This chocolate buttercream frosting is rich and creamy. Cocoa powder along with a little coffee give plenty of dark chocolate oomph to this frosting. The frosting is the perfect consistency to pipe onto cupcakes or decorate a cake.
Top my gluten and dairy-free cupcakes with this frosting including my gluten-free dairy-free vanilla cupcakes, gluten-free coconut cake or my gluten-free strawberry cupcakes. This frosting would also be an amazing topping on my gluten-free chocolate orange loaf cake.
This is BUTTERcream and I definitely prefer the taste of butter. If you avoid dairy I recommend trying my vegan chocolate frosting instead of using a butter substitute in this recipe. I find that the vegan butter makes the frosting too runny and I don’t like the texture of shortening (even the organic ones).
Unsweetened cocoa powder is an excellent punch of pure chocolate. Hershey’s is a widely available gluten-free cocoa powder if you need it. Ghirardelli’s cocoa powder has a wheat warning on the packaging.
The addition of a tad of instant coffee granules or espresso powder is a great flavor enhancer for chocolate. Although this is a chocolate frosting recipe, I include vanilla (extract, bean paste, powder) because vanilla is another excellent flavor enhancer and gives a velvety flavor to the frosting.
I prefer my chocolate buttercream more on the bittersweet side so I use 3 c of powdered sugar. Feel free to add another 1/4cup if you like it closer to semi-sweet.
This frosting holds up very well to piping it onto cupcakes or for decorating cakes. If you want a creamier, more spreadable consistency, add more milk (dairy-free is fine) a couple of teaspoons at a time. It is surprising how just a little liquid goes a long way.
Be sure to check out my full list of frosting recipes including my vegan chocolate cream cheese frosting, vanilla buttercream frosting, pipeable cream cheese frosting and pink strawberry buttercream.
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting For Cupcakes
- 2-3 Tbsp milk or non-dairy substitute
- ½ tsp instant coffee granules OR ½ tsp espresso powder (optional)
- 2 sticks (8 oz.) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- ½ c unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsps vanilla powder or vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- For a pipeable, more stiff chocolate frosting use 2 Tbsps milk. For a more spreadable frosting, use 3 Tbsps milk.
- If using instant coffee granules, warm the milk in the microwave for 10 seconds. Stir in the instant coffee granules and set aside.
- Beat the butter with a stand or hand mixer for 1 minute.
- Add the cocoa powder and half of the sugar and beat on low until most of it is combined. Add the remaining sugar and cocoa powder and beat on low until most of the sugar is incorporated.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla, salt and milk/coffee mixture and beat on high for 1 minute.
- Use this frosting with your favorite cake recipe or cupcake recipe.
- This frosting can stay unrefrigerated for at least 3-4 days. Store unused potion in the fridge.
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