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Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting | Umami GirlI’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. That recipe, which I love for its cuteness to easiness ratio, will be up shortly. But first, an essential building block: chocolate buttercream frosting. [UPDATE: cupcakes are here!]

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting | Umami GirlThis 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. 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.

Okay, see you on the other side of this thing. Talk to you awkwardly soon.

Carolyn xx

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Preparation 00:15 Total Time 0:15
Yields Frosting for about 24 cupcakes     adjust servings

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 -- I have the 6 quart bowl lift KitchenAid and it works fine. I recommend sifting in batches. 🙂 


  • 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


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. 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. 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. 

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.


Recipe Notes

2 reviews
Easy, delicious, and cooperative chocolate buttercream frosting that's sure to become a staple in your recipe collection.


Hi there, I'm Carolyn, and I'm delighted you're here. I'm a NYC-area food, travel, yoga, coffee, wine, running, music making and book obsessive with a great family and a love for sharing it all with you. Grab a drink and come on in. Learn more.