This Dark Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe is one wonderful frosting perfect for many baked goods, especially cake!
When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better in my personal opinion. Recently I made Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake that just screamed to be topped with a decadent Dark Chocolate Buttercream. I immediately remembered that unforgettable buttercream atop a cupcake I enjoyed at Magnolia Bakery in Chicago a couple of years ago. I tried the vanilla and the chocolate. Oh my word. Talk about decadent.
Since then, that Magnolia Bakery cupcake has become my measure for all other cupcakes, mostly because of the buttercream: light and fluffy and smooth. A buttercream worth the calories. I always think if you’re going to eat sweets, make it worth it. Eat the real stuff—not all of the time, of course, but in moderation. I really have found that once I learned what real fantastic food tastes like, especially when it comes to treats, I can easily pass on the fake, over-processed stuff. So I say, make it, don’t fake it. And when it comes to buttercream, it’s easy to make so there’s no need to fake.
This Dark Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe is truly bad to the bone, but totally real. Really. See for yourself how a fantastic buttercream can take a cake to the next level.
A few notes:
- An electric mixer is really a must for a smooth and fluffy buttercream. It doesn’t have to be a fancy stand mixer, but definitely use an electric mixer over trying to make it by mixing by hand.
- If making ahead and refrigerating, cover tightly with plastic wrap touching frosting. Remove from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature. Re-whip, adding more milk if needed to achieve smoothness and spreadability.
- To make this Dark Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe even darker, you’ll see I added some 100% dark cocoa powder. Hershey’s Special Dark 100% cacao is my favorite because I can find it stocked in just about most grocery stores.
- I know if I said “scrape down sides” once I said it ten times in the recipe below. It really makes a difference in the overall smoothness. Really. Take the time. No hurry, right. We’re making buttercream dreams come true. And that’s not something that needs to be rushed.
- The times stated for beating are based on a heavy-duty stand mixer on low-medium speeds. Depending on your mixer, you may need to adjust your beating times. Basically look for (a taste test) smoother and fluffier textures at each stage. It won’t hurt to beat it a tad longer than you think is necessary.
- The recipe below covers a 3 layer 9-inch round cake with a fairly light frosting applied with plenty leftover if wanting thicker layers of frosting.
- 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (chips are fine too!)
- 3 tablespoons dark cocoa powder (like Hershey's Special Dark 100% cacao)
- 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (not melted, just soft, like a slightly ripe peach)
- 4+ tablespoons whole milk, divided
- 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups sifted confectioners powdered sugar (10x)
- Melt chocolate according to package instructions. Once melted remove from heat, add dark cocoa powder one tablespoon at a time, mixing well until totally smooth after each addition. Set aside to cool slightly to lukewarm.
- Beat the butter at medium in a large mixing bowl for about 3 minutes, until creamy. Take time to scrape down sides of bowl and beater a few times.
- Slowly add 4 tablespoons of milk and continue to beat until smooth.
- Turn off mixer to add melted chocolate, beat well for 2 minutes. Turn off mixer, scrape down sides and beater.
- Add vanilla, beat for 3 minutes. Turn off mixer, scrape down sides and beater.
- Add powdered sugar about a half cup at a time, once all sugar has been added, scrape down sides and beater one more time. Beat on low until creamy, or to preference.
- If needed to adjust consistency, add either more milk or more sugar a smidge at a time.
Inspired by the buttercream frosting recipe from Magnolia Bakery.