Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

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This chocolate cream cheese frosting is smooth, rich, creamy, and oh-so-chocolatey. It's important to have a trusted chocolate frosting recipe to top all of your cakes, cupcakes, and cookie cups, and this one is perfect.
A close-up shot of chocolate cream cheese frosting.
A bowl of chocolate cream cheese frosting surrounded by cupcakes and a piping bag.

Why this recipe works

It’s important to have a trusted chocolate frosting recipe to top all of your cakes, cupcakes, and cookie cups, and this one is perfect. This chocolate cream cheese frosting is creamy and rich, yet fluffy, with an almost whipped consistency. It’s chocolate-y and decadent, but not in an overwhelming way. With just six simple ingredients, this chocolate cream cheese icing is super easy to make and is a great complement to any dessert.

Ingredients

Ingredient Notes

  • Unsweetened cocoa powder – I like to use unsweetened cocoa powder in this recipe because the powdered sugar and cream cheese add plenty of sweetness on their own. If your cocoa powder is on the clumpy side, you can sift your cocoa powder to avoid any clumps.
  • Unsalted butter – I tend to use unsalted butter in my recipes so that I can control my salt levels. If you only have salted butter on hand, just leave out the salt. Just be sure to soften your butter (and cream cheese) to ensure that your frosting is as smooth and creamy as possible. If it’s cold and hard, you’ll have lumpy frosting.
  • Milk – You can use any milk for this recipe. I usually use whole milk so that my frosting is thick and creamy, but you can use whatever you have on hand, even almond milk.
  • Cream cheese – For best results, use full-fat blocked cream cheese rather than the spread from a plastic container. Using the full-fat block version will make for a thicker frosting that won’t run as compared to the spreadable cream cheese.

Step-by-Step instructions

  1. Place the softened cream cheese and unsalted butter together in a large mixing bowl. 
  2. With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter for 2-3 minutes until smooth and no lumps can be seen.
  3. Add the vanilla extract and salt.
  4. Mix until combined. Be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as you go so that no ingredients are left behind.
Steps 1-4 for making chocolate cream cheese frosting.
  1. Add the unsweetened cocoa powder and half of the powdered sugar to the bowl. If either the cocoa powder or powdered sugar are lumpy, consider sifting them before adding to the bowl. This will keep your frosting smooth.
  2. Using the electric mixer, mix on low until combined and then increase the speed to high and beat for 1 minute. This will ensure you don’t have a mess on your hands.
  3. Add the remaining powdered sugar. Mix on low until just combined.
  4. Add in the milk.
  5. Mix on the low setting until just combined, then increase speed and mix for two minutes until the frosting is smooth and you have achieved your desired consistency. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as necessary. 
  6. Frost your cake or cupcakes immediately, or place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Steps 5-10 for making chocolate cream cheese frosting.

Expert Tips

  • Leaving the butter and cream cheese out to soften for a half hour or so will go a long way into ensuring that your chocolate cream cheese frosting is smooth and without lumps. If either of these ingredients are cold, you will likely have lumps in your frosting.
  • If you see any clumps in your powdered sugar or unsweetened cocoa powder, it may be a good idea to sift them through a fine mesh sieve. This will help you get the smoothest chocolate frosting possible.
  • You may want to add an additional ¼ cup of powdered sugar depending on what type of piping you are doing. I like my frosting a bit looser for icing a cake and for some cupcake piping, which this recipe is perfect for. If going for a stiffer piping design, I’ll add an additional ¼ cup of powdered sugar until the frosting is stiff.
  • If you are piping your frosting and want to make sure it’s stiff and not runny, you can refrigerate your chocolate cream cheese in the piping bag for thirty minutes prior to piping.
A close-up shot of chocolate cream cheese frosting.

Recipe FAQs

How many cupcakes will this frosting cover?

This recipe is enough to generously frost 18 cupcakes with a 1M star tip. If you are using a knife with a spatula, you can frost more cupcakes with this recipe. If using this chocolate cream cheese frosting for cake, this recipe will cover a 9×13 sheet pan or 2-layer cake. If going for a bigger cake, it’s best to double the recipe.

How long will this frosting last?

You can cover and store leftover frosting in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer. If you want to use it after freezing, thaw in the refrigerator and then beat with an electric mixture for a minute until once again creamy.

Does chocolate cream cheese frosting need to be frigerated?

This frosting can stay out for up to two hours at room temperature, but should be stored in the refrigerator after that as it can spoil.

Chocolate cream cheese frosting being piped onto a chocolate cupcake.

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love to know! Please rate it and leave a comment below. You can also share your pictures and tag @adashofmegnut on Instagram.

A close-up shot of chocolate cream cheese frosting.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

This chocolate cream cheese frosting is smooth, rich, creamy, and oh-so-chocolatey. It's important to have a trusted chocolate frosting recipe to top all of your cakes, cupcakes, and cookie cups, and this one is perfect.
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 18
Calories: 174kcal
Author: Megan

Ingredients

  • 8 oz ​cream cheese (softened)
  • 4 oz unsalted butter (softened)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk

Instructions

  • Add the softened cream cheese and butter to a large mixing bowl.
  • With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter for 2-3 minutes, until smooth.
  • Add the vanilla extract and salt.
  • Mix until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Add the unsweetened cocoa powder and half of the powdered sugar to the bowl.
  • Mix on low until combined, and then increase the speed to high and beat for 1 minute.
  • Add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until combined.
  • Add the milk.
  • Mix on low for 1 minute until incorporated and then increase the speed and beat for 2 minutes, until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as necessary.
  • Frost your cake or cupcakes immediately or place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Notes

  • You may want to add an additional ¼ cup of powdered sugar depending on what type of piping you are doing. I like my frosting a bit looser for icing a cake and some cupcake piping, which this recipe is perfect for. If I’m looking for a stiffer piping design, I’ll add an additional ¼ cup of powdered sugar until the frosting is stiff.
  • This recipe is enough to generously frost 18 cupcakes with a 1M star tip. If you are using a knife with a spatula, you can frost more cupcakes with this recipe.
  • Sift your cocoa powder and powdered sugar to get the smoothest frosting possible.
  • Don’t forget to leave your butter and cream cheese out to soften to ensure you don’t have lumpy frosting.
  • If you are piping your frosting and want to make sure it’s stiff and not runny, you can refrigerate your chocolate cream cheese in the piping bag for thirty minutes prior to piping.

Nutrition

Calories: 174kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 75mg | Potassium: 59mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 329IU | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this Recipe? Tag me Today!Mention @ADashofMegnut or tag #adashofmegnut!

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