Creamy and fluffy, chocolate cream cheese frosting is good on nearly everything. It doesn’t require melting chocolate and it’s so easy to make!
Why you’ll love it: Homemade tastes so much better than canned!
How long it takes: 10 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: Mixing bowl, mixer, measuring utensils
Servings: 2 1/2 cups which is enough to frost a layer cake, 24 cupcakes, or a 9×13 inch cake.
I’ve decided that chocolate cream cheese frosting needs a top position on the list of things-that-are-difficult-to-photograph. However, it also needs a top position on the things-that-taste-amazing list!
Side note: Ben said that frosting on the beater looks like a little LEGO man’s hair and now I can’t unsee it.
It’s an easy twist on basic cream cheese frosting and it’s fantastic on top of chocolate chip banana cake, this easy chocolate cake, or white cake. I’m thinking I should make a batch of this frosting for brownies…how good would that be?!
It’s also pretty delicious just smeared on top of a graham cracker (don’t knock it ’til you try it – it’s basically a lazy girl’s chocolate cheesecake).
About this chocolate cream cheese frosting
One of the things I like about this recipe is that it doesn’t require melting chocolate. Don’t get me wrong, I love melted chocolate…well, really, any chocolate, in any form. However, the ease of throwing together a quick frosting and not having to worry about melting chocolate and melting it perfectly over a double boiler so it doesn’t seize up…it’s just easier, less stressful, and just as delicious.
For the frosting in the photos, I used dark cocoa powder, but regular cocoa powder works too – it will have a slightly lighter color, more similar to the frosting on these banana cupcakes. Dark cocoa powder is what I happened to have on hand at the time.
The most important part of making this recipe is to make sure that your butter and cream cheese are softened to room temperature. You’ll want to leave them on the counter for a couple of hours before making the frosting. If you skip this, the cream cheese won’t get as smooth and fluffy, and you’ll end up fighting a frustrating fight against clumps and lumps in your frosting.
A note about types of cream cheese: This recipe uses block cream cheese, not whipped or spreadable! This is important. You also want to choose full-fat cream cheese, preferably, but reduced-fat will also work. Reduced-fat cream cheese isn’t quite as thick, so you might find that you have a thinner, more runny frosting, or that you need to add more powdered sugar to achieve the right consistency. You really don’t want to use fat-free cream cheese for this recipe. It won’t taste as good and the texture will be off.
Because this frosting contains cream cheese which is a dairy product, it should be refrigerated, however, it is safe to leave it at room temperature for up to two hours.
As I mentioned above, cream cheese can be left at room temperature up to two hours, allowing it to soften. To speed up the softening process, remove the cream cheese from the packaging and cut it into small pieces, spreading them out on a plate. It will soften in 15-20 minutes, depending on the temperature of your kitchen.
Make Ahead Tip
This frosting freezes well, so you could make it in advance if you want. You’ll want to to slowly thaw it (put it in the fridge overnight) and may need to whip it up again with an electric mixture to make it nice and fluffy again.
More frosting recipes
Homemade frostings are easy to make and taste so much better than canned frosting. Try:
- Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
- Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- Very Vanilla Buttercream
- Irish Cream Latte Buttercream Frosting
- Orange Creamsicle Buttercream
- Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
- Whipped Cream — a lighter alternative to frosting.
- Apple Spice Cake with Bourbon Glaze — the bourbon glaze is good on chocolate cake, too!
- 1 (8 oz) package (block) cream cheese, softened (reduced-fat will work, fat-free will not)
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 to 3 teaspoons milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 4 cups powdered sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
- In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and milk until smooth and fluffy.
- Add cocoa powder and powdered sugar (one cup at a time) and continue to beat on low speed until frosting is smooth and the desired consistency. Add more powdered sugar or milk if needed – sugar will thicken the frosting, milk will thin it.
- Store in fridge
- Photos depict use of dark cocoa powder, any type will work
- Makes enough for thick frosting on a 9×13 cake, a 2 layer cake, or about 24 cupcakes.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.