How to Make Chocolate Buttercream

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Learn how to make chocolate buttercream to satisfy all your chocolatey cake decorating needs! If you're a chocolate lover, there's really no better way to finish a cake than with light and airy icing that actually tastes of chocolate.

How to Make Chocolate Buttercream

If you've ever wondered how to make chocolate buttercream that is deliciously decadent, the key is to use high quality dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa). Melted chocolate will keep the buttercream smooth and silky whilst also making it taste authentically of chocolate. I prefer melting chocolate than using cocoa powder, as you don't achieve quite as smooth a texture with powder.

How to Make Chocolate Buttercream

The base for the chocolate buttercream recipe below is my recipe for Italian meringue buttercream. I really love it, as it's easy to work with, keeps well, and tastes creamy, yet light and airy, like a mouthful of chocolate mousse!

But you could easily apply the below approach to any flavour of Italian meringue buttercream you prefer. Why not also try strawberry Italian meringue buttercream?

How to Make Chocolate Buttercream

Chocolate Italian meringue buttercream will keep in an airtight container, either in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to three months. Before using, thaw and warm to room temperature, and whisk again to restore the buttercream's airy texture.

Other icing recipes to try:


Here's how to make chocolate buttercream - you'll need:
(Click here to jump straight to the recipe)

250g unsalted butter, cubed and softened
200g dark (70% cocoa) chocolate
3 egg whites (from large eggs)
Pinch of salt (optional)
150g caster sugar
30ml water

And here's what you'll need to do:

  • Melt the chocolate in a bowl by placing it in a pan of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until completely melted, and set aside to cool until needed.
  • Cut the butter into cubes and set it aside to soften.
  • Separate the eggs, putting the egg whites in a clean mixing bowl and saving the yolks for later. Make sure there is no greasy film or residue on the bowl or mixer attachments, and that they are completely dry.
  • Put the sugar and water into a small saucepan, swirling to wet all the sugar.
  • Place the saucepan over medium heat, and leave it to cook - do not stir! Swirl the pan, if needed, to ensure the sugar melts uniformly. Stirring here can cause the sugar to seize up and crystallise into clumps.
  • If you can, whisk the egg whites whilst also cooking the sugar simultaneously. If you're unable to do this, then whisk the egg whites first, then cook the sugar.
  • Whisk the egg white until it becomes foamy and forms soft peaks (that's when the peaks droop a bit).
  • When the sugar syrup boils clear, it is about ready. If you have a food thermometer, you can check the temperature - it needs to be about 121C (250F). Turn off the heat.
  • With the mixer setting on low, VERY CAREFULLY pour the hot sugar syrup into the egg white in a thin stream, all the while whisking to combine. The sugar syrup should be poured in near the edge of the bowl and not too close to the mixing attachment, so that it doesn't splutter out and potentially cause injury.
  • When all of the hot sugar syrup has been incorporated into the egg white, turn the mixer up to maximum speed, and continue whisking until the meringue cools and the outside of the bowl is cool to the touch. This could take up to 10 minutes, depending on the speed and power of your mixer and the temperature of your kitchen.
  • If you like a bit of salt in your icing, mix it in now.
  • When the meringue is cool, stiff and glossy white, add in the butter, one cube at a time, mixing to incorporate after each cube. Continue until all the butter has been mixed in.
  • At some point, you may notice that your buttercream has a curdled look, as if it's separating. This is completely normal - no need to panic! Continue adding butter and whisking, and have faith - the buttercream will eventually come together into a smooth and creamy icing.
  • When the chocolate has cooled but is still liquid, add it to the buttercream, and mix until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, as needed.
  • Pipe the buttercream onto cupcakes, decorate a cake, or save it for later!
How to Make Chocolate Buttercream

How to Make Chocolate Buttercream

By

How to Make Chocolate Buttercream

Learn how to make chocolate buttercream that is creamy, light, and most importantly, chocolatey!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Yield: 650g
Course: Icing, Dessert
Cuisine: Modern Italian, European
Tags: Chocolate Frosting, Italian Meringue

Ingredients

250g unsalted butter, cubed and softened
200g dark (70% cocoa) chocolate
3 egg whites (from large eggs)
Pinch of salt (optional)
150g caster sugar
30ml water

Method

  1. Melt the chocolate in a bowl by placing it in a pan of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until completely melted, and set aside to cool until needed.
  2. Cut the butter into cubes and set it aside to soften.
  3. Separate the eggs, putting the egg whites in a clean mixing bowl and saving the yolks for later. Make sure there is no greasy film or residue on the bowl or mixer attachments, and that they are completely dry.
  4. Put the sugar and water into a small saucepan, swirling to wet all the sugar.
  5. Place the saucepan over medium heat, and leave it to cook - do not stir! Swirl the pan, if needed, to ensure the sugar melts uniformly. Stirring here can cause the sugar to seize up and crystallise into clumps.
  6. If you can, whisk the egg whites whilst also cooking the sugar simultaneously. If you're unable to do this, then whisk the egg whites first, then cook the sugar.
  7. Whisk the egg white until it becomes foamy and forms soft peaks (that's when the peaks droop a bit).
  8. When the sugar syrup boils clear, it is about ready. If you have a food thermometer, you can check the temperature - it needs to be about 121C (250F). Turn off the heat.
  9. With the mixer setting on low, VERY CAREFULLY pour the hot sugar syrup into the egg white in a thin stream, all the while whisking to combine. The sugar syrup should be poured in near the edge of the bowl and not too close to the mixing attachment, so that it doesn't splutter out and potentially cause injury.
  10. When all of the hot sugar syrup has been incorporated into the egg white, turn the mixer up to maximum speed, and continue whisking until the meringue cools and the outside of the bowl is cool to the touch. This could take up to 10 minutes, depending on the speed and power of your mixer and the temperature of your kitchen.
  11. If you like a bit of salt in your icing, mix it in now.
  12. When the meringue is cool, stiff and glossy white, add in the butter, one cube at a time, mixing to incorporate after each cube. Continue until all the butter has been mixed in.
  13. At some point, you may notice that your buttercream has a curdled look, as if it's separating. This is completely normal - no need to panic! Continue adding butter and whisking, and have faith - the buttercream will eventually come together into a smooth and creamy icing.
  14. When the chocolate has cooled but is still liquid, add it to the buttercream, and mix until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, as needed.
  15. Pipe the buttercream onto cupcakes, decorate a cake, or save it for later!

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