Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Total Time:
25 min
25 min

about 4 cups

  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 3/4 cup egg whites (4 to 5 extra-large eggs), at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 teaspoons instant espresso powder, dissolved in 1 1/2 teaspoons water
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum, optional

Chop the chocolates and place them in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan simmering water. Stir until melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

Mix the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Place the bowl of egg whites over the pan of simmering water and heat the egg whites until they are warm to the touch, about 5 minutes. Return the bowl to the electric mixer and whisk on high speed for 5 minutes, or until the meringue is cool and holds a stiff peak.

Add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, while beating on medium speed. Scrape down the bowl, add the melted chocolate, vanilla, espresso, and rum, if using, and mix for 1 minute or until the chocolate is completely blended in. If the buttercream seems very soft, allow it to cool, and beat it again.

View All

Cooking Tips
More Recipes and Ideas
Loading review filters...

    68 Reviews
    5 68
    0/1000 characters
    Your Rating:
    Sort by: 
    Great frosting
    Tasted really good, but I did something wrong with this recipe. I added the butter tablespoon at a time, but the butter began to separate from the egg white during whipping. Then icing began to "weep" but, could still pipe it on to cupcakes. I'm not sure if I rushed adding the butter, or because it was really humid the egg whites were affected. I loved the flavor, very much like a classic French buttercream minus the egg yolk and cooked sugar. I'll try making it again and keep my fingers crossed.
    Ina, you are my go to. Whenever I need a really good recipe you never disappoint. This recipe is awesome. It is light and full of flavor. I will use this in the future every time I need something spectacularly wonderful. Thank-you for providing me with many family favorites.
    Best icing ever but i would only add half of whats listed for the flavorings
    Came out nice and fluffy. I omitted the espresso powder, and added more vanilla extract, and some chambord liquor to give it a hint of raspberry. I frosted a supermoist chocolate cake. This makes a LOT. I will be using leftovers for another cake. Yum.
    First time I've made frosting and it went great! Delicious and got rave reviews. I halved the recipe and still had more than enough for a 9x13 cake (almost twice as much. Ina's recipes always go over so well for me
    Absolutely delicious frosting but the others are correct that 1/2 of the recipe is plenty for a 9 inch layer cake. I didn't have any bittersweet chocolate so I just used semisweet and I thought it was just fine. Also, I just melted my chocolate chips in the microwave and it turned out perfectly.
    the best frosting for me..yummy!!
    I cut the recipe in half and still had plenty to work with. I did not care for the taste, it was easy to pick out butter taste, and chocolate taste, they weren't cohesive and it was not sweet (I prefer a sweeter milk chocolate flavor. I added 2.5 cups of powdered sugar to make it somewhat closer to real buttercream icing. That made it a whole lot easier to pipe with an extra large star tip and have it stay stiff. The kids didn't like it, but the adults thought it was okay.
    Yummy! I cut the recipe in half and had plenty to frost a two layer 9 inch cake very generously and still had some left over. Not a problem as it was hard to keep the family out of the bowl while I was mixing. For Rachel, I had the same confusion you did. I mixed the egg whites, sugar, etc. just until combined and the heated the mixture as directed. I think this helps to dissolve the sugar so there is not a grainy texture. After the egg white mixture was warm, I beat it to make the meringue. Be sure you use good chocolate as that gives the frosting all its wonderful flavor. This is definitely a keeper!
    this recipe was perfect! I used 1/3 of the recipe, and easily frosted a 9x13 cake, and had about 1/2 cup left over. IT wasn't too sweet, but had real flavor. This was easy to make and definitely my new go-to frosting recipe.
    hey guys, i had a question..i was wanting to make this recipe but im a little confused on the the instructions where it says to mix the egg white mixture then put over a double boiler, does it mean to make a meringue first, then put over the heat, or just plain egg whites over the heat, then make the meringue? i was a little unclear on please!!!
    I could have eaten the whole thing by myself. Electra
    The best chocolate buttercream I've found!
    OMG! This is to die for. You can never go wrong with one of Ina's recipes. I needed a good Chocolate Buttercream and saw hers. Knew hers was the one and sure enough it is. Anyone that says it is not good is out of their mind or should stay out of the kitchen. Easy to make and comes out fantastic. Not a cheap recipe to make but worth every penny.
    THIS IS THE BEST FROSTING ON PLANET EARTH! it might be better than ganache but when making it when adding the butter to egg whites it looked curdled but i added the chocolate that is only bittersweet and others it came together im eleven years old and if i can make it you can
    Good consistency, easy to pipe onto cupcakes. Flavor seemed like chocolate colored butter. Will search for another chocolate frosting recipe.
    I'm not a big fan of chocolate frosting, but since this was for someone else, I thought I'd splurge with this recipe. It wasn't the chocolate flavor I didn't like, it was the amount of butter. It was just like eating cocoa-flavored butter on the cake. Everyone in the family thought so. It's just not like the frosting we're used to. It was a waste of frosting too, with all the leftovers and nobody wanted to keep it.
    I used this for a Hungarian Dobos torte cake I made and it is a fantastic recipe for that! I made 2 cakes and each cake had 5 (thin) layers. With this recipe I was able to frost both cakes and had still about 2 cups worth leftover. Fantastic taste and I like how dreamy smooth it is to work with, holds up well on layered cake, and after I refrigerated the cakes, the frosting sets up beautifully! Love it!
    Amazing!!! I just made this at midnight...yes, midnight and it worked like a charm. Not very difficult at all. I would have preferred to use powdered sugar, my batch came out a little grainy but this is so extremely LIGHT!!! I added 1 cup of powdered sugar to the very end to tighten my batch up and make it a wee bit sweeter but I will definitely use this recipe again and again. It was plenty enough for a 3 layer 10" round.
    I made a one-third batch of this frosting exactly as specified omitting only the rum today. In the past I have found rum too sharp a taste in frostings. One third batch was ample frosting for a 9X13 inch vanilla bean cake. I would say a half batch would amply frost a double layer cake. A full batch would frost a large tiered wedding cake (as Ina does in the full recipe). I really like this frosting. It is very light and melts on the tongue. I usually make "fudge" type chocolate frostings and this one is an interesting change of pace. I happened to have 8 oz. of a very good Irish butter left over in my fridge from some special holiday baking. I decided to use it with this recipe since the recipe contains so much butter. It is certainly a good recipe to showcase good butter. The frosting has a lovely texture and is not too sweet. I plan to try it sometime with a very delicate white cupcake recipe that I make, I think this delicate frosting would compliment a small/light cupcake.
    I'm not a chocolate person, but this? I could eat this stuff like pudding! It is the most delicious, light, fluffy, silky buttercream imaginable. superb.
    This was a hit with my family! I did not use the rum and only a strong coffee and it turned out so well. I am wondering how much better it would be with the espresso? I also have to freeze half for future use. A lot is made! It is a little tricky to make the first time but gets easier each time you make it!
    I don't like chocolate but this recipe sounds amazing. Any ideas on how to make it a vanilla frosting instead?

