This is my favorite chocolate frosting recipe. This homemade icing is creamy and easy to whip up with only 6 ingredients and can be used on birthday cakes, cupcakes and more.
Why I Love This Recipe
- Easy to make: It’s true! There are no complicated ingredients to make this recipe for chocolate frosting. All you need is butter, powdered sugar and cocoa powder.
- Icing makes the cake: Don’t ruin a delicious chocolate cake by slathering it with store-made icing, your guests and family will be wowed when it’s the frosting that grabs their attention!
- Smooth, rich and creamy: The chocolate flavor shines through in this best chocolate frosting recipe without overpowering it and the soft texture will melt-in-your-mouth!
- Versatile: Use this to frost a layered yellow cake or vanilla cake or pipe it onto chocolate cupcakes or vanilla cupcakes!
Substitutions and Variations
- Semi-sweet chocolate: You can use a quality semi-sweet chocolate bar or chocolate chips that have been chopped, melted and cooled. You may need to increase the confectioners’ sugar for a thick frosting consistency when using melted chocolate.
- Bittersweet chocolate flavor: Use dutch-process cocoa powder instead of unsweetened cocoa powder.
- Smaller amount: Half the recipe if you only need a small portion of chocolate frosting.
- Too sweet: If the frosting is too sweet for your taste, reduce the added powdered sugar but also decrease the added water as well.
How to Make
In the large bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and salt to remove lumps. Using an electric mixer, add in the water and vanilla on medium speed, scraping the bowl if necessary.
Beat in the butter and remaining 2 cups powdered sugar on medium-high speed 1 to 2 minutes, or until pale and fluffy. If frosting is too stiff, beat in 1 teaspoon water until it’s spreadable.
Using an offset spatula or rubber spatula, spread enough frosting to create a crumb coat around the entire cake. Chill 30 minutes then frost remainder of the cake. Alternately, add frosting to piping bag to use on cupcakes.
Homemade chocolate frosting makes enough to generously frost 12 cupcakes, lightly ice 24 cupcakes, cover an 8″ or 9″ layer cake or 9×13″ sheet cake.
Make Ahead and Storage
Chocolate frosting can be made ahead up to a week in advance. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. When ready to use your frosting, bring it to room temperature first which should take about 3-4 hours.
To obtain a light and fluffy texture again, whip it for 20-30 seconds in the mixer before using it to a frost a cake.
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Chocolate Frosting Recipe
- 1 cup natural cocoa powder
- 3 cups powdered sugar , divided
- ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ cup hot water
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter , softened
- In a large bowl , stir together the cocoa powder, 1 cup powdered sugar, and salt. Mix in the water and vanilla on medium speed, scraping the bowl if necessary.
- Beat in the butter and remaining 2 cups powdered sugar on medium-high speed 1 to 2 minutes, or until pale and fluffy. If frosting is too stiff, beat in 1 teaspoon water until it's spreadable.
- Using an offset spatula or rubber spatula, spread enough frosting to create a crumb coat around the entire cake. Chill 30 minutes.
- Decorate the cake with the remaining frosting any way you would like.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
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