosting last?

  • Up to 7 days if snugly sealed in an airtight container in the fridge.

Why does my chocolate buttercream look grainy?

  • You either used too much sugar or too little liquid! 

Why does it taste so bitter?

  • Check your butter. Is it burnt, expired, or overdone?

Now let the flour fly and the joy rise!

More Unique Frosting Recipes:

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Chocolate buttercream frosting brings a dash of richness and a subtle cocoa grit that adds the best texture twists. Smooth and spreadable, it glides effortlessly onto baked treats to make frosting a breeze and piping a piece of cake – literally.
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Course: Frosting
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 40
Calories: 103kcal
Author: Brenda Maher


  • 1 ½ cups (340.5g) butter, softened to normal room temperature (using salted butter)
  • 5 ½ cups (~640g) powdered sugar
  • ¾ cup (64.5g) unsweetened, natural or Dutch-processing cocoa powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons regular milk


  • Use an electric mixer to whip up softened butter until fluffy (1-2 minutes), scraping the bowl as needed.
  • Add powdered sugar, sifted cocoa powder, salt, vanilla, and 3 tablespoons of milk to the bowl; continue mixing at low speed.
  • Pour in 1.5 to 3 tablespoons of the rest of the milk, increase speed to medium, and mix for 1-2 minutes until creamy. Adjust texture by adding more milk for softness or powdered sugar for thickness.
  • Press out air bubbles using a silicone spatula.


  • Choose natural/unsweetened cocoa powder or Dutch-process cocoa for richer flavor and color.
  • .This delicious frosting is versatile for both spreading and piping. When piping, go easy on the milk to avoid it getting too soft.
  • Avoid using heavy cream; stick with milk for longer mixing and no curdling.


Calories: 103kcal | Carbohydrates: 15.9g | Protein: 0.9g | Fat: 3.6g | Saturated Fat: 2.3g | Sodium: 30mg | Potassium: 63mg | Fiber: 0.6g | Sugar: 14.6g | Calcium: 21mg
Did you make this recipe?Mention @cakegirls or tag #cakegirls!

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Mary and Brenda Maher

Mary & Brenda Maher

Mary & Brenda Maher, are the founders of Cake Girls, a Chicago-based online baking shop specializing in cake supplies, party decor, and DIY cake tutorials. They are known for their elaborate and artistic cake creations, which have been featured on the Food Network Challenge and in a reality show, Amazing Wedding Cakes.

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