[I’]m not one for secrets. Especially where chocolate is involved.
I always have a few tricks up my sleeve and I can never keep them secrets for long. Brown sugar baked bacon is one secret. Sweet, salty, crisp, and perfect. Adding that bacon to biscuits, completely over the top good! Brown butter in everything, most especially chocolate chip cookies…. another secret I just couldn’t keep to myself.
Today another secret comes out. We’re talking about the most perfect Chocolate Buttercream Frosting. Soft, glossy, light and spreadable… and the secret ingredients are Rich Chocolate Ovaltine and heavy cream! Malted chocolate milk powder and cream to add extra body, and a light whipped texture to our frosting. It’s unexpected and perfect!
I hope there is cake (and waaaay too much buttercream) in your future.
Here’s what you’ll need:
• Three sticks (1 1/2 cups or 12 ounces) softened, unsalted butter. I think it’s best to leave the butter out overnight to softened to room temperature through and through. Softening butter in the microwave makes the butter more melty than soft and can break our perfect buttercream,
• Unsweetened cocoa powder, and lots of it.
• Salt, to balance the mountain of powdered sugar.
• A mountain of powdered sugar.
• Milk for moisture and softness.
• Rich Chocolate Ovaltine, the chocolate malted milk powder adds a creamy softness to this buttercream and makes it extra rich, glossy, and luscious.
• Heavy cream because, always.
• Extra credit: pure vanilla extract.
Whipping together perfect buttercream frosting isn’t hard, but there are a few tricks to make things go smoothly.
First, room temperature butter is creamed together with unsweetened cocoa powder and salt. No sugar just yet. Incorporating the butter and cocoa powder will ensure that the butter is soft and pliable and the chocolate is evenly distributed throughout the frosting. The mixture will be thick. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl once or twice during mixing.
Next, add the powdered sugar all at once. Just go for it. Mix on low and slowly drizzle in milk and vanilla extract. Get the mixture incorporated, but no need to whip the frosting on high just yet. We’ll get to that soon. The frosting should be relatively smooth and glossy (and it’s only going to get better!).
In a small bowl, stir together Ovaltine and heavy cream.
The mixture will thicken a bit as it sits.
With the mixer on medium, add half of the Ovaltine and cream mixture. Increase the speed and add a bit more. The buttercream will lighten slightly in color as it comes together.
Stop the mixer and scrape along the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure that it’s all mixing evenly. You may not need the entire Ovaltine mixture, but just add enough to create a glossy, smooth, completely spreadable frosting. I find that beating the buttercream on medium for about 1 minute makes a lovely frosting. Try not to overheat the buttercream as that might break the butter.
This buttercream is whipped and soft. Perfect for frosting cakes. It’s so soft and creamy it won’t rip the cakes or cause you undue stress. Plenty of frosting for a three layer cake or a sheet cake with frosting to spare. Any leftover frosting can be stored in the freezer for a cake or chocolate emergency.
This buttercream is also supreme eaten directly from the bowl with a spoon.Print
The Best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- Prep Time: 20
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 2/3 cup Rich Chocolate Ovaltine powder
- Cream together butter, cocoa powder and salt. Butter mixture will be very thick. Turn off the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add powdered sugar. Turn mixer on low and mix in powdered sugar while adding milk and vanilla extract. As the sugar incorporates, raise the speed of the mixer to beat the frosting. Beat until smooth, about 1 minute.
- In a 2 cup measuring glass, stir together heavy cream and Ovaltine. Turn mixer speed to medium and pour half of the cream mixture into frosting in a slow, steady stream. Stop the mister scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add remaining cream mixture or until you’ve reached your desired consistency. Beat until soft and creamy, about 1 minute.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. Bring to room temperature before frosting cakes and cupcakes.
Hi Joy! I plan to bake a birthday cake with this frosting the day before my daughter’s party. Can this frosting sit at room temperature UP TO 24 hours or do I need to refrigerate it for food safety (heavy cream)?? I’d rather not have the refrigerator dry out the cake. If you recommend refrigerating the frosted cake, how long do you think it will take to come to room temperature before serving? THANKS!
What might be a Vanilla variation of this recipe? The chocolate sounds divine, but I’m just curious if there could be a vanilla version…
Hi Joy, Love your blog and this frosting looks incredible. I was all set to try it until I noticed the comment about keeping refrigerated. I usually make butter based cakes and I don’t like to refrigerate them. I’ve made frosting with cream before that I did not refrigerate, but not this much cream. Just wanted to double check that this is really necessary. Thank you!
It’s not super necessary. It can stay out for a few days not refrigerated, but don’t leave it out forever not refrigerated
This looks great! I would like to use it in order to frost/build a four layers pirate ship cake… do you think it is stable enough in order to comes out an actual ship and not a shipwreck(there would be many other of course risks taken in this project); thank you for all these great recipes!!!
Has anyone actually made this frosting not just “thinking it’s great”.
It really is great. I’ve made it.
Have you ever used fondant on it?
Yes, but it is not always my favorite
This looks fantastic, and after going through all the reviews (literally every single one of them) I have to make it! However I did not see a yield amount. I’m only making 12 cupcakes so i’m thinking I should half the recipe? Thanks!!
Um, this was AMAZING to freeze! I had never frozen frosting before and was freaking out inside a little (it was for a bday party of about 60 people so I did not want to be doing not-frozen cake and frosting!). I did whip it up again when it came to room temperature, and people asked me for the recipe – so so good!
This looks good and yummy, am going to try it.
My son, who previously didn’t like chocolate frosting (or maybe just his mama’s chocolate frosting!), loves this! And my husband calls it ‘killer.’ So first, thank you! And second, a question: How do I bring this to room temp from frozen? In the fridge overnight, or on the counter? I’ve had some ‘buttercream incidents’ in the past : (, and want to plan appropriately! Thank you!
I’m so glad it’s such a family success! Let’s see… Thawing. I think I’d thaw overnight in the fridge and then leave it at room temp until you have it the temperature you want it.
Thanks!! I’m making the frosting today (it’s OK to lick Ovaltine straight from the container, amirite?!) to freeze for my boy’s bday party next month!
Do you have the metric conversionsfor the ingredients?
No I don’t. I’m not sure how reliable the conversion would be. Sorry.
Whew! I can finally make chocolate frosting. My previous attempts were a) rock hard ganache, b) weirdly khaki colored buttercream, or c) hard khaki ganache! Who knew cocoa powder, not melted chocolate, was the secret?! And the Ovaltine put it over the top!
If I make it a day ahead, any chance of it becoming curdly (even after coming to room temp?)…or will re-beating it save it?
We buy the Chocolate Malt Ovaltine for drinking. Is that what I need? Or, get the Rich Chocolate? I am confused b/c you said Rich Chocolate but then mentioned Malt? : )
Either one works great!
I keep reading that the cake will need to be refrigerated because of the heavy cream, but would it be OK to leave out overnight without refrigerating? My daughter’s birthday is coming up and I always bake and frost my cake/cupcakes the day before. Thanks in advance for any thoughts!
Sorry for the late response. Late Happy Birthday to your daughter!! No, it should be covered and refrigerated for sure.
Made this over the weekend and it really is the best chocolate frosting! This is my new go to chocolate buttercream…thanks for sharing :)