Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

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This chocolate buttercream frosting tastes great and cooperates like your children rarely do, and with any luck it will become a staple in your household like it has in ours. The frosting pipes easily and also spreads well. I like to use a really good salted, cultured butter like Kerrygold (which, TBH, I use for absolutely everything). In a recipe with only a few ingredients, it really makes a difference. And lo, it’s inexpensive to boot.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting 780 | Umami Girl-2


Don’t be scared of piping frosting. It’s actually easier and much faster than spreading. The cupcakes below get their look from a single glug of frosting piped from straight overhead with a star tip.

Chocolate buttercream for cupcakes

I’m thinking back fondly to that time when I should’ve been Christmas shopping, preparing teacher gifts and planning a Christmas dinner menu, but instead decided to stay in my PJs for an extra 90 minutes and publish two recipes in one day. Oh hi, that was right now (and here’s to making multiple school drop-off runs in PJs, as one does).

Yesterday I sent these cuties to school for Celia’s 4th grade class even though the child herself has been home sick all week. Find that recipe, which I love for its cuteness to easiness ratio, right here.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting 780 | Umami Girl-2

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Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

This recipe makes enough to frost 24+ cupcakes the way you see here. For a big cake, a larger batch of cupcakes or a higher frosting to cupcake ratio, you can 1 1/2x or double this recipe. A double recipe requires a larger stand mixer or a very big bowl (see note).

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Serves 24


  • 16 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk, plus more as needed
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk (or in a large bowl with electric beaters), beat the butter for three to four minutes until light and creamy.
  2. Sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder, then add to mixer (with mixer off) along with milk and vanilla. Beat on low until incorporated, then on high for three to four minutes until smooth and fluffy.
  3. Let sit for 10 minutes to help powdered sugar chillax a bit into the mix. (Technical term.) If frosting is too thick, beat in up to two tablespoons more milk a little at a time. 
  4. This frosting pipes beautifully and spreads equally well with a spatula. I prefer to use it right away, but you can keep it covered in the fridge for several days, bring to cool room temperature and whisk again for a minute to use leftovers.


I use the 6 quart bowl lift KitchenAid for a double batch of frosting. I recommend sifting in batches.

Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving:

Calories:: 130 Total Fat:: 8g Carbohydrates:: 15.7g Fiber:: 0.5g Protein:: 0.4g

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