The Best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe That Will Have You Licking Your Spatula!

For years, I couldn’t find a chocolate buttercream frosting recipe that I liked! This was a problem because I have become kind of the unofficial baker of my family and friends, But since I couldn’t find a chocolate frosting recipe that I liked, I would shy away from chocolate altogether.  But that all changed recently when I found a special ingredient that turned my frosting from meh, to Yum!!!

Before my  discovery, all of the recipes that I tried were just mediocre. They were usually too sweet, had a tan color and if you closed your eyes, you probably wouldn’t even know that it was chocolate!!! A disgrace to all chocolate lovers!

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This was also a problem because my husband is a die-hard chocolate lover!  And since I make a lot of cakes for family and friends, when he walks thru the kitchen and finds a yellow cake with pink frosting, I always hear the standard complaint, “Why even make a cake if it isn’t chocolate!?!”

Many chocolate frosting recipes don't look or even taste like chocolate! But this rich homemade dark chocolate buttercream frosting recipe is the best!

A Perfect Combination of Ingredients

I longed to find a recipe for a deep, dark velvety chocolate frosting like I had enjoyed on desserts growing up.  Granted, that frosting was likely from a can with a silver peel off lid (please don’t judge, I didn’t know any better back then), but at least it LOOKED like chocolate!

So, for a while I avoided chocolate frosting, or I would sometimes make chocolate ganache instead (my mom’s favorite), but when I needed something sweet and fluffy to complement a perfectly moist cake, I was out of luck!

Many chocolate frosting recipes don't look or even taste like chocolate! But this rich homemade dark chocolate buttercream frosting recipe is the best!

Until about a year ago, I had bought some Hershey’s special dark cocoa and attempted to use it to make frosting.  It turned the frosting almost black, it may have tasted fine, but I wouldn’t know because the color turned my stomach! (However, I do think they must use the dark cocoa when making “The Grey Stuff” at Disney World, which is great by the way!).

But then I thought, what if I try mixing half regular cocoa and half dark cocoa?  YUUUUMMMMMYYYYY!  That was it!!! The frosting came out so rich and velvety, it was perfect! I was thrilled, I had finally found a delicious, rich dark chocolate buttercream frosting recipe!

This frosting is especially good when adding just enough powdered sugar to sweeten it, but not make it overly sweet.  The dilemma for me is that I am often making large batches of frosting to pipe on cakes and cupcakes, so I typically add extra sugar to make the frosting thicker and sturdier.

My solution? I add a little salt of course!  I usually add salt to my frosting, but in this recipe it is especially important because the sugar can be a little overpowering. You can almost miss the cocoa flavors if it gets too sweet.  So just a dash or two will do!

Tips for Frosting With This Dark Chocolate Buttercream Recipe

You can adapt this dark chocolate buttercream frosting just a bit based on what you are using it for and your own preference.  Do you ever watch the Food Network? They are constantly reminding you to taste your food!  This is so key! Like you needed an excuse to taste this frosting!

Many chocolate frosting recipes don't look or even taste like chocolate! But this rich homemade dark chocolate buttercream frosting recipe is the best!

  1.  Soften butter to room temperature before starting.
  2.  Sift cocoa and powdered sugar, separately
  3.  Mix the cocoa (regular and dark) with the softened butter for 1-2 minutes.  If the frosting appears crumbly then add 1-2 tablespoons of cream.  Mix until it is smooth and satiny.
  4. Start to add the SIFTED powdered sugar.  (You will not have a velvety end product if you don’t sift the sugar-it will have little lumps of sugar pearls instead.  This may not bother you, but if you will be piping this frosting, you should definitely sift the powdered sugar).
  5. Notice as you mix a couple of cups of powdered sugar, how does the frosting look?  Is it starting to thicken?  Is it getting crumbly again?  If so,  then add 1 tablespoon of cream, mix…. Still crumbly?  Add another tablespoon of cream.  Continue adding powdered sugar and cream (only as needed if the frosting starts to crumble or gets too thick).
  6. Stop your mixer before adding each batch of powdered sugar and check your frosting!  Does the texture look smooth and velvety?  How does it taste?  Is it sweet enough?  Too sweet ? (Make sure to add your dash or two of salt).

If you are planning to frost a sheet or layer cake, the softer frosting will be easier to spread.  Remember if it seems a little too thick, add 1-2 tablespoons more of cream.

Tips for Piping With Dark Chocolate Buttercream

If you will be piping this frosting, continue to add more sugar, one cup at a time until you can touch the frosting without getting it coming off on your finger. Remember to check your frosting often.  You can pipe with the softer frosting, but it will likely be a little harder to work with.  The frosting will start to spread out or slide off your cake instead of holding its shape like the “sturdier”, thicker frosting which contains more powdered sugar. Also, frosting with more powdered sugar will start to “crust” or harden a little as they sit out.

Many chocolate frosting recipes don't look or even taste like chocolate! But this rich homemade dark chocolate buttercream frosting recipe is the best!

I don’t typically refrigerate my cakes after icing even though I’m sure some would say that it should be because of the cream. But if your frosting is a little soft after icing your cake, you can always put it in the fridge to help it harden a little (think refrigerated butter vs room temp butter). This is especially good if you are going to transport it and you are worried about the frosting getting smeared as you carry it. Just bring it to room temp before serving for the best taste!


Best Cakes to Pair With Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

When you are ready to make this delicious frosting, you will need an awesome cake to compliment it!  If you are looking for a great recipe for cake, try my recipe for The Best (and Easiest) Cake Ever!  It is absolutely delicious and can be used to make any flavor of cake, but my favorite is dark chocolate cake with dark chocolate buttercream frosting!

I hope that you love this dark chocolate buttercream frosting recipe! And I hope that it will help you make many wonderful chocolate covered memories!

The Best Dark Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe

If you are a chocolate lover, look no further for the best, rich, delicious chocolate buttercream frosting ever!  It is a perfect compliment to any cake, or even brownies!
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Course: Dessert
Keyword: dark chocolate buttercream frosting


  • 2 sticks salted butter softened
  • 1/2 cup cocoa sifted
  • 1/2 cup dark cocoa sifted
  • 4-6 cups powdered sugar sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 dash salt
  • 1-4 tbsp heavy cream or half & half


  • Beat softened butter until smooth, slowly add the sifted cocoa powder and mix well.  
    If the butter mixture becomes crumbly, add 1 Tbsp cream and mix until smooth.  Continue adding cream as needed. 
    When butter & cocoa mixture is smooth, slowly start adding the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. 
     If at any point your mixture starts to get stiff and crumbly, add another tbsp of cream and mix until smooth.  
    Continue adding the powdered sugar until you get the consistency that you desire.


Remember, if you are spreading the frosting on a sheet cake, the frost can be very soft.  If you are frosting a layer cake, you will want your icing about the consistency of softened butter (spreadable, buy not dripping off of a spoon).  If you are planning to pipe the icing, continue adding powdered sugar until the frosting can be touched without sticking to your hand.

Have you tried this recipe?  If so, what do you think?  Do you have a favorite frosting recipe, please share in the comments below!





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