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 37 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


  1. 74

    Andrea says

    Hello Robyn, will this frosting work good with fondant?
    How many cupcakes I can cover with it?
    Thank you for your post!

    • 75

      Miserableme says

      We don’t use regular milk in our house. Can I substitute the milk with almond milk? Will it taste just as great?

    • 76

      Brooks says

      It should work just fine with almond milk, though what I’ve been using recently for my allergic-to-dairy partner is coconut milk (and margarine). It’s very tasty that way, and I think the coconut milk may be even better than regular milk for this.

    • 81

      Brooks says

      Reasonably well, though I think the trick is to make sure the butter starts out fairly warm, and add enough powdered sugar for the frosting to be the thickness you want. If it’s a really hot day, I might let it sit for a bit to get to the temperature you expect to be serving it at, and then add more sugar if it’s too soft.

      (Mine did end up getting pretty soft in the heat today, but it didn’t run.)

  2. 82

    deea says

    Hi Robyn! I made a slight adjustment to your recipe by adding fresh orange juice and zest instead of espresso powder, just for a different flavour. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  3. 83

    Andrea says

    I can not believe how good this cake is. OH MY!!!! Robyn, I adore you. My sister loves chocolate and coffee. So this was a great surprise for her on her birthday. Thank you so much for helping me to put a smile on so many faces. You can have all the stars you want. You’re the best!:-)

  4. 84

    Katherine says

    This is some of the best icing I’ve ever had! My husband said the same. He ate three spoonfuls then licked the mixer beater clean until his tongue was numb. It is so good! I used it to cover a two-layer 8-inch cake and have a good bit leftover, so we’ll snack on that too! Thank you so much for this amazing recipe!

  5. 85

    StephanieDay says

    I saw some people had posted about this being too runny. I followed the directions exactly with the exception of a little less espresso powder, using 1 1/2 sticks of softened organic butter. It was absolutely amazing!! Perfect consistency. I did put the cake in the fridge until we were ready to eat it, just in case the frosting melted. After it sat at room temp for about 15 mins, the frosting was once again creamy & perfect.

  6. 87

    Diana says

    I’ve been craving a rich chocolate cake for three days now, and I’m so happy I came across this page. This cake ticked all the right boxes. My husband promised to take me out today to have cake together, but when he comes home he will change his mind when he tries this!! Five stars!!!

  7. 90

    Linda says

    I don’t use coffee. What would be a good substitute and still maintain the integrity of your recipe for both the cake and frosting? Thanks!

    • 91

      Brooks says

      It’s perfectly fine just to leave it out; you’ll get a plain chocolate frosting rather than a chocolate/coffee one.

  8. 94

    QT says

    Made this to frost a 3 layer chocolate cake. Excellent and just enough frosting, maybe a few spoonfuls left over. I thought the coffee flavor was perfect with the sweetness of the frosting. Definitely keeping this one.

  9. 95

    Teena says

    Since I found this recipe my family requests it for every birthday. I don’t like chocolate cakes at all but this cake has made me a chocolate lover. The cake is moist and the frosting is amazing. My children often sneak spoonfuls of the icing. I have to warn them I won’t have enough for the cake. My son says, “don’t worry mommy, you can make more.” Thank you for this wonderful recipe.

  10. 96

    A.N.D. says

    This recipe was great! I made it for my 12 year old daughters’ birthday party, and it turned out awesome. It doesn’t taste too much like coffee, so good for anyone who loves chocolate. We made 2/3 the icing recipe, and it was the perfect amount for 2 9-inch layer cake. Might have to do a little math to figure out the 2/3, not too hard though. The icing is AMAZING!

  11. 98

    putri says

    hei robyn! i plan to change the butter cream frosting with chocolate ganache. may i know, how much of chocolate ganache i need to cover one cake? thank you :)

  12. 99

    Molly says

    Great frosting–I may just have more of a “chocolate tooth”. Seemed like it could use more cocoa, or melted bittersweet chocolate. Other than that, very well balanced with butter & sweetness! Thanks for the recipe!

  13. 100

    Sarah P says

    The white cake recipe worked out perfectly…. So glad I chose it!!! Will this frosting taste better cold or room temp?

  14. 102

    Jim Spencer says

    First time making a cake from scratch. Chickens never could understand why I always stole their “scratch!”

