Chocolate Whipped Buttercream Frosting

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  Chocolate Whipped Buttercream Frosting Follow Me on Pinterest

I’m not much of a frosting person. So many times frostings are heavy and overly sweet. Not this Chocolate Whipped Buttercream Frosting, though.  It’s super light and fluffy – like an ultralight chocolate mousse in frosting form. And since this frosting falls in the semisweet to bittersweet chocolate range, it isn’t too sweet either.

A couple notes about this frosting – don’t cut the whipping steps short. The frosting needs to be whipped on high for several minutes in order to have its ultralight texture. Also, a reader (thanks again!) left a comment saying that chilling the frosting helped it come together for her. So, please check out the comments below the recipe.

*Note – I had several comments saying that the frosting was separating. I changed the recipe to try to make it less fussy. If you’re looking for an easier buttercream recipe, check out my chocolate buttercream recipe instead.*

Chocolate Whipped Buttercream Frosting
  • 2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 c. cornstarch
  • 1 ½ c. milk
  • 1 ½ T. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ c. salted butter, at cool room temperature
  • 2 c. granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  1. In a small saucepan, whisk cocoa powder and corn starch together.
  2. Add milk, and whisk until combined
  3. Heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, and let it cool to room temperature.
  5. Stir in vanilla.
  6. While the mixture is cooling, cream the butter, sugar, and salt together until light and fluffy on medium high, about 5 minutes.
  7. Add the completely cooled milk mixture.
  8. Beat it for about 5 minutes on high until it looks like whipped cream. It may look separated at first, so keep beating it until it comes together and looks like a whipped cream.
  9. If it looks separated after about 7 minutes of whipping, cover, and chill for about 30 minutes. Then, continue whipping for about 5 minutes, or until it looks like whipped cream.

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    • says

      It’s not a stupid question! In my recipes, I use T. for tablespoon and tsp. for teaspoon. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask!

      • Rosalie Phillips says

        Oh thank you! I accidentally posted the question twice. Ok, I’m off to making your chocolate whipped buttercream frosting. Wish me luck! I’m making a cake for my husband’s birthday….oh wait…..he doesn’t eat cake…..oh well, I’ll eat it.😜 It’s the thought right?

      • Rosalie Phillips says

        You’re right! This recipe is so yummy! I did have trouble with the separating but not the sugar grittiness. I used Baker’s sugar. I will try it again when the weather is not so hot.

  1. Carita says

    OMG!! this recipe is AMAZING!!!
    For those who are speaking to not being able to get the ‘grittiness’ of the sugar out of the icing, you simply aren’t whipping it enough. I also used my paddle attachment (vs the whip) on my kitchen aid. (kate referred to ‘beat’ vs ‘whip’ in the recipe)

    I was skeptical how, even after beating the sugar and butter for 5 minutes, how the ‘grittiness’ would be gone. NOTE; the grittiness is still there when you pour in the cooled chocolate mixture. but… nearly as soon as i mixed the chocolate mixture in (upon a taste test) could see that grittiness was disappearing, but you REALLY have to beat the daylights out of it in the beginning, i think that’s the key.

    I had NO problem with seperating at all, the only thing I did was add about 3 tbsp’s of icing sugar in to sweeten it up a bit as it was pretty bitter and I was using this icing for s’more’s cupcakes (kids), and then whipped it another minute or so. I found adding the icing sugar gave it a bit more stiffness as well. (as for the bitterness, I likely added too much cocoa, which I think I did, it’s not the recipe)

    I’ve been seriously into baking for 15 years and this is now my standby icing. tomorrow I’m going to whip up a lemon version of this for pink lemonade cupcakes!!

    sorry for the novel, but had to share my comments. Thanks Kate for sharing…

    PS I don’t think anything but a stand mixer will work for this recipe.

    • says

      Thanks!! Thanks for the tip about the sugar, too. I hope that helps people who are having trouble with the separation and structure.

      I think you’re right; I don’t know that a hand mixer has enough power to whip the butter and sugar as much as this recipe needs.

      • Ellie Trout says

        Hi guys! I just wanted to let everyone know that a hand mixer DOES work. I made it a while ago and it turned out perfectly right.

        • says

          Thank you that! I have had a lot of comments on my original whipped buttercream saying that it doesn’t work with a hand mixer, so it’s good to hear from someone who had it turn out.

  2. Ashley says

    I used whipping cream instead of milk. By doing this I was able to eliminate the heating step. It was a great time saver and the frosting tasted great!

