The Perfect Dark Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

dark chocolate buttercream frosting

The perfect dark chocolate buttercream frosting is creamy, smooth, and infused with a real dark chocolate taste. Today, I will show you how you can become the dark chocolate master and create the perfect dark chocolate buttercream from the comfort of your home. This dark chocolate frosting recipe is a personal favorite of mine and is definitely a go-to frosting for any treat I bake. I have done some editing to this recipe to make it extra rich and delicious for those who just can’t get enough dark chocolate!


This recipe contains only a few ingredients but makes an unreal flavor when combined. Similar to my white chocolate buttercream recipe, this also yields approximately 12 -14 regular cupcakes. You can frost much more mini cupcakes with it, or use it on a cake, or other treats.

You will need:

  • 250g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 150g powdered sugar
  • 100g dark cocoa powder
  • 1tbsp vanilla extract

Depending on how dark you like your frosting, you can adjust the amount of cocoa powder. With this being said, make sure that you go no less than 50 grams and no more than 200 grams. (this is to keep the texture creamy).

How to make dark chocolate buttercream frosting

This recipe is very easy to make and doesn’t take up much of your time:

  1. Add butter to a large bowl (you can chop the butter up into cubes to make the mixing process faster) The butter should be at room temperature and slightly softened.
  2. Using an electric or handheld mixer, beat butter for approximately 10 minutes until smooth. You can know when to stop beating by checking the color of the butter. It should be paler than normal butter.
  3. Sift in powdered sugar and mix until combined and free of any lumps.
  4. Sift in cocoa powder and mix again until fully combined and lump-free.
  5. While mixing, add in vanilla extract gradually.
  6. Beat for another 7-8 minutes, cleaning down the sides of the bowl using a spatula every 1-2 minutes.

Once the mixture is fluffy and fully combined, your dark chocolate buttercream frosting can be served!

Dark chocolate frosting with melted chocolate

You can try another variation of this recipe, which might be easier to make or simply better tasting for some. This is called “the dark chocolate frosting with melted chocolate”. In this variation, I use dark chocolate ganache instead of dark cocoa powder. The difference this makes is a slightly creamier texture, as well as the rich taste of melted chocolate, which we all love.

The basic ratio for a good chocolate ganache is 1 part cream to 2 parts chocolate. Basically, this means that if you have 50 grams of cream, you will need 100 grams of chocolate. This is the amount that we will be using in this recipe variation. To make your dark chocolate ganache, combine 100g of dark chocolate melts with 50g of thickened cream in a bowl. You can either melt this mixture in the microwave or use a stove. Once the ganache is ready let it cool for 10-15 minutes before using it.

You can then add the ganache to the mixture after beating butter and powdered sugar (*replacing step 4 in the previous recipe).

What can I use dark chocolate frosting on?

This buttercream is perfect to go on not only cupcakes but also cakes and other treats. The flavor of dark chocolate gives you the perfect opportunity to balance out anything that is “too sweet” and make a delicious flavor contrast. With this frosting, you can also take advantage of the stunning color and set a premium, classic look with your sweets. As well as this, you can also explore different color themes with decoration ideas. I will be sharing some decoration ideas for cupcakes and birthday cakes below.

dark chocolate buttercream frosted cupcakes

Use it on cupcakes

One of my personal favorite ways to use dark chocolate frosting, is to enjoy it on top of a cupcake. This frosting goes well with pretty much all cupcake flavors. However, it tastes significantly good with any cupcake that has a vanilla base. Your base doesn’t necessarily have to be vanilla. It’s fun to experiment with things like fresh berries in the base of additional flavors (lemon, coffee, etc…).

Related post: history of cupcakes

Once you have paired your frosting with a cupcake base, it’s time to make it pretty with some decorations. Here are some common decorations I like to use with dark chocolate buttercream:

  • white chocolate drizzle
  • nuts
  • berries (and other fruits)
  • rosebud petals
  • coconut flakes
  • biscuits/chocolates/other sweets

Not only do these decorations add an extra taste to your cupcakes, but their color will also make your cupcakes look even more gorgeous.

Use it on birthday cakes

Another way to use dark chocolate frosting is on birthday cakes. The dark chocolate flavor perfectly balances out the sweetness of the cake sponge, and also gives your cake a pretty fancy look. If you like to have some variety in your cake, you can try pairing dark chocolate buttercream with another type of icing and using one for filling, and the other for icing. Here are some ideas for decorating your dark chocolate buttercream frosted birthday cake.

  • Candles
  • Happy birthday topper (available in my shop!)
  • Buttercream swirls around the edges (great way to use your leftover dark chocolate frosting!)
  • Berries and other fresh fruits
  • Flowers
  • Nuts
  • Chocolate drip (white chocolate looks very good!)
  • Lollies/biscuits/chocolates

There are many more decorations that you can match and explore, but at the end of the day decorating your birthday cake is all up to your preferences! Lighter colors like white work really with dark chocolate frosting as a basic guide.

Related post: how long do birthday cakes last in the fridge

To get some more inspiration, be sure to check out my celebration cake tab on my website. There are a lot of ways to explore dark chocolate buttercream, so don’t be afraid and explore for yourself!


In this article, we explained how you can make dark chocolate frosting. If you enjoyed today’s recipe, make sure to check out my other posts and perhaps get baking at your own home! Leave any questions or opinions in the comments below and I will get back to you in no time!

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