Not Too Sweet Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

A classic American buttercream – butter and powdered sugar mixed with flavorings – is the most basic and easy frosting there is. The problem with this type of frosting is its tendency to become way too sweet, resulting in more of a sugar bomb than a delightful pairing with your cakes and cupcakes.

A couple of years ago I discovered using completely unsweetened melted chocolate in my chocolate buttercream and my frosting game has changed forever. Starting with a bitter chocolate allows it to come into balance with the sugar without being overpowered with sweetness. The result is a perfect, creamy buttercream with a strong chocolate flavor and no gritty texture.

Come back tomorrow for the recipe for this easy yellow cake that is the perfect size for a weekend dessert. This is one of those cake recipes you’ll want to print and keep in your recipe binders forever and ever, so don’t miss it! Enjoy!

Not Too Sweet Chocolate Buttercream Frosting


Author: Erin Browne

Prep time:

5 mins

Cook time:

5 mins

Total time:

10 mins


  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled*
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar**
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1-2 TBS whole milk or cream


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the butter until creamy. Add the melted chocolate and mix until combined. With the mixer on low, add the powdered sugar a little at a time until mostly combined. Add the vanilla extract and pinch of salt and 1 TBS of the milk or cream. Increase mixer speed and whip until fully combined and starting to get a little fluffy. If needed, add the second TBS of milk or cream to reach desired consistency.
  2. A single recipe will create enough frosting for an 8-inch square sheet cake. Double for a layer cake or for a 9x13 sheet cake.


*You can melt the chocolate in a bowl in the microwave at 50% power in 30-40 second bursts, stirring well after each one and being careful not to overheat. You can also use a double boiler on the stovetop.

**I recommend sifting the powdered sugar first and then spooning it into your measuring cup and leveling it off the top using your finger or a butter knife.


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Not Too Sweet Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Not Too Sweet Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Reviewed by Cake Lover on February 05, 2018 Rating: 5
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