September 25, 2021

Good Food

Eat Good Food – Easy Chocolate Buttercream Frosting | Liv for Cake

Chocolate buttercream thumbnail.

This easy chocolate buttercream frosting is simply the best! The perfect chocolate frosting for cakes, cupcakes, macarons, and other delicious treats.

Chocolate cupcake with chocolate buttercream swirl and mini chocolate chips.

You guys know I am a die-hard Swiss Meringue buttercream fan. It is the best buttercream out there with a silky smooth texture that’s stiff enough to frost and pipe with.

More recently I’ve been experimenting with other types of buttercreams like German and Ermine. Both use a pudding/custard base combined with butter and tend to be less sweet than most other buttercreams.

They are much easier to make than meringue buttercream but also a bit softer and less stable (they are totally delicious though and offer serious competition to SMBC).

There is no easier buttercream to make though than the classic American buttercream. It’s literally just a combination of butter and powdered sugar plus some milk or cream and whatever flavoring you like.

It has never been my favourite because it’s so much sweeter than and less smooth than meringue ones. It’s just not my preference. This chocolate buttercream version, however, is to die for! 

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I already have a simple Vanilla Buttercream which is one of my most popular recipes so I thought it was high time I gave this chocolate buttercream version its own time in the spotlight. Did I mention it’s delicious??

Chocolate buttercream ingredients laid out on a table with a blue cloth.

How to Make Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

This chocolate frosting recipe is simple to make but there are a few key things that will make it even more delicious. The recipe consists of:

  • unsalted butter
  • powdered sugar
  • cocoa powder
  • vanilla
  • cream or milk

My recipe is different than most as it uses less sugar (same as my vanilla buttercream) and a bit more cocoa powder. I also cream the butter and cocoa powder first because I like to control the amount of sugar in my frosting. Sometimes I add a bit more or less depending. If you start with the sugar it’s harder to adjust.

You can make it using a hand mixer too which is a bonus for those that don’t have a stand mixer available. 

Tips for Success

  1. Make sure your butter is at room temperature (but not so soft that it’s squishy and melty). It should have some give to it when you press on it. If it’s too firm your mixer will struggle and it won’t combine well with the sugar. If it’s too soft your buttercream may be too soft.
  2. Beat your butter until it is smooth and pale before adding other ingredients.Whipped butter in a mixer bowl.
  3. Use good quality cocoa powder. I like to use a Dutch-process one for a richer flavour and color. It is a noticeable dark chocolate brown. Any cocoa powder will work though.
  4. Sift your cocoa powder and powdered sugar. Since American buttercream is already a bit gritty this will help ensure it’s as smooth as possible. It won’t make or break your buttercream either way but it’s a step I never skip.
  5. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time and incorporate slowly, beat well between additions. To help ensure a smoother frosting but also so that you don’t have powdered sugar all over your kitchen.powdered sugar added 1 cup at a time.
  6. Add enough cream or milk so that the frosting is soft and smooth. I made the mistake of adding too little at first and the frosting was too thick and grainy. Adding just 1 Tbsp more made a huge difference!Side by side. Grittier buttercream on left. Smoother buttercream on right.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I convert this recipe?

  • This recipe makes enough to frost 12-16 cupcakes depending on the amount of frosting used per cupcake.
  • Double the recipe to frost a two-layer 8″ cake or a three-layer 6″ cake.

Can I make it in advance?

  • Yes! The frosting can be placed in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 1 week for frozen for up to 3 months (sometimes longer). Be sure to bring to room temperature and give it a good rewhip before using.
  • If you’re just making it the day before, leave it in the mixer bowl and place plastic wrap directly on the surface. You can leave it at room temperature overnight.

Cupcake on a wood background.

I hope you guys love this easy chocolate buttercream recipe as much as I do. It is smooth, chocolatey, and delicious. The perfect frosting for your cakes and cupcakes!

Pair it with my classic Chocolate Cake or Vanilla Cake recipes or with my Almost Scratch Cake for an easier alternative.

Looking for more Buttercream recipes?

Easy Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

The best easy chocolate buttercream! The perfect chocolate frosting for cakes, cupcakes, and other delicious treats.

Course Dessert

Cuisine Frosting

Prep Time 20 minutes

Total Time 20 minutes

Servings 2.5 cups – enough to frost a 12-16 cupcakes

Calories 1341kcal


Chocolate Buttercream

  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder sifted
  • 3 cups powdered sugar sifted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3-4 Tbsp whipping cream or milk room temperature


Chocolate Buttercream

  • Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat butter until creamy and light.

  • Reduce speed to low and add sifted cocoa powder. Beat until smooth and combined.

  • Reduce speed to low. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time mix on low until well blended. Increase speed to medium and beat for 3 minutes. Add vanilla and 2 Tbsp cream or milk and continue to beat on medium for 1 minute.

  • Add more cream /milk as needed until desired consistency is reached. Whip until the frosting is smooth and silky.

Calories: 1341kcalCarbohydrates: 160gProtein: 6gFat: 84gSaturated Fat: 53gTrans Fat: 3gCholesterol: 220mgSodium: 25mgPotassium: 436mgFiber: 9gSugar: 142gVitamin A: 2534IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 68mgIron: 4mg

The nutritional information and metric conversions are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this data. If this important to you, please verify with your favourite nutrition calculator and/or metric conversion tool.

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