So you made an amazing chocolate cake and now you need the best chocolate buttercream frosting recipe to slather over it. Well, here you go! This chocolate buttercream is rich, silky smooth, and devilishly good! It also works as the perfect chocolate frosting for cupcakes.

A chocolate cupcake with piped Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.

American Buttercream Frosting

This chocolate buttercream is considered an American buttercream.

This is the easiest and simplest type of buttercream to make; it requires minimal steps and ingredients. And truthfully a 6 year-old could make this recipe with ease.

Buttercream is essentially butter, or another form of fat, (sometimes people use shortening or a combination of both shortening and butter), sugar, and heavy cream whipped together until creamed.

You can add flavors into the buttercream such as chocolate, fresh fruit, fruit purees, and extracts.

You can get very creative when it comes to making buttercream. The flavor possibilities are endless!

A glass bowl full of Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.

Easy Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Today I’m showing you how to make a simple and very approachable CHOCOLATE buttermilk frosting recipe.

This is a recipe you can use on cookies, brownies, chocolate cupcakes…. or, as a finger dip. 🙂

Ingredients Needed

Here’s a list of the ingredients you’ll need.

  • Unsalted butter – the fat we’re using to make the frosting. I mentioned above that you can use shortening; but I really like butter! I’m using unsalted butter so that I can control the salt level in this recipe. Pro tip: if you use salted butter, omit the additional pinch of salt noted in the recipe.
  • Cocoa powder – gives us the chocolate flavor! Scroll down towards the bottom of the post to see my tips for using MELTED CHOCOLATE in place of cocoa powder.
  • Powdered sugar – adds the sweetness! If you like a really sweet frosting, add more powdered sugar, just remember that the more powdered sugar you add the more heavy cream you’ll need in order to make it a smooth and spreadable.
  • Vanilla extract – added for flavor.
  • Salt – added for flavor. Just a little, we don’t want too much.
  • Heavy cream, or milk – this will provide the smooth and luscious consistency buttercream is known for. Pro tip: heavy cream is thicker and has more fat, this will give the buttercream a very creamy texture. However, you can use milk. I’ve noticed that when I use milk to make buttercream I don’t need as much milk as compared to when I use heavy cream.

A glass stand mixer bowl with two sticks of unsalted butter in the bowl,

Making perfect Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

To make this chocolate buttercream begin by creaming the butter.

Pro tip: use slightly chilled room temperature butter, meaning the butter isn’t soft like it would be at room temperature. The butter should still feel a *tad* cold. Not too soft and not too cold. Capisce?

Mix the butter on medium speed for 2-3 minutes. The butter will lighten in color a tad.

A glass bowl with creamed butter.

Once the butter is creamed add the cocoa powder, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, pinch of salt, and heavy cream.

Mix on low speed until combined and then turn the speed to medium and whip for at least 2-4 minutes.

A glass bowl with creamed butter and cocoa powder in the bowl, in preparation to making a delicious chocolate buttercream frosting recipe.

You may need to add more heavy cream, depending on the consistency of the buttercream. Weather plays a role in baking more than we know; depending on the day you could use a lot of heavy cream or not as much.

The chocolate buttercream should be thick, smooth, and a spreadable consistency.

Chocolate Frosting with Melted Chocolate

You can also use melted chocolate in place of the cocoa powder. I would melt 5-6 oz of semi-sweet chocolate or dark chocolate.

After you’ve creamed the butter turn the mixer to low and slowly stream in the melted chocolate. Once the chocolate has been fully incorporated add the powdered sugar to the chocolate mixture 1 cup at a time. Then add the vanilla and salt. With mixer on low speed stream in the heavy cream and beat the buttercream for 3-4 minutes or until light and fluffy.

As always, you can add more powdered sugar to the buttercream if it’s not thick enough, or vice versa; you can add additional heavy cream to make it a more spreadable consistency.

A glass bowl with creamed butter, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar; in preparation for making chocolate buttercream frosting for cupcakes.

How to Store Frosting

To store frosting in the fridge, keep in an airtight container. It will last for 1 week in the fridge.

Before frosting cakes or cupcakes, remove the frosting from the fridge and bring to room temperature.

Can you store chocolate frosting in the freezer? Yes, keep it in an airtight container then store in the freezer for up to 2 months. Remove the chocolate buttercream from the freezer a day prior to using it. Let it thaw overnight in the fridge and then remove it from the fridge to bring to room temperature.

Before frosting your cake or cupcakes, I suggest rewhipping the frosting so that it’s light and fluffy.

You might need to add a few tablespoons of powdered sugar to the defrosted frosting… just gauge it as you go.

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Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe

A smooth, rich, and creamy chocolate buttercream frosting! This chocolate frosting can be used to frost just about anything!
servings: 1 serving
calories: 3752kcal

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup unsalted butter not fully at room temp, butter should be chilled but slightly soft.
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream or milk

INSTRUCTIONS

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the butter on medium speed until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the cocoa powder, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and 2 T heavy cream.

  • Mix until the frosting comes together, once it comes together add more heavy cream to get your desired consistency.  Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  • Use this frosting to frost cakes, cupcakes, or whatever you want!

RECIPE NOTES

To store frosting in the fridge: keep in an airtight container. Will last for 1 week in the fridge. Before frosting cake or cupcakes, remove the frosting from the fridge and bring to room temperature.
 
To store in the freezer: Keep in an airtight container for 2 months. Remove from the freezer a day prior to using it. Let it thaw overnight in the fridge and then remove it from the fridge to bring to room temperature. Before frosting your cake or cupcakes, I suggest rewhipping the frosting so that it’s light and fluffy. You might need to add a few tablespoons of powdered sugar to the defrosted frosting.
Calories: 3752kcal | Carbohydrates: 514g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 203g | Saturated Fat: 128g | Cholesterol: 529mg | Sodium: 59mg | Potassium: 928mg | Fiber: 19g | Sugar: 472g | Vitamin A: 122.3% | Calcium: 14.7% | Iron: 45.8%
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
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