Small Batch Chocolate Frosting
Looking for the best chocolate buttercream recipe without leftovers? Look no further than this Small Batch Chocolate Frosting! Makes enough to frost 6 cupcakes or one 6 inch cake.
Happy Monday! How about a big bowl of Small Batch Chocolate Frosting to get your week started? Seriously – don’t you just want to dive in?!
I admit it feels a tad bit strange sharing frosting as its own post. It’s not really a recipe you’d make by itself, but it is essential to learn if you love to bake.
Now you can directly bookmark my small batch chocolate frosting for any flavor of cake or cupcake you want. I have a ton of homemade frosting recipes on my site, but they’re usually overshadowed with another recipe. I’m going to start posting them as their own mini-series.
What makes my chocolate frosting special? You make only what you need.
How many times have you made buttercream frosting, only to have a ton leftover? Unless you have plans to make another cake, you end up throwing out said extra frosting. All that butter, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar wasted.
That’s why I set out to make a small batch of chocolate buttercream. Just the right amount of frosting for most small batch cakes without having to throw it away.
Let’s talk about how to make chocolate frosting. This version uses unsweetened cocoa powder instead of baking chocolate. That means it’s super easy to throw together because you don’t have to melt chocolate.
The yield for this frosting recipe will vary depending on what you’re making:
- If you’re piping cupcakes, you can frost between 6-8 cupcakes, depending on how tall you make the swirls.
- If you’re frosting 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 a 6 inch cake, you can frost the top and edges with about a spoonful or two left over, depending on how thick you like it.
- If you’re frosting an 8 inch cake, you can still 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 small two layer cake, you can frost the middle and top. Frosting the edges will depend on how much you’ve used so far. You can always leave it as a naked cake with the edges showing.
Cake Recipes For Your Small Batch Frosting
As much fun as it is to eat frosting with a spoon, chances are you need small cake recipes too. That’s why I wrote my 6 Inch Cake Recipes and Small Batch Cupcake Recipes guides.
Chocolate frosting is paired perfectly with my small yellow cake and small batch yellow cupcakes.
If you’re feeling extra chocolatey, use it for my small chocolate cake and small batch chocolate cupcakes.
In the mood for contrast? Pair chocolate with small vanilla cake and small batch vanilla cupcakes.
More Small Batch Frosting Recipes
Don’t want to make chocolate buttercream? Here are more small batch frosting recipe guidesmall batch frosting recipes you can make:
- Small Batch Buttercream Frosting
- Strawberry Buttercream
- Small Batch Cream Cheese Frosting
- Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
- Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting
Small Batch German Chocolate Cake Frosting
Equipment you may need (affiliate links):
Small Batch Chocolate Frosting
Looking for the best chocolate buttercream recipe without leftovers? Look no further than this Small Batch Chocolate Frosting!
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt until smooth and creamy, about 1-2 minutes.
- Scrape the bowl down with a rubber spatula. Add the vanilla and cream.
- Finish beating in the remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Beat for another 1-2 minutes or until light and fluffy.
If the frosting is too thick, add more cream. If the frosting is too thin, add more powdered sugar.
- Enjoyed this recipe? Check out my full list of Small Batch Frosting Recipes, including vanilla, strawberry, and more.
- Need cake ideas? Check out my full list of Small Cake Recipes and Small Batch Cupcake Recipes.
This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchase.
I looove how chocolatey this frosting looks!
Is it 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder? Just want to make sure.
Yes, it’s 1/4 cup. Thanks for catching that!
Do you have a small batch buttercream frosting recipe?
Great question! I don’t have one published separately, but what you would do is follow this recipe minus the cocoa powder. If it’s not thick enough, add more powdered sugar in 1/4 cup increments until desired consistency.
Can you use milk I’d you don’t have heavy whipping cream?
Yes, it may not be *as* creamy, but I think you’ll still be happy with the results!
I used 2% milk and thought it was still quite fluffy and creamy!!
Good to know – thank you!
This is a fabulous recipe ! The use of heavy whipping cream in lieu of milk adds such a nice fluffy texture while still being able to pipe with. It’s now our family’s new favourite.. thanks for sharing this !
Yes, the heavy cream has a touch more fat than milk, so I prefer using it in my frosting. Glad you enjoyed it, Karri!