    **Forced to enter a rating. DISREGARD!**
    this is the best frosting I've ever made! It's so good and doesn't feel too rich. It melts in my mouth! (with 1.5# of butter,well... ;P) Recipe is too much for just one cake but I just made several cakes! 8) It goes well with Beatty's chocolate cake from Ina's recipe,also! I love Ina and her wonderful hubby,Jeffrey! 8)Thanks so much again!
    It was good but it made so much for a 2 layer cake, so if you make it, make it for a larger cake.
    I used this for a large 3-layer cake, and it was the perfect amount; had some frosting left over. I think the recipe is perfect. I almost didn't add the espresso because I didn't want a mocha flavor. Glad I followed the recipe, its perfect as-is, just tastes like a rich chocolate frosting. And yes, it does melt in your mouth. How could it not with a pound and a half of butter in it? =)
    This recipe makes A LOT of frosting - if you're baking a regular size cake I would say make 1/3rd of the recipe...I used the coffee that the recipe called for, but the coffee taste overpowered the frosting and I think I'll leave it out next time - other than that, this frosting was very light and fluffy and I recommend it.
    I LOVE chocolate, and this frosting is VERY chocolately. I followed the recipe exactly, but next time, I think I may use milk choc instead. Very creamy, and yes it does melt in your mouth! LOVED it!
    I made this frosting thinking it was going to be hard. It was actually very easy and it was very "light" considering there was 1 1/2 pounds of butter in it! I actually don't like frosting and I think I may have been converted into a frosting liker.
    Flag as inappropriate

    Thank you! your flag was submitted.

    This recipe is featured in:

    Holiday Baking & Dessert Recipes