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Perfect Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Chocolate cream cheese frosting is smooth, creamy, and so chocolaty! It’s a perfect icing for just about any flavor cupcake or cake!

Plus, it’s a super easy to make frosting with only four ingredients!

Chocolate cream cheese frosting being piped onto a chocolate cupcake
I don’t like to play favorites with my recipes. I love my vanilla frosting and so many of the other frostings that I make.

However, I will openly admit that my favorite frosting is chocolate cream cheese frosting. It is sweet, a little tangy, very chocolaty, and perfectly pipe-able.

How to Make Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Chocolate cream cheese frosting on a beater

Chocolate cream cheese frosting has just four ingredients: cream cheese, butter, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar.

Before starting, it is extremely important that all of your ingredients are at room temperature. If your cream cheese is still cold, it won’t mix into the rest of the ingredients well and your frosting will contain clumps rather than being smooth.

The first step is to mix together the cream cheese and the butter with an electric mixer until light and airy.

Mixing butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer

Next, mix in the powdered sugar. Be sure to start the mixer on low speed so that the powdered sugar doesn’t go flying across the room!

Adding powdered sugar to cream cheese frosting

Finally, mix in the cocoa powder.

Adding cocoa powder to chocolate cream cheese frosting

The cocoa powder that you choose makes a tremendous difference in the taste and look of this frosting. Appearance-wise, if you choose a really dark cocoa powder, like Hershey’s Special Dark, the frosting will be much darker than a regular cocoa powder. The best cocoa powder to use entirely depends on your tastes and to whom you are serving your baked goods.

Some of the more expensive cocoa powders that I prefer like Askinosie chocolate single-origin cocoa powder, Cacao Berry Extra Brute, Sharffen Berger’s natural cocoa powder and Penzey’s Cocoa Powders do not taste anything like Hershey’s or Nestlé’s. They have a much more complex flavor. The flavor is so different that my mother-in-law thought that there was some mystery ingredient in the frosting to account for the different taste.

To help you understand which cocoa powder to pick, I like to talk about Evite’s cookie taste test.

The blog author, Eva, talks about an experiment where she served three different types of Toll House chocolate chip cookies:

  • Homemade with high end ingredients (like real vanilla extract)
  • Homemade with cheap ingredients (like imitation vanilla extract)
  • A store bought log of dough

Surprisingly to me, and perhaps to other ingredient snobs, the author found that “there was no clear favorite, and very few people guessed correctly. The people who were used to the log seemed to like it best. Those who tended to eat high-end ingredients favored the expensive cookies.” The conclusion of the post was that you need to know your audience.

The same principle applies to choosing the cocoa powder. Know your audience and pick the flavor profile they prefer.

What To Use Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting On

Two chocolate cupcakes on a white background

You can never go wrong using this frosting on chocolate cupcakes. My recipe has been EXTENSIVELY tested and you’ll see when you read the comments that hundreds of people rave about them.

Hi Hat CupcakesIn the photo above, I frosted the cupcakes with chocolate cream cheese frosting and then dipped them in chocolate to make hi-hat cupcakes!

But, of course, this frosting works on vanilla cupcakes or vanilla cake.

It also tastes amazing on cakey brownies (or fudgey brownies like the ones from Live Well Bake Often).

Best Tips for Making Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Always make sure that all ingredients are at room temperature before starting.
  • Mix for several minutes to incorporate lots of air into the frosting and make it fluffy.
  • You can add more or less powdered sugar to the recipe to give it lighter or stiffer texture.
  • The USDA considers frostings made with cream cheese to be unsafe if left unrefrigerated for more than a couple of hours, and there are a lot of food websites that echo this fear. If you have a weakened immune system, or just like to err on the side of caution, then by all means refrigerate your frosting until you are ready to serve.If you want to know what I do, though, I leave my cupcakes with cream cheese frosting out of the fridge. I have never had problems with the frosting souring, and I have certainly never had any health effects. 
  • Cream cheese frosting can be frozen! Foods with a high fat content tend to survive freezing well. You can put a plastic bag of chocolate cream cheese frosting in the freezer for weeks or maybe even months. You will need to let it thaw and re-whip it a bit when it comes out, though, before you start piping.

If You Like This Frosting, You May Also Like…

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Chocolate cream cheese frosting being piped onto a chocolate cupcake
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4.58 from 61 votes

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

Chocolate cream cheese frosting is smooth, creamy, and so chocolaty!  It's a perfect topping for just about any flavor of cupcake or cake!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword chocolate cream cheese frosting, chocolate cream cheese frosting recipe
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 223kcal

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 3 cups sifted powdered sugar You can decrease this amount if you don't care about it being as stiff for piping.
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder

Instructions

  • Mix cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy - about 3 minutes using a stand mixer on high speed.
  • Mix in powdered sugar, one cup at a time.
  • Mix in cocoa powder until fully combined. 
  • Spread or pipe on cakes and cupcakes.

Video

 

Notes

  • Double this recipe if you like very high frosting swirls on your cupcakes.
  • Always make sure that all ingredients are at room temperature before starting.
  • Mix for several minutes to incorporate lots of air into the frosting and make it fluffy.
  • You can add more or less powdered sugar to the recipe to give it lighter or stiffer texture.
  • The USDA considers frostings made with cream cheese to be unsafe if left unrefrigerated for more than a couple of hours, and there are a lot of food websites that echo this fear. If you have a weakened immune system, or just like to err on the side of caution, then by all means refrigerate your frosting until you are ready to serve.If you want to know what I do, though, I leave my cupcakes with cream cheese frosting out of the fridge. I have never had problems with the frosting souring, and I have certainly never had any health effects. 
  • Cream cheese frosting can be frozen! Foods with a high fat content tend to survive freezing well. You can put a plastic bag of chocolate cream cheese frosting in the freezer for weeks or maybe even months. You will need to let it thaw and re-whip it a bit when it comes out, though, before you start piping.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 223 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 15%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 30mg 10%
Sodium 62mg 3%
Potassium 80mg 2%
Total Carbohydrates 32g 11%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 30g
Protein 1g 2%
Vitamin A 7.4%
Calcium 2.4%
Iron 3.3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Have you tried this recipe?Click here to leave a comment and rating!
Chocolate cream cheese frosting is a perfect topping for just about any flavor cupcake! It is smooth, creamy, and has a strong chocolate flavor! It is sweet, a little tangy, very chocolaty, and perfectly pipe-able! Try using this frosting for your cakes and cupcakes!
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