I am always wary making recipes I find on blogs as it seems they are not thoroughly tested or ingredients and ratios are a bit off. This recipe is the exception! The chocolate frosting is probably the best I’ve made! I’m also really picky about butter creams. The frosting was absolutely perfect following the directions as written-it wasn’t too stiff, wasn’t too soft, it was seriously just perfect. Spread beautifully. The taste is fantastic too. I was secretly hoping there would be more than enough to frost my 6in cake so that I could just eat the rest! I made the 6in chocolate cake for two as well. If the cake is as good as the frosting I may just eat the whole thing!
(Will update cake comment when we dig into the cake tonight for my husbands birthday!)
Thank you for such a great recipe! Definitely a keeper
Oh wonderful! Happy to hear you loved the frosting and hope you love the cake as well.
Made this today, sooo good. Thanks!
Wonderful! Thanks for the feedback.
Frosting is DELICIOUS! Just made the 6 inch vanilla cake and frosted with this and I’m in heaven!
Happy you enjoyed it! Chocolate and vanilla sound great together.
Very yummy!! Oh so chocolaty too! Love that its not super sweet.
Happy to hear you enjoyed it!
THE BEST butter cream ever!!!!
Would you have a recipe for small batch peanut butter frosting?
Yes! Here is the link: https://www.chocolatemoosey.com/2020/05/07/small-batch-peanut-butter-frosting/
Any way I can mix in some chopped semi-sweet chocolate bars for more depth of flavor? Maybe make a ganache out of it and mix it into the final frosting in step 3? What handmixer speed would I use to do that?
Are you asking if you can use melted chocolate instead of cocoa powder? Or do you mean chopped up pieces for texture?
1 – If you stir in chopped up pieces, you will need to spread on the frosting rather than pipe onto cupcakes. The pieces will get stuck in the piping bag.
2 – If you want to use melted chocolate, you can beat it into the butter and sugar. However, you need to make sure it’s not too hot or the frosting will split.
3 – I actually have done ganache frosting before. This recipe makes a full batch, but I have directions written here: https://www.chocolatemoosey.com/2013/05/07/roasted-banana-cupcakes-with-peanut-butter-ganache-frosting/
Actually you hit on exactly what I am trying to do — make a ganache frosting. And your frosting looks great except I’m making a 6” 2-layer yellow cake. Would I need to make changes to the ingredient quantities if I omitted the peanut butter and made enough for the cake? Also, I read in your recipe that the ganache needs to cool — but wouldn’t it be too hard to mix the butter into by then?
Thanks for your fast response!
I haven’t made it like that, but best guess: Increase the butter to 8 tablespoons. It also depends on whether you’re covering the entire cake or just the filling and top (like a naked cake). If you’re doing the top and sides, I would make the full amount. If you’re only doing the filling and top, you can probably cut the recipe in half.
As for the cooled ganache, it won’t be too hard. If you try beating the butter while the ganache is hot, the butter will split and you’ll end up with a grainy frosting.
I’ll be fully dressing the cake so I’ll use the full amount in the recipe. So basically drop the peanut butter and increase the amount of unsalted butter to 8 tbsp, leaving the other ganache ingredients as is?
Made this last night to go on a small batch chocolate cake because I was in a mood and needed chocolate. Well last night it was good and I had a chunk of cake and thought this is a keeper. This morning after cleaning around the house I decided on a forkful cause let’s face it, clean house so I deserved it. It was amazing today. Creamy, perfectly chocolate without the cloying sweetness of some frosting. My new go to for any cake topping.
Glad you enjoyed the frosting! Definitely a great reward after a day of cleaning.
This frosting is so tasty and pipes beautifully but mine came out a much lighter color than yours. What type/brand of cocoa powder do you use that results in that deep chocolate color?
I used Baker’s Corner natural cocoa from ALDI.
Thanks for answering so quickly! Strange that my frosting was so much lighter because I used the same brand of cocoa. Love ALDI! Perhaps I measured lightly. It was delicious though.
Hmm that’s weird! I didn’t do anything special in editing or anything.
i just made this..i think the longer you beat it the lighter it gets..mine is light also..and i let it beat quite awhile..seems i read that somewhere also
this was the absolute best i have ever tried..creamy smooth not too sweet ..perfect..i’m 76 so have tried a lot of recipes..i will be passing this on..ty ty ty
This recipe was so quick easy and delicious!! My family was very pleased!
Thank you for sharing this.
Happy to hear you enjoyed the frosting recipe!