This chocolate cream cheese frosting is silky smooth and decadent with a slight tang! It’s the perfect topping for cupcakes, layer cakes, and more.
Why you’ll love this recipe:
While you can’t go wrong with classic cream cheese frosting, this chocolate version is absolutely dreamy!
Chocolate cream cheese frosting transforms any cupcake flavor into a rich, decadent, and irresistible treat.
- Texture – It’s light, fluffy, and silky smooth. No lumps here.
- Flavor – Not overly sweet with a rich chocolate flavor!
- Consistency – Sturdy and thick enough to pipe.
Tangy cream cheese and bittersweet chocolate are perfectly balanced and create the creamiest, decadent cream cheese icing.
Key Ingredient Notes:
- Cream cheese – For the best results, use full-fat, brick style cream cheese! The higher fat content gives it a creamier texture and taste.
- Unsalted butter – Butter gives the frosting stability and prevents it from tasting too tangy! I always use unsalted butter in frosting so it doesn’t taste salty.
- Powdered sugar – For that silky smooth texture. I only use two cups of powdered sugar, which gives it a silky consistency without it being too sweet!
- Cocoa powder – Both natural or Dutch processed cocoa powder work great. Dutch processed gives you a dark color and intense chocolate flavor.
- Kosher salt – A little bit of salt enhances sweetness!
How to make this recipe:
- Put the butter and cream cheese in a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment.
- Beat them on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
- Add powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt and beat on low speed for a minute. If you turn it on high, the powdered sugar will poof outside of the bowl and make a mess.
- Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Make sure the butter and cream cheese are room temperature! This is crucial for a silky smooth texture with no lumps.
Tips for Success:
- Use full-fat, brick-style cream cheese. Reduced fat varieties have a higher water content which creates a looser frosting!
- Make sure the butter and cream cheese are room temperature! Cold butter won’t mix smoothly with the cream cheese. You’ll end up with little bits of butter in your icing.
- The butter should be room temperature but firm. It shouldn’t be melting or too soft. If the butter is too warm or slightly melted, the frosting won’t thicken properly.
- Avoid over-beating the frosting. Beating it too long can melt the sugar, resulting in a runny or loose frosting.
Chocolate cream cheese icing is easy to make ahead!
- You can make it up to three days ahead of time. Keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Let it sit on the counter for at least 30 minutes, then re-whip before using it.
- It’s freezer-friendly too! Freeze it up to 3 months ahead of time! Thaw it overnight in the fridge, then bring it to room temperature and re-whip before using.
- Store the frosting in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days!
- Cream cheese frosting doesn’t last as long as traditional buttercream because of the cream cheese.
Yes, since cream cheese is perishable, a cake with cream cheese icing must be refrigerated. Cake is best enjoyed at room temperature so pull the cake out an hour before you plan to serve it.
Yes, both the cream cheese and butter harden when cold, so the frosting stiffens in the fridge. Simply let it sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, then re-whip before using it.
No, cream cheese can sit out for up to two hours. After that it should be refrigerated so it doesn’t spoil or grow unsafe bacteria. It should only take 20 minutes or so for cream cheese to come to room temperature.
Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 ounces (225g) full-fat cream cheese at room temperature
- ¼ cup (55g) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 cups (260g) powdered sugar
- ½ cup (60g) unsweetened cocoa powder natural or Dutch processed
- ⅛ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- In a mixing bowl with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 1 minute.
- Add powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt and beat on low speed for a minute. Then increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Tips & Notes:
– Keep cream cheese frosting in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. Re-whip before using. To thaw frozen frosting, transfer to the fridge and thaw it overnight.
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