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Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

by Emma on January 23, 2012

in Dessert

I made my own birthday cake. Of course I did. Didn’t ask, just told my mom I was going to bring it over for the family birthday dinner.

I honestly thought about what kind of birthday cake I wanted to make for a whole week. I had it narrowed down to three different options, all pretty complicated. And, I don’t know, sometimes you have a moment where you think, “why am I making things so hard on myself?”

Moment of clarity.

You know what I mean? Where you think, what I really want to do is sleep in then go out and get coffee (yes, I can and do make coffee at home, but sometimes you want to go out) and then come home and make a simple but delicious cake and be done with it.

I also realized that I didn’t actually have a chocolate buttercream recipe in my archives yet.


Yeah, I know. It’s pretty essential. So I made a yellow buttermilk cake with a chocolate buttercream frosting. And it was good. Oh-and thank you all for the warm birthday wishes yesterday. You are too too kind. Thank you!

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting, makes around 3 cups (maybe a touch less)

Needed: 1  cup (two sticks) softened butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 3 cups powder sugar, 1/2 cup cocoa powder (use the best kind you can get), a pinch of salt and 5 tablespoons cream (I used half and half, you could use heavy cream or milk if you prefer).

Cream together the butter and vanilla. In a separate bowl sift together the powder sugar, cocoa and salt (I skipped the sifting and my frosting was a bit more grainy in texture than it really needed to be, so sift. Don’t be lazy like me.). Add the sugar/cocoa mixture 1/2 cup at a time to the butter, beating and scraping down the sides of the bowl in between. After you’ve added all the sugar/cocoa add in the cream (all at once is fine) and beat until frosting looks… well…. like frosting should.

xo. Emma


debbie January 23, 2012 at 6:20 am

oh my goodness…yum. I live for all things chocolate.

eat my shorts January 23, 2012 at 6:23 am

Wiping the drool from my keyboard …

Kristen January 23, 2012 at 6:25 am

Happy birthday. The cake looks so good and chocolatey but love that you put party sprinkles on it, now it’s officially a bd cake.

grace January 23, 2012 at 6:35 am

happy birthday…looks like a great treat!


The life after January 23, 2012 at 6:39 am

So sinful!

The Life After

Bettina January 23, 2012 at 7:22 am

This looks divine. I just started following your blog and love it, especially posts on cake like this! Thanks for the recipe!

Lucy January 23, 2012 at 8:47 am

Happy belated birthday Emma! Your cake looks amazing. x

Gemma January 23, 2012 at 11:26 am


i hope you had a good birthday :)

hannah alehandra January 23, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Looks so good! Buttercream is just the best, perfect and indulgent for the right occasions. Looks delicious mmm.

Jjanga January 23, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Oh my geez! It looks so yummy, you should send me a slice? Pwease!

xoxo, Jjanga

Courtney January 23, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Happy belated birthday! My birthday was on the 12th and I made my own cake as well. I too had grand visions of multi-layered cakes, but ended up making a chocolate beet bundt cake. Hope your birthday was swell!

Jess January 23, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Looks delish!! Love your blog. xo

Kaitlyn January 23, 2012 at 5:00 pm

i’m so saving this to use soon :)

i hope you had a good birthday!

mulia January 23, 2012 at 5:11 pm

my birthday was on friday, one day before yours, and even though I decided to go on holiday, now that I am back home I really want to make a birthday cake! is it weird to make my own birthday cake days after my birthday?! ;)

Bene January 23, 2012 at 10:24 pm

I hope you had a great birthday! That cake reminds me of the smaller version of Miss Trunchballs huge chocolate cake from Matilda. ^.^ It looks might yummy. :)

Chloe January 23, 2012 at 11:46 pm

Butterceam is my favorite! Thank you for sharing!

LARY @ Inspiration Nook January 23, 2012 at 11:51 pm

OMG! it looks delicious! I wish I could have a piece hehe

Jessie January 23, 2012 at 11:54 pm

Happy Belated Birthday!
Your cake looks delicious! I want some RIGHT NOW!
Hope you had an excellent celebration!

NaRi January 24, 2012 at 12:06 am

Yum it looks delicious!

Check out my blog if you want?

julie @ the semi-reformed nerd January 24, 2012 at 12:25 am

Holy. Yum. And I totally get the baking your own birthday cake thing. I do it too. Mainly so I can make extra cream cheese frosting and eat it as the cake bakes.. but you know, that’s just me. ;)

Jen @ pretty plate January 24, 2012 at 2:56 am

Yum-ee !!

Happy Belated!!

: )

Amanda January 24, 2012 at 3:31 am

Nummy nums!!

Looks delicious!!!

Thanks for sharing!

Sienna Rose January 24, 2012 at 3:32 am

Emma! try making the chocolate buttercream the same as your usual buttercream but instead of using regular milk or water (whichever you do) use chocolate milk! it tastes soo good and makes a huge difference. =]

~Sienna Rose

Jenna January 24, 2012 at 5:09 am

Hi Emma! Happy birthday! I recently discovered your blog and am enjoying it so much! Yellow cake with chocolate frosting is my favorite cake and frosting combo! Looks so yummy!

Jenna January 24, 2012 at 5:30 am

oh and PS- I always make my own bday cake! :) I’m vegan and there are no vegan bakeries in my town so it’s up to me. But I don’t mind- i actually prefer making my own! :)

Anna January 24, 2012 at 5:36 am
MsVeve January 24, 2012 at 8:10 am

Cake looks yummy! Happy bday! :) )

terry January 24, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Happy Birthday Emma! Yum Yum, I do love buttercream cakes! Have you every made the cake with heavy cream? What changes in the cake would you notice? Well, any way, I hope you have a wonderful upcoming year! Looking forward to more recipes and crafts… xo Terry

danielle January 24, 2012 at 5:03 pm

This cake is my ALL-THE-TIME first choice. Simple, classic and divine! Looks delicious! Thanks for the recipes!

Katia January 25, 2012 at 12:38 am

I find simple cakes are often the most delicious and satisfying :) Definitely wanting to try this one out!


teddi January 25, 2012 at 1:52 am

yummy yum birthday cake is my favorite thing about birthdays. except, unlike you, i don’t go anywhere near an oven.. guess who had avocado & bean dip with garlic & lime inspired by you? we used garbanzo instead of white beans, & added cumin. it was delish! :)

Eleni Drinks Tea January 26, 2012 at 11:27 am

Happy birthday, lady! Hope you had a wicked day :D

As the Birthday Girl, you absolutely have the right to demand whatever cake you wish, to be made by whomever you wish!

Lisa January 27, 2012 at 10:16 pm

Holy yum! That looks so good!
And I hope you had a good birthday x

Josie January 28, 2012 at 12:52 am

that’s so funny! I think I’ve made my own birthday cake every year since I was about 15. Not because my family isn’t willing to go out a buy me one, but because I just love it! this one looks super yummy:)

Peggy February 3, 2012 at 11:02 pm

I made this last night…well, the frosting. I live in Denver so I won’t stray from my one cake recipe that works here. Anyway, this is THEEE BEST frosting I’ve ever made. Thanks for the delish recipe!!! ps-you’re totally right about sifting:)