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Need best chocolate buttercream recipe

I need a decent chocolate buttercream/frosting recipe for a yellow cake i'm making for my husbands birthday. he prefers frosting out of a can and a box mix. prefer scratch. we compromised by agreeing to have homemade frosting, especially bc my son also prefers homemade. I like ganache but he finds it too intense. We also find that regular buttercream is gritty and too sugary.

Any ideas?

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  1. I really like the swiss meringue butter cream recipe from Cook's Illustrated. You beat egg whites and sugar over heat until peaks form and then beat in the butter.

    1. RLB's Egg White Chocolate Buttercream is incredible. I got the recipe from The Cake Bible, but this one looks the same

      1. I meant to say "i prefer scratch". i have flipped thru RLB's book which I love for some cake recipes. I was hoping no raw egg but the whites are tempered or I recall...

        1 Reply
        1. re: trolley

          If they're not, you could easily follow the recipe for her mousseline buttercream which has 248 degree syrup poured in (and the whites get quite warm) and then add the chocolate in. Alternatively, you could buy pre-pasteurized whites in a carton.

        2. at its most basic, chocolate buttercream can simply be cocoa, butter and sugar. i like adding cream cheese to this for an extra dimension. i don't follow a recipe and simply start with a small amount of confectioner's sugar and softened butter. whip. add in some cocoa and cream cheese. keep adding til you get the sweetness and consistency you like. a bit of salt, a splash of vanilla (or bourbon) and a bit of espresso powder will oomph this up a lot too.

          1. This recipe from billy's bakery uses melted semi sweet chocolate, really easy and has never been gritty. Also makes quite a bit.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Ttrockwood

              the link doesn't work! :( but I found it on Martha Stewarts site.

              Still making a decision....

            2. This frosting needs to be spread quickly but is my favorite.

              Chocolate Frosting
              Excellent on brownies

              1 ½ cup sugar
              1/3 cup butter
              1/3 cup milk
              1/3 cup cocoa

              1 teaspoon vanilla
              1 Tablespoon light corn syrup (Karo)

              Mix sugar, butter, milk, cocoa together well in a saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil. Boil 1 minute and remove from heat.

              Stir in vanilla and syrup.

              Set pan in cold water to cool, and beat until thick.

              Spread quickly on brownies or cake.

              1. I use this recipe from Alice Currah's site on my brownies (a 9" x 13" sized pan):


                I don't find it either gritty or sickeningly sweet.

                1. I like Hersey's Perfectly Chocolate Frosting. I tend to add a little salt to the recipe.

                  1. I add chocolate ganache to cooked flour frosting. It makes it nice and light.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: chowser

                      Tell me more about that. Do you add it after the flour frosting is made, or when the flour/milk/sugar mixture first goes into the mixer? It must be a very understated chocolate taste.

                      1. re: roxlet

                        After the frosting is made, I fold it in. It's a good chocolate taste, surprisingly. I don't measure but about a good cup sized dollop. Obviously much lighter than pure ganache but perfect for frosting.

                        1. re: chowser

                          great idea. well, birthday is long over and i went with a fudge frosting on smitten kitchen. it worked well and cake lasted for a day. i do like flour frosting so the addition of the ganache should be interesting. i too find ganache a bit overpowering at times. love the texture but it's intense. sometimes it overpowers the cake. sometimes that's a good thing if you're using a mix but this was a carefully crafted sponge cake from scratch.

                          1. re: chowser

                            I wonder how it would work to add melted chocolate to the flour frosting without adding the cream to make the ganache. If I'm not mistaken, I think that the cookbook called Baked has a recipe for chocolate cooked flour frosting. I'll have to check it out. Around here, the preferred combination is chocolate cake with vanilla icing, so I've never really experimented.

                            1. re: roxlet

                              I think buttertart opened the latest What Are You Baking thread by saying she was making a chocolate cooked flour frosting this way (tossing a few handfuls of chocolate chips into the flour/milk/sugar mixture). Maybe ask her how that turned out?

                              1. re: roxlet

                                I might try that next time. It would probably make a much more chocolately frosting. I love the plain cooked flour frosting with a dark chocolate cake.

                        2. This is not a buttercream and it won't spread, but if you need a pour-on chocolate frosting, as for a sheet cake, it is delicious---creates a layer of soft fudge. In a saucepan put 1 cup sugar, 1/3 cup milk, and 1/3 cup butter. Bring to a boil. Boil 1 minute by the clock. Remove from burner. Dump in 1 cup chocolate chips and stir until they are melted. Immediately pour over cake or brownies. It sets up as it cools.