Perfect Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe

The Perfect Chocolate Buttercream Frosting recipe is essential when it comes to birthday cakes and other celebrations around my house.

Perfect Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe | ©

It compliments so many delicious cakes and cupcakes, but my favorite is when it paired with my favorite chocolate cake recipe, chocolate cupcakes or even my white cake recipe. But seriously, it is pretty delicious on anything it touches. Like a spoon works just fine, too! Ha!

Thankfully, this chocolate buttercream frosting recipe comes together quickly and makes plenty of buttercream frosting to frost a three layer cake or three dozen cupcakes beautifully.

Perfect Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe | ©

Here’s my Perfect Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe. I can’t wait to hear how you love it.

4.8 from 77 reviews
Perfect Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe
Prep time
Total time
Perfect Chocolate Buttercream Frosting is an essential when it comes to birthday cakes and other celebrations. Get this family favorite, perfect chocolate buttercream frosting recipe.
  • 1½ cups butter (3 sticks), softened
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 5 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon espresso powder
  1. Add cocoa to a large bowl or bowl of stand mixer. Whisk through to remove any lumps.
  2. Cream together butter and cocoa powder until well-combined.
  3. Add sugar and milk to cocoa mixture by adding 1 cup of sugar followed by about a tablespoon of milk. After each addition has been combined, turn mixer onto a high speed for about a minute. Repeat until all sugar and milk have been added.
  4. Add vanilla extract and espresso powder and combine well.
  5. If frosting appears too dry, add more milk, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency. If it appears to wet and does not hold its form, add more confectioner’s sugar, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency.

Robyn xo


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  1. 284

    Phoebe says

    Do you have to use the espresso powder? Or where can you find the espresso powder? Not a pro cake baker just trying to start a new tradition of baking my kids b-day cakes. Thanks!!!

    • 286

      janie says

      You can substitute 1 tablespoon instant coffee for the espresso powder. I dissolved the coffee in a shot glass and about a tbsp of water. It makes the icing have an excellent decadent flavor. Wow! It is amazing!!!!

  2. 289

    Mariam says

    thats funny! My daughters b-day was also 17th of march! I’m looking to make this cake for her party this saturday, but cover with fondant cause she wants a spiderman cake! :P

  3. 290

    Victoria says

    I’m gonna try the frosting tonight for my son’s birthday cake tomorrow…..he loves chocolate …..frosting looks yummy…

  4. 293

    Sarah says

    Excellent and simple cake. My husband said as much when we served it, studded with Hershey bars for the 6 year old’s burthday. Yum!

  5. 295


    I live in Australia and may have to look for the espresso powder. If I can’t find it, can I use instant coffee granules instead?

  6. 298

    Melissa says

    Hi there,

    My daughter’s 3rd birthday is coming up and I would love to make this for her. Do you have an easy icing I could use to pipe “Happy Birthday” in pink on this cake? I also wondered, how would you suggest making this a small cake as I wanted to do cupcakes as well…would you do a 9 inch and then just use a knife to cut it into a 5 inch? Is there anyway to do this without creating a disaster if the cake doesn’t cut well..maybe cut it semi frozen? Any suggestions would be so appreciated! I am not a baker, but I try very hard for my daughter to pull these things off…so your help is very welcomed! Thanks a bunch!

  7. 299

    Christine says

    Just made this icing to put on my son’s 6th birthday cake. I omitted the espresso, and added a splash of orange extract. I also added some salt to cut the sweetness a bit. It is delish!! I gotta pin this for next time.

  8. 300

    Malika says

    This a the 3rd time making this cake and my son’s birthday party had a brilliant finish yesterday! Thank you and there is a reason why it is my 3rd time using your recipe ;) I did omit the coffee powder as it can be strong for some people. We know I will be using your recipe over and over! I used the cake and frosting together. Voilà!

    • 301

      Malika says

      And I wanted to add, it’s such an easy one! I don’t understand US measurement so I just used a tea cup/mug. Just love the fact you put everything together and mix. Not many steps to follow and could get wrong…

  9. 302

    Janx says

    I used only 3 cups of confectioner’s sugar, and about twice the amount of cocoa. Made enough icing for a two-layered cake, and had a great rich chocolate taste. Instead of the espresso I added about 3 teaspoons of Kahlua. Came out great.

  10. 303

    Isabelle says

    So I’m planning to make this for my easter cake. (I’m 14) But we will have a bunch of kids eating it too, and trust me espresso will make them go crazy. Can I just not use it?

  11. 305

    Kara says

    Hi Robyn :)
    I am wanting to layer my wedding cake with one layer white cake and one layer chocolate and have found these wonderful best cake ever recipes that I’d love to use! I am wondering if there is a way to get the chocolate frosting to taste the same and yet be white so both layers will match…any ideas? Would a white cocoa work taste wise?

    • 306


      Hi Kara,
      What a great idea for your wedding cake! I know it will be gorgeous and delicious! White cocoa powder should work well. I would recommend having a test run with just the icing to taste and then again with the cakes to make sure it is exactly what you are hoping it will be for your big day! Best wishes! xo

  12. 308

    Erin says

    I just made this for my daughter’s 10th birthday tomorrow and after frosting the cake I can’t stop licking the bowl! Great chocolate buttercream recipe, thank you!

  13. 309

    Zam says

    Hi. Can I use this under fondant? Also pls advise if Instead of butter, can i use half butter and half shortening?

  14. 313

    Eric says

    I found the results a tad bland (using unsalted butter). I added 1 dash salt and the flavor popped out a lot more. Not salty tasting at all either.


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