This easy chocolate cream cheese frosting recipe is a fun twist to a birthday cake favorite. Rich and tangy, it is absolutely delicious on vanilla or funfetti cupcakes and cakes.
Our family loves cream cheese frosting so much!
So, when it came time to create my daughter's epic Monster Book of Monsters birthday cake, I decided to experiment with chocolate cream cheese frosting instead of tinting the original with brown food gel.
It turns out that one batch of the original cream cheese frosting along with one batch of this chocolate frosting was the perfect amount to decorate a double-layer birthday cake.
Why This is the Best Recipe
When it comes to baking a birthday cake or a special batch of cupcakes, our family is filled with huge fans of cream cheese frosting. We think this is the best chocolate cream cheese frosting recipe because:
- Smooth and Creamy: The texture of the frosting is smooth and spreads over a cake so well. It has a creamy texture you'll be excited to stick a fork through!
- Rich and Chocolatey: This is the perfect chocolate frosting for people who like a bit of a tangy cream cheese accent. The cream cheese keeps it from being too sweet but accents the chocolate flavor.
- Easy to Make: If you know how to make my easy cream cheese frosting, this recipe just takes one more step!
If you've ever made homemade cream cheese frosting, you'll probably recognize these easy ingredients:
- Cream Cheese: I usually use Philadelphia brand original but have had success with store brands and low-fat cream cheese bricks, too.
- Powdered Sugar: Buy a big bag at the store, it keeps well in the pantry and has a million uses.
- Salted Butter: I'm picky about my butter. I've been using Land o'Lakes butter in my frosting for years. I haven't had as much luck with store brand butters in frosting because their formulas tend to be more watery. For a special occasion, splurge on the better butter.
- Vanilla Extract: I LOVE Mexican vanilla extract but homemade vanilla extract works or any nice quality vanilla you love. If a bright white frosting is important to you, you'll want to buy clear vanilla extract because regular can give the frosting a mild yellow hue.
- Cocoa Powder: I always use Hershey's 100% Cocoa Powder because it is so easy to find at all major grocery stores. It's the secret ingredient to our homemade brownies and Mexican hot chocolate cookies, so it won't go to waste!
How to Use Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
You could tint regular frosting brown with food dyes OR you could make this easy chocolate cream cheese frosting for decorating any cake that requires a brown accent like my Monster Book of Monsters cake.
How about double chocolate homemade brownies with chocolate frosting?
It would also make the perfect "dirt" base for a dirt and worms cupcake with crushed OREO cookies and gummy worms.
How to Make Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
Add the cream cheese and butter to the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Beat on medium speed until they are combined and smooth. Pause to scrape the sides of the bowl a couple times as it mixes.
Add the vanilla to the mixing bowl and blend it in on medium speed.
Add the powdered sugar to the mixer. Blend on low speed until most of the dry powder has been incorporated.
Add the cocoa powder and mix on low until combined.
Scrape the sides of the bowl and then mix on medium-high speed until the frosting is light and fluffy, about 4 - 5 minutes.
Make Ahead Tips
You can make the chocolate cream cheese frosting in advance and store it in the fridge in a covered air tight container for up to 3 days.
You could also make the frosting and freeze it in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
To use prepared frosting, thaw frozen frosting in the fridge overnight and let refrigerated frosting come to room temperature on your counter for 1 hour before attempting to frost a cake.
More Easy Frosting Recipes
Even if you use a box mix for your cupcakes or sheet cake, it is a brilliant idea to make frosting from scratch.
No one will care about the cake when they taste one bite of the creamy delicious icing on top of one of these easy desserts:
Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 (8 oz) brick of cream cheese at room temperature
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ cups powdered sugar
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- Add the cream cheese and butter to the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until they are combined and smooth. Pause to scrape the sides of the bowl a couple times as it mixes.
- Add the vanilla to the mixing bowl and blend it in on medium speed.
- Add the powdered sugar to the mixer. Blend on low speed until most of the dry powder has been incorporated.
- Add the cocoa powder and mix on low until combined.
- Scrape the sides of the bowl and then mix on medium-high speed until the frosting is light and fluffy, about 4 - 5 minutes.
A Note About Salt:Our family loves sweet-salty treats. I sometimes add a small pinch of Kosher salt to the cream cheese frosting to enhance that flavor.
Storage:The frosting should be refrigerated once your dessert has been decorated.
Make-Ahead Tips:You can make the frosting ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Let the container come to room temperature and stir it with a spatula to fluff it up a bit before using to decorate.
Save This Recipe to Your Recipe Box
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Fun Baking with Kids
Regular cheese frosting is one of the essential recipes I included in The Ultimate Kids' Baking Book but there is also a delicious classic chocolate frosting included as well.
There are tons of delicious, easy recipes for kids included that this chocolate cream cheese frosting would be just perfect with: