If you’re a fan of rich and creamy yet not too sweet frostings, then this Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting is for you! With its smooth and velvety texture plus tanginess from the cream cheese, it makes the perfect pairing for cakes, cupcakes, brownies, and more.

Chocolate cream cheese frosting in a bowl

As much as I love baking my small chocolate cake recipe for special occasions, it’s important to never overlook your frosting options.

Sometimes I’ll pair it with my Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting or Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting for a berry good pairing.

Other times I simply want to go classic with my Small Batch Chocolate Frosting.

However, there are times small batch buttercream frosting may be a bit too sweet for decorating Small Batch Chocolate Cupcakes.

That’s where a sweet yet tangy Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting comes in handy.

It’s like taking my small batch cream cheese frosting and chocolate buttercream then marrying them together into one icing.

That way you can still get your chocolate kick without being overly sweet.

This chocolate cream cheese frosting recipe is excellent on any one of my 6 inch cake recipes or small batch cupcake recipes.

I highly recommend my small banana cake because who doesn’t love chocolate and banana together?

It even makes enough to frost my 8 inch one layer chocolate cake.

All you need to make this cream cheese chocolate frosting is 6 ingredients, likely ones you have in your pantry right now (7 if you count a pinch of salt).

You don’t even need melted chocolate! Just cocoa powder for the chocolate.

And because this is a small batch frosting recipe, it makes enough to frost one 6 inch or 8 inch cake or 6 cupcakes.

Ready to get started?

Cream Cheese Chocolate Frosting in small bowl with white knife

Ingredients For Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

To make your chocolate cream cheese frosting recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Cream cheese: Adding cream cheese along with the butter makes the frosting more tangy than sweet. It’s important to use a full-fat block of cream cheese. Any fat-free or whipped products won’t work.
  • Butter: The base to every good frosting is real butter (not margarine). Add a pinch of salt if using unsalted.
  • Powdered sugar: Thickens the frosting so you can easily spread or pipe it onto your dessert.
  • Cocoa powder: Adds a more intense, rich chocolaty flavor without using melted chocolate.
  • Heavy cream or milk: Helps thin out the frosting so you can spread/pipe it
  • Vanilla extract: Much like salt, vanilla enhances the chocolate flavor even more.

Don’t want chocolate? Check out Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting!

How much frosting does small batch chocolate cream cheese frosting make?

Because I made this cream cheese chocolate frosting for my small cakes, here are some guidelines about how much a small batch makes:

  • If you’re piping Strawberry Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting, you can frost between 6-8 cupcakes, depending on how tall you make the swirls.
  • If you’re frosting Small Batch Vanilla Cupcakes with an offset spatula, you can frost 1 dozen cupcakes because you typically don’t use as much as you would piping.
  • If you’re frosting this Small Vanilla Cake recipe, you can frost the top and edges with about a spoonful left, depending on how thick you like it.
  • If you’re frosting an 8 inch Strawberry Snack Cake, you can frost the top and edges. Depending on how thick you like your frosting, you may or may not have some leftover.
  • If you’re frosting a two layer cake, you can frost the middle and top like a naked cake OR top and edges.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting with white knife in small bowl

How To Make Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Here’s how you make your recipe for cream cheese chocolate frosting:

  1. Beat together the butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add the vanilla and milk then beat for an additional minute. If it’s too thick, add a little more milk. If it’s not thick enough for piping, add more powdered sugar.

Can chocolate cream cheese frosting be made in advance?

Yes, you can make cream cheese chocolate frosting in advance! Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

You may need to bring your frosting to room temperature if it’s too hard to spread. You can also refresh it by beating it for 30 seconds, adding milk if it’s still too thick.

Does a cake with cream cheese frosting need to be refrigerated?

The biggest question I get about frosting is do you have to refrigerate a cake with cream cheese frosting?

The answer is yes because cream cheese is perishable, even with a good amount of powdered sugar in it.

Your cake can sit out at room temperature for up to 2 hours but then it needs to go in the refrigerator ASAP.

How do you store a cake with cream cheese frosting?

To refrigerate a cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting, first put it in the fridge uncovered for about 15 minutes. This will harden the frosting just enough so it won’t smear if accidentally touched.

Next, you want to cover the cake so it doesn’t dry out in the refrigerator.

You can either loosely wrap with plastic wrap or store in an airtight cake container (affiliate link).

I highly recommend using a cake container because it won’t actually touch your cake and you can store other items on top in the fridge.

Before serving, take the cake out of refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for a minimum of 15-30 minutes. This allows the cake to lose its chill and have a better texture when eating.

Cream Cheese Chocolate Frosting in small bowl with white knife

Cream Cheese Chocolate Frosting in small bowl with white knife

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 1 cup
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

If you're a fan of rich and creamy yet not too sweet frostings, then this Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting is for you! With its smooth and velvety texture plus tanginess from the cream cheese, it makes the perfect pairing for cakes, cupcakes, brownies, and more.


  • 4 ounces (4 tablespoons) full-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces or 4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup - 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • Pinch of table salt
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream or whole milk, room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. In a large mixing bowl (with paddle attachment if using a stand mixer), beat together the butter and cream cheese for 30 seconds until combined.
  2. Scrape down the bowl then add 1/2 cup powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Beat until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Scrape down the bowl again, add the milk and vanilla, then beat an additional 1-2 minutes.

    At this point if the frosting is too thin to pipe, add the remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar (you may not need it all). If it's too thick, add in a few more drops of milk.
  4. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. If the frosting is too soft to use right away, refrigerate in 15 minute increments until piping consistency.


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