    • Hala says

      Hi Ashley, you followed the same steps but only substituted the whipping cream for the milk? if yes, how would that eliminate the heating step?
      do you mean you just mix the flour with the whipping cream without heating it?
      Thanks for taking the time to read my comment.

  3. Sara says

    Has anyone made this with powdered sugar? I used granulated like it says and the grains of sugar never really dissolved giving it an odd texture. It tasted good it was just a weird texture.

    • says

      I haven’t tried flour in this version, but my original whipped buttercream frosting uses flour. So, I think it would work in this recipe, too. Good luck! =)

  4. Emily says

    Gave the recipe a try today, didn’t have problems with it separating but it did liquify very quickly after removing from the kitchen aide. Didn’t stay nice and whipped but it still had a wonderful taste to it. What we didn’t use was stored away in the fridge, hopefully after a full night it will stay thick. I am thinking the problem was I kept it on the stove literally thirty seconds too long, didn’t burn but could tell it would be soon. *kid distracted me for a few seconds* Apparently that is all that it took to make the huge difference in the turn out. It took about twenty minutes or so for the cocoa to cool down to room temperature before I could begin to mix. A bit time consuming, maybe it’s the climate I live in who knows, but it is a wonderful recipe! If I can make it work I would definitely say the time is well worth it!

    • Emily says

      Oh and I have a TON of it left after frosting, generously, a 13X9 cake. I could probably frost 3-4 cakes with this recipe alone.

    • says

      I’m glad you like the flavor! The recipe is definitely temperamental. I’ve noticed differences in the consistency when I make it depending on how humid it is that day. I hope that chilling it helps! =)

  5. Erin says

    Can’t wait to try this!!! How many cupcakes will this frost? How long will it keep in the fridge?

    • says

      It will frost about 18-24 cupcakes depending on how generously you frost them. I haven’t kept it for longer than 2 days days in the fridge. It does start to separate the longer it sits, so I’m not sure that I’d try for much longer than 2 or 3 days. Hope you enjoy it! =)

  6. Emily says

    I’ve made this and the vanilla buttercream — I just wanted to comment that I do NOT have the separation issues that others have, and I follow the recipes exactly. I let the flour/milk mixture get pretty thick before removing it from the heat, and use a Kitchen Aid stand mixer with the wisk attachment on speed 8-10. My co-worker attempted this with a hand-mixer and said it didn’t turn out for her — maybe the almighty stand mixer is the trick?

    • says

      I’m so glad! Yes, I absolutely think that the extra power of a Kitchen Aid makes a difference. I know my hand mixer just doesn’t have that sort of oomph to it.

  7. Jamie says

    I had just found this recipe and will be trying it out this evening but I was wondering if there was a specific reason you stated “salted” butter? In my experience of homemade frosting it seemed to taste better with unsalted, so I just thought I’d ask. Perhaps I’ll just try it out both ways.
    I can’t wait to try it out because I’m not a huge fan of frosting either so I’m always on the hunt for a light, fluffy(not thick) frosting for my birthday cakes.

    Thank you for sharing.

    • says

      The reason that I specified salted butter is because I think it tastes a little flat with unsalted butter plus salt. That just may be my taste buds, though, because I usually prefer salted butter in my frostings and desserts (I know that’s practically baking heresy, but it just seems to taste better to me that way). If you usually prefer unsalted butter, feel free to use that with salt to taste.

  8. says

    I just found this on pinterest and am giving it a go for my son’s birthday. It whipped up nicely but has started to separate. I’m going to chill it over night and re-whip and frost in the morning and keep it cool- hopefully that will do the trick! It is delicious though!!

  9. MICHELLE says

    I am always intimidated by frosting and generally end up buying the store can frosting.

    Being Valentines day I decided to try something different and got it on my first go! It came together perfectly, the instructions were simple and easy to understand.
    Love this recipe so much, will make this over and over again. Cannot wait to try another recipe now that I know I can.

  10. Kim says

    I am not one to step outside my box when it comes to frosting, I generally use a can but I was feeling adventurous. I stumbled on this recipe while searching around Pinterest. I had no troubles whatsoever with it. My chocolate mixture was not liquid when I added it to the butter mixture, is that the point? there are little chunks of chocolate in the “whipped” cream and it tastes amazing!! I probably could have let the chocolate cool a bit longer but everything stayed together. I frosted my cupcakes and then popped them in the fridge.