    Great results. Took a few pieces around to a few elderly folks and they screamed for more! Thanks for aspecial recipe and easy to put together


  15. 103

    Christi says

    This was very very good! It made a ton (unless I did something wrong)! Enough for 2 cakes–and I put it on thick! But what a great recipe!

  16. 106

    Samantha says

    The frosting was slightly runny, and also a little lighter in color. I just adjusted the amount of sugar to my preference. By any means, it still tasted great.

  17. 108

    Lisa says

    Thank you all the way from Down Under in Melbourne, Australia, for this scrumptious recipe. I googled for a quick chocolate frosting and I’m so glad I discovered this recipe. I needed to ice a cake before my daughter came home from school, it’s her 9th birthday today. I admit I halved the recipe, omitted the coffee (for the kids) and added extra cocoa to compensate and this recipe came out devine. I still had leftovers as I only made a small sponge cake (raspberry jam & real cream filling) for after tonights dinner for a family of 5.

    I love it when people share great recipes. A very sincere “Thank you”.

  18. 109

    Faith says

    OMG!!! This is delicious! I made it as is, except I did not have espresso powder. I did have a liquid coffee concentrate (cold brew) so I added some of that instead. WOW!!! This is a keeper!

  19. 110

    Chris says

    Just made these as cupcakes, and wow! Delectable! Did not have espresso powder, used one cup of strong coffee (boiled in microwave for a minute) instead of that and the water. Left it out of the icing, still really good. 16 minutes as stated in another comment, was perfect. Thanks for the awesome recipe!

  20. 112

    Stephanie says

    I made this to with the chocolate cake for my mom’s birthday. It was a hit. There was so much frosting leftover, too. I fear I may be eating by the spoonful. From now on, this is my go-to chocolate buttercream. The only modification I made was that I used dark cocoa powder, as I did with the cake. Decadent but simple, foolproof really!

  21. 114

    Josephine La Fontaine says

    Like the masses commenting before me this recipe is AMAZEBALLS!!!
    It’s my go to recipe particularly when I need to prepare a cake a couple
    of days before eating. Just wondering if I can prepare the cake frosted a couple of days in advance?
    Would I put this in the fridge?

  22. 116

    Carey says

    Awesome cake! My family loves it. Had friends over and made it for them, they want me to make it for them for a party coming up.

    • 118

      Michelle Ceelen says

      This was the moistest cake I have ever had. This is an outstanding recipe. Frosting is yummy!! Thank you!! :)

  23. 119

    Victoria says

    Hi!!! Gonna try out this recipe sometime this week and I just wanted to know if you used salted or unsalted butter?

    • 120


      You can use either. I generally tend to use salted butter just because that’s what I prefer, but unsalted will work just fine.

    • 123


      You can omit the espresso powder if you prefer. Others have commented that they’ve used finely ground coffee beans in place of the espresso powder with good result.

  24. 124

    C-Russ says

    Oh goodness, this icing is good! (To the point where I’ve broken my rule of never posting comments to say that!). Thanks!

  25. 126

    Mizzy Amanda says

    Thanks so much! I made this for my brother’s birthday, he said that the mocha flavor was”magnificent”. I really liked the way it turned out, too.

  26. 127

    Yami says

    Perfect is a word that, in my opinion, is overused in describing recipes. In this case, it’s an understatement, This recipe is indeed PERFECT for generously frosting a 9 inch layer cake, and what can I say abut the flavor?! It is delicious and not heavy as other frostings I’ve made in the past. Thank you for sharing this PERFECT recipe.

  27. 128

    Janice says

    Would love to make this icing but unsure of how the measurements work out in uk measurements can you please convert to llbs and ounce thankyou

  28. 129

    alexandra says

    i want to make this frosting for 12 cupcakes, is it possible? do you have the measurements for 12 cupcakes (i’ve made your this frosting a few times before for the cake and i know its alot of frosting for just 12 cupcakes. what do u suggest i do? i think even half will be alot

    • 132


      Hi Joie,
      Not a rookie question at all! I most often use salted butter, but I know that a lot of professionals recommend using unsalted so that you can control the amount of salt added.

  29. 133

    TJ is Miranda says

    OMG! I will never use store bought frosting again. This recipe is great and simple. It turned out perfect. My husband is a happy camper.


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