Dark Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

I have three favorite kinds of cake: chocolate, red velvet, and strawberry. It doesn’t matter what every traditional recipe calls for, in my mind, all three of these cakes need one thing to make them perfect – chocolate frosting, more specifically, dark chocolate frosting. When I first started baking cakes, frosting was something that I really struggled to make. In fact, after a couple of failed attempts, I flat out gave up and started buying pre-made frosting from the store. However, if you have been following my blog for a while, you know how I feel about processed pre-made foods, so after talking to both my mom and Cole’s mom, I started experimenting with the process more. 

Cole’s mom makes the best sugar cookies ever, and I was able to master her cookie frosting recipe, but I wanted a slightly thicker frosting for cake. After enough times of making the cookie frosting, I was able to observe the techniques and figure out how to combine them with my mom’s chocolate frosting recipe. This still took some trial and error, but after a couple of adjustments in ingredient amounts, I finally had a buttercream frosting that was exactly the consistency I was looking for. Personally, I prefer to have a larger cake to frosting ratio, so I use this recipe to frost 24 cupcakes, but if you like a lot of frosting on your cake, you may want to make a batch and a half instead for 24 cupcakes.


½ cup Softened Butter

1 ½ tsp Vanilla 

2 cups Powdered Sugar

⅓ cup Special Dark Cocoa Powder

¼ cup Whole Milk


Kitchen Tip: To reach the right consistency of frosting, the trick is to have EXTRA soft butter. I like it right in that stage where melted butter is starting to pool from the stick a little bit, but yet isn’t terribly melty either. To achieve this texture, I like to make frosting about an hour and a half after shutting the oven and taking the cupcakes out. During this time span, the oven will have cooled off a bit, but will still be decently warm. I place the stick on an oven safe dish, pop it in the turned off oven for half an hour, leaving the door open a small crack, then I check it every 15 minutes until the butter has reached the extra soft/semi-melty stage. Usually this only takes half an hour. 

1. Beat the softened butter with vanilla in a large bowl. 

2. Add in the powdered sugar and dark cocoa powder and continue to beat. This will still be fairly clumpy without the milk.

3. Add in the milk, and beat on high until the frosting is a smooth consistency, and the lumps of powdered sugar have disappeared. 

That’s all there is to it! Three steps to a delicious chocolatey frosting that is sure to compliment all of your favorite cakes. To make your cake a little extra special, feel free to top with sprinkles, chopped nuts, or chocolate chips. Enjoy!

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