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 84 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

You may also want to try my White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting recipe as well.


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  1. 286

    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!!!

  2. 293

    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! 😛

  3. 294

    Victoria says

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

    • 297

      maegan says

      Given that this isn’t actually baked, using one over the other won’t effect the outcome in terms of texture and whatnot, but I would suggest using salted butter as it will help the chocolate taste pop without being overly sweet.

  4. 298

    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. 300


    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. 303

    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. 304

    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. 305

    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!

    • 306

      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…

    • 307

      Karishma says

      Hey! I’m so glad to read this recipe worked for you three times as per your last post. I was wondering if you could help me with a few questions as I’m very keen on baking this cake for my bf’s birthday.
      1. Did you use salted or unsalted butter?
      2. Did you frost a frozen cake or just a naturally-cooled one?
      3. Is the frosting extremely sweet or does it work well with the dark chocolate cake?

      Thanks a bunch in advance. Hope you’re doing well :-)

  9. 308

    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. 309

    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. 311

    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?

    • 312


      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. 315

    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. 316

    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. 320

    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.

  15. 329

    Michelle says

    Hi there, I was just wondering if the espresso powder makes the icing taste like coffee? It is such a small amount that I do not think it would, but I really do not like espresso/coffee flavor. I like following recipes to a “T” the first time I use them…but don’t really have time to experiment. Thanks in advance!

    • 330


      Hi Michelle,
      It really enhances the chocolate flavor and I can’t detect a coffee flavor. Of course, if you are very sensitive to it, you could omit it. Either way – I think you’ll enjoy the buttercream! xo

  16. 331


    Omg so tasty!! just made it for my birthday cake which i am taking to swimming tonight for all my buddies, I am sure they will all love it so much!!!!!!!! So tasty 😀 perfect recipe, loads of icing though ahahahhah

  17. 332

    Sarah says

    Love this recipe! Also, your cake stand is amazing – would love to know where you bought it! Thanks!!

  18. 334

    Jess says

    This is delicious even when I made with expired baking powder! Second time around it rose fantastically. I used coconut oil instead and am going to make into cake balls. So far yummy!

  19. 336

    Mel says

    I’m looking for a chocolate cake and chocolate butter-cream recipe for my nephews construction cake in just over a week. There are a few out there with good reviews. In your The best chocolate cake ever recipe you have 2 cups of sugar, I’m from Australia and I’m just wondering what sugar your referring too – caster sugar, brown sugar. And with your Chocolate butter-cream recipe why do you use that much icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar). I have a great vanilla butter cream that uses 250 grams of butter with only 2 cups of pure icing sugar. Thanks.

  20. 337

    Jessica says

    I used the exact ingredients listed and followed the instructions step by step exactly how it says and it turned out runny even after adding an additional cup of sugar.. I don’t know what happened and why it’s not how it’s supposed to be :(

    • 338

      Morgan says

      I think the batter is suppose to be like that. When I made this my batter was very runny and I followed the recipe exactly, I was a bit worried it wasn’t right, but when I baked it it turned out perfect.

  21. 339

    Claudia Mcleod says

    I saw your recipe and i read some comments and one lady said she doesn’t want to put the expresso powder and she said do i still have to put boiling water. In the recipe it doesn’t say anything about boiling water. I want to make sure because i want to make some for a kids t-ball team.

    • 340


      Hi Claudia,
      She was referring to the chocolate cake recipe which includes the boiling water. The frosting does not. I hope they love it!

  22. 342

    Paula says

    Hi Robyn- Glad I found your site. I will be trying your white cake recipe soon, as it looks and sounds divine! My question today is about Espresso. I bought a box of dark chocolate covered espresso beans and am looking for a tasteful way to incorporate them into my chocolate buttercream. As I don’t have espresso powder, I was thinking of grinding them and adding to the frosting which will be between the layers. Do you think that will be successful with taste/texture? Thank you.

  23. 343

    CycleAZLindyB says

    Made a good frosting. One could easily cut this recipe in half and it would still frost a double layer cake. I am pretty heavy handed with my frosting and still had a ton left over.

  24. 344

    Anna Green says

    Made this chocky cake for my husbands birthday on the weekend. It was absolutely delicious!!! Have already had to pass the recipe on. The buttercream icing was to die for. This is my new go to recipe. Thanks heaps :)

  25. 348

    clea says

    I just made your buttercream frosting… Wow! You’re right- it’s perfect! Thanks for the great recipe.

  26. 350

    Rei says

    I would like to use this with your best white cake ever recipe. Does this make enough to frost the 3 layer cake? Or should I increase the amounts…?

    For reference, previously I used your fluffy white butter cream recipe and doubled that to frost the 3-layer white cake per your suggestion in the white cake post… yes, I’m a fan of frosting. lol Would I need to double this recipe too to end up with a similar amount or does this yield more than the white butter cream recipe?

  27. 351

    Maria says

    Hi! I would love to try this chocolate frosting. Could it be made a day in advance, and if so what are your storing recommendations? Thanks in advance, looks delicious!

  28. 352

    Brandy says

    This recipe for the cake and icing is for a 2 layer cake. I would love to make them but as a 3 later cake. How should I modify the cake and frosting recipes to accommodate this? THANKS!!!

  29. 354

    TR says

    Thanks for sharing this recipe and the chocolate cake recipe. It’s very good. Can you freeze any leftover frosting?

  30. 355

    Miguel says

    Thanks for this recipe.. The cake came out wonderful, but the icing came out too sweet.. And when I taste the frosting i can feel the sugar powder.. Any way to correct this? Its my first time.. Thank you!

  31. 356

    Emma says

    I made this cake for the 1st and 3rd tier of my wedding cake. Without question it was fantastic! Could not recommend it highly enough. The cake freezes really well due to the high oil content without compromising on taste or texture at all. I froze the cakes slightly warm so it held in the moisture better. It’s quite dense so held up to the weight of fondant and piping well. I’ve also make it for nieces 1st birthday ladybird cakes (baked in a mixing bowl lol) and just changed the espresso powder to decaf instant coffee for the parents sanity. I always use salted butter for the frosting, pretty sure I don’t follow the proportions listed though as I find the volume too much and the amount of sugar a bit high, but I just prefer it less sweet. Happy baking!

  32. 357

    Amatullah R Smith says

    I turned these into cupcakes by simply baking them for 16 minutes at the same temperature as the recipe says. They were the moistest, richest cupcakes I’ve ever had. As for the buttercream frosting, I used half of a stick less butter than suggested, and whipped it. It was perfectly delicious! Thanks for the recipe!

  33. 358


    I called 7 local grocery stores and could not find espresso powder. I finally called my local coffee shop. They ground a bag of fresh espresso beans to fine powder for just the cost of the bag of espresso beans. 12.00


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