If you're on the hunt for an elevated chocolate frosting recipe, your search ends here! This decadent recipe blends the smooth and deep flavor of chocolate ganache with rich, creamy buttercream to create the ultimate chocolate frosting. Use it to spread on cakes, pipe on cupcakes, fill sandwich cookies, and more!
Say hello to your new favorite chocolate frosting recipe! Chocolate ganache buttercream manages to strike a perfect balance: it's intensely chocolately but not overpowering, with a light and airy mouthfeel. And since it works beautifully for spreading on cakes, piping on cupcakes, filling sandwich cookies, and more, it's about to become your go-to chocolate frosting!
And for the ultimate chocolate cake experience, pair this frosting with moist dark chocolate cake or cupcakes.
Why This Recipe Works
This frosting combines the luxurious chocolate flavor of ganache with the buttery richness of buttercream to create a frosting that's the best of both worlds.
I wanted to be sure that this frosting was decadent without feeling over the top, and believe me, it's just right. This chocolate frosting recipe has deep chocolate flavor thanks to both cocoa powder and melted chocolate without feeling too heavy or dense. I simply replaced some of the confectioners' sugar in a classic buttercream frosting with cocoa powder and some slightly cooled chocolate ganache to create this indulgent-yet-balanced chocolate frosting.
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
Heavy Cream- To create the chocolate ganache, heavy cream will be blended with the chopped chocolate. Choose cream labeled "heavy cream" or "heavy whipping cream" - not merely "whipping cream" - for the right fat content.
Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar - A chocolate baking bar (found in the baking aisle at grocery stores) is ideal for creating a creamy chocolate ganache. Avoid using a chocolate candy bar (which contains sweeteners and other ingredients) or chocolate chips (which contain stabilizers), since they won't yield the proper ganache texture. You can substitute semisweet chocolate for a slightly sweeter ganache and frosting.
Unsalted Butter - Be sure the butter is room temperature so that it will be smooth when blended. As always, I prefer to use unsalted butter so that we can control the amount of salt added to the recipe.
Dutch Process Cocoa Powder - Cocoa powder works in conjunction with the ganache to flavor the chocolate frosting. If you prefer, it's okay to substitute natural unsweetened cocoa powder, though this will change the flavor.
See recipe card at the bottom of this post for full ingredient list and measurements.
In addition to essential baking equipment (like a spatula), I recommend some special tools for making this recipe.
- Small saucepan, for warming heavy cream
- Stand mixer or electric hand mixer, for mixing frosting
Step-By-Step Recipe Instructions
Step 1: Heat cream just until it begins to simmer and pour into a bowl with the chopped chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth and shiny. Set the ganache aside and allow it to cool to room temperature.
Step 2: Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or an electric hand mixer, beat butter, vanilla, and salt until smooth.
Step 3: Add sugar and cocoa powder slowly, mixing until well blended.
Step 4: Add ganache to the frosting and mix until the frosting is light and fluffy.
See recipe card at the bottom of this post for detailed recipe instructions.
Be sure the chocolate is finely chopped, since it will melt more easily this way when the warm cream is added.
To avoid lumps in your frosting, be sure that all of the chocolate in the ganache is melted and smooth and that your butter is room temperature when mixed.
Be sure the ganache is cooled to room temperature (about 75º F) before adding to the buttercream frosting so the ganache doesn't melt the butter in the frosting.
It really comes down to personal preference! Chocolate ganache is less sweet and deeply chocolatey, while buttercream is rich and creamy and helps to keep cakes nice and moist.
With this recipe we get the best of both worlds by combining the two!
Cocoa powder adds a deeper chocolate flavor to frosting compared to melted chocolate, but it can also create a frosting that's dry, so you'll need extra liquid (like milk) to compensate. This recipe uses both melted chocolate and cocoa powder for decadent chocolate flavor and a moist, creamy frosting.
Refrigerator: This frosting can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. If you plan to refrigerate the frosting before using to decorate a dessert, let the frosting come to room temperature and briefly re-whip it with a stand mixer or electric hand mixer so that it's soft and fluffy before using.
Cakes or other desserts that have been decorated with chocolate ganache buttercream can be stored on a covered cake plate or stand at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the fridge for up to 4 days.
More Frosting Recipes
Love this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review on the recipe below! And don't forget to subscribe to Always Eat Dessert for even more simple recipes, baking tips, and inspiration.
Chocolate Ganache Buttercream Frosting
- Small saucepan
- Stand mixer or electric hand mixer
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate baking bar, finely chopped
- 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
- Make the chocolate ganache. Place finely chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set aside. Add the cream to a small saucepan and heat just until it begins to simmer. Pour the heated cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 2 minutes before stirring with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth and shiny. Set the ganache aside and allow it to cool to room temperature (about 30 minutes).
- In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using an electric hand mixer), beat butter, vanilla, and salt on medium-high speed until smooth.
- Add sugar and cocoa powder slowly, beating well on medium speed and scraping the bowl often. Mix until well blended.
- Add ganache to the frosting and mix on medium speed until the frosting is light and fluffy.