    • says

      I’m glad to hear that it worked out for you! Yes, the chocolate mixture should be thick. I guess it’s sort of like chocolate pudding at that point. I’m glad to hear that you liked it! =)

  11. Paul K says

    I have been looking for a light, fluffy chocolate frosting for my daughter’s birthday cakes. I made a small batch of this for sampling, and it turned out great! I whipped the butter/sugar/salt mixture at a relatively high speed on my kitchen-aide mixture – I think that really helped to make it fluffy. I had no separation issues when mixing the chocolate and butter mixtures – again, I was kind of agressive with the speed at which I whipped them together, so I think that may have helped. After a taste test between this and another frosting I made, my girls picked this one for their bithday cakes….great recipe! Thanks for posting!

    • says

      I’m really glad that it worked out for you and that your girls liked it! I whip the mixture with my Kitchenaide on high, too. So, maybe the key to keeping it from separating is being able to beat it with something that has enough power. Thanks for taking the time to come back and let me know that you liked it! =)

    • says

      I’m sorry that the frosting didn’t work out for you! Did you try chilling the frosting? I’ve noticed that sometimes when the frosting gets warm that it wants to separate.

  12. Nicholle L. says

    I tried making your frosting, I am a pretty good baker, and had big problem with the way it turned out. The frosting never came together. I followed the directions to the T. The only way I can describe it is the cream turned into whipped cream and the chocolate stayed liquid. Any pointers?

    • says

      I’m sorry to hear that the frosting didn’t work out! I’ve heard from some readers that cooking the milk and flour mixture for longer helps with the separation issues. Also, I’ve heard that briefly chilling the frosting helps, too.

      This frosting is temperamental,and I’ve gotten a couple comments lately saying that people have had issues with the separation. So, I think I need to see if I can come up with a less fussy version of this recipe. Again, sorry that it didn’t work out!!

        • says

          There isn’t. Several people have said they have had separation issues with this frosting, so I’m working on a new version that will include either flour or cornstarch to help with that.

  13. Elizabeth says

    I just made the icing but with all the tips I still could not get the icing to not separate. It is pretty delicious but melted apart when I tried to use it. :(

      • Roxanne says

        Corn starch can sometimes be temperamental over time – for assorted reasons – while we should never reuse a tasting spoon or double dip with a tasting finger, truly NEVER do that with corn starch recipes — I was taught that amylase or other enzymes in saliva will break down the thickening action of cooked corn starch over time.

  14. Donna B says

    I made this recipe tonight and it was wonderfully flavorful but when I used it to frost some cupcakes, it melted. What did I do wrong?

    • says

      I’m sorry to hear that the frosting melted on you! I’ve heard from some readers that cooking the milk and flour mixture for longer helps with that. Also, briefly chilling the frosting may make it a little easier to work with. I hope that helps!

    • says

      It depends. I made it during the summer when my kitchen was hot (80+ degrees) and humid, and it didn’t do very well. If it’s kept at a cooler room temperature, it should be ok.

  15. Carrie says

    I made this frosting last night for a vanilla cake, and the end result was delicious! I did have a little trouble with the frosting being separated, so I thought I’d share what worked for me to save the frosting. I’m a pretty novice baker, so this might be common knowledge, but maybe it will help someone like me!! I used the whisk attachment, and I don’t think the 5 minutes were long enough to get my butter/sugar good & fluffy. I didn’t realize it at the time, so I added the milk mixture, but after 5 minutes it never came together like whipped cream. So I went another almost 5 minutes, and it still looked separated. At that point, I put the mixture in the fridge for 5 minutes, switched to the paddle attachment, and within a minute or two the frosting was fluffy like whipped cream. Whew!!!! Thanks for a yummy recipe! :)

    • says

      Thanks so much!! I’m glad to hear that you were able to make it come together. I know that other people have mentioned having trouble getting the frosting to come together, and it seems to be more of an issue this time of year (all of the heat and humidity seems to affect it). So, thanks for taking the time to let me know. I’ll make a note for people to check the comments if they’re having issues. Thanks again!!

    • says

      No, it’s not a misprint. I prefer to use salted butter because the small amount of salt in the butter helps to enhance the other flavors. I know that some people prefer to only use unsalted butter. You could certainly do so, but you would need to add about 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Otherwise, the frosting tastes a little flat.

    • kateheartseating says

      Thanks, Lisa!! I had a hard time keeping my kids from doing just that as I was trying to take the pictures! =)

    • kateheartseating says

      Thanks!! I’m glad to hear that there’s someone else who isn’t much of a frosting person! Everyone around here loves it, so sometimes I feel like I’m the only one! =)

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