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Super-Simple Chocolate Frosting

in quick and easy whole grain dairy free gluten free overnight guaranteed classic

Author: Susan Reid

Super-Simple Chocolate Frosting Recipe

A great chocolate frosting should taste intensely of chocolate, be easy to put together, spread smoothly over a tender cake without tearing it, and hold its shape when piped through a pastry bag. This frosting has all of those characteristics. We made it with both natural and Dutch-process cocoa, and the natural cocoa was the hands-down winner for flavor.

Our guarantee: This frosting will have deep chocolate flavor, hold its shape enough to be piped, and be simple to put together.

View step-by-step
directions on our blog

At a glance

4 1/2 cups, enough to frost 2 dozen cupcakes, or fill/frost an 8" or 9" layer cake
Nutrition information


Choose your measure:

  • 1 3/4 cups unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional, for enhanced chocolate flavor
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, very soft
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Sift or sieve the cocoa, 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar and espresso powder, if you're using it, into a bowl.
  2. Bring the cream to a simmer on the stove or in the microwave, and whisk into the cocoa mixture.
  3. At first the mixture will look grainy; continue whisking for a minute.
  4. You'll see the lumps disappear as the sugar dissolves and the cocoa hydrates. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  5. Place the butter, salt, and 2 cups sifted or sieved confectioners' sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  6. Beat until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla.
  7. With the mixer running on low speed, add the cocoa mixture a spoonful at a time until it's all incorporated. Scrape the bowl, then beat at medium speed for one minute more. Use to frost cake as needed.
  8. Yield: 4 1/2 cups, enough to frost 2 dozen cupcakes, or fill/frost an 8" or 9" layer cake.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size 1/30 recipe (35g)
  • Servings Per Batch about 30
Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories 160
  • Calories from Fat 90
  • Total Fat 10g
  • Saturated Fat 6g
  • Trans Fat 0g
  • Cholesterol 25mg
  • Sodium 15mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 17g
  • Dietary Fiber 1g
  • Sugars 14g
  • Protein 1g

* The nutrition information provided for this recipe is determined by the ESHA Genesis R&D software program. Substituting any ingredients may change the posted nutrition information.