How to Make Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting (video)

a close up of a vanilla cupcake topped with chocolate cream cheese frosting, on a table

Learn how to make the best, rich and creamy chocolate cream cheese frosting! It’s perfect for decorating cakes, cupcakes, and for filling macarons and desserts. This incredible dark chocolate frosting recipe is one of my favorites! I make it with a combination of butter, cream cheese, dark chocolate, dark cocoa powder, and coffee to intensify the chocolate flavor. It’s also incredibly delicious and aromatic! You’ll love this easy frosting recipe. I use this frosting with my ‘Dark Chocolate Cake’ recipe!

Watch Chocolate Frosting Video Tutorial

For step-by-step instructions, watch my YouTube chocolate frosting video tutorial. I share tons of tips and tricks for making the best frosting. Want to stay up to date on the latest recipes? Make sure to subscribe to my website emailing list and my YouTube channel and turn on notifications.

Ingredients for Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Another great reason to make this frosting – it’s made with simple staple ingredients that you’re sure to have in your pantry. Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe. Find the full printable list and instructions in the recipe card below. (Amazon Affiliate Links)

  • Unsalted Butter: use only unsalted butter for baking and frostings! This way, you’ll be able to control the amount of salt in the recipe.
  • Cream Cheese: any brand of cream cheese will work great for this recipe. I usually purchase the store brands.
  • Instant Coffee: adding coffee helps intensify the chocolate flavor without adding coffee flavor. You won’t taste the coffee!
  • Confectioner’s Sugar: I recommend using a fresh bag of powdered sugar every time since this type of sugar absorbs moisture very quickly and can form clumps, making the frosting grainy.
  • Dark Baking Chocolate: I like these Guittard 63% Extra Dark Chocolate Chips, but any brand of extra dark chocolate will work great.
  • Dark Cocoa Powder: I used Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder. It’s a very intense cocoa powder, adding lots of flavor.
various frosting ingredients, including chocolate chips and butter, on a marble table

Softening the Butter & Cream Cheese

The most important step for making this chocolate frosting happens before you start the recipe! Softening the butter and cream cheese properly is very crucial for optimal results.

  • Remove the butter and cream cheese from the refrigerator approximately 45 minutes before beginning the recipe. Set them onto your kitchen counter to soften.
  • The butter and cream cheese should be just slightly softened but still have a firm core. Do not use melted butter!
  • If the butter or cheese is too soft, the frosting will stay flat and greasy.

Melting the Chocolate

I love to use a combination of melted chocolate and cocoa powder to make this chocolate cream cheese frosting extra rich and chocolatey. Here are some tips of melting and using the chocolate.

  • Place the chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and heat the chocolate on a medium power setting to avoid burning the chocolate. Stir it every 45 seconds until the chocolate is smooth and creamy.
  • Allow the chocolate to cool slowly at room temperature, stirring it occasionally. Do not add hot melted chocolate into the frosting! This will melt the butter, making the frosting too soft.
a plate with dollops of chocolate frosting on a table

Preparing the Instant Coffee

Coffee and chocolate go together hand in hand, especially when it comes to baking! Coffee helps intensify the chocolate flavor in this chocolate frosting, so I highly recommend adding it, even if you don’t enjoy coffee. You wont taste it in the frosting.

  • To prepare the instant coffee flavoring, place the instant coffee into a small ramekin and pour over the boiling water. Stir until the coffee is completely dissolved.
  • Allow this concentrated coffee to cool completely; you can place it into the refrigerator to cool faster. Do not add hot coffee into the frosting!

How to Make Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Here’s how to make this incredible Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting!

  1. Place the softened butter into a stand mixer bowl with the flat beater attached. A hand mixer will also work well but will require extra mixing time. Beat the butter on medium then high speed for about 4 minutes, until it’s light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl midway.
  2. Next, add the cream cheese. Continue mixing on medium-high speed for another 4 minutes, until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Add in the cooled coffee, vanilla extract, and heavy cream next and mix for about 30 seconds; briefly, just until the extract is incorporated.
  4. Next, add in the cocoa powder, cooled melted chocolate, and salt. Mix again for about 30 seconds.
  5. Finally, add in the confectioner’s sugar. Start the mixer out on a slow speed to keep the sugar from flying everywhere, then increase the speed to ‘high’ and beat for 3 to 4 minutes, until the frosting is extra fluffy. It will start to become lighter in color, too as it mixes.

Help! My frosting is too soft!

If your cream cheese frosting is too soft and not pipeable, simply place the mixing bowl into the refrigerator and allow the frosting to chill for about an hour. Give it a mix for about a minute on low speed once its chilled, then use.

If the frosting is completely melted, set the bowl into the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours, or overnight, then mix again.

a plate with dollops of chocolate frosting, on a table

Storing the Chocolate Frosting

Once the frosting is ready, you can use it immediately for decorating your cake, cupcakes or for filling desserts. If you want to store it for later, simply transfer it into an airtight container first. This frosting will stand it the refrigerator for up 1 week, or in the freezer for 1 month.

This chocolate cream cheese frosting is a great for making ahead of time, too! I like to make it the day before and let it chill overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, or whenever you’re ready to use it, remove the chocolate frosting from the refrigerator about 1 hour prior to using it to allow the frosting to soften. Mix it again with a spatula and it’s ready to go!

Using the Frosting for Baking

You’ll love this frosting recipe for your next dessert creation! Here are some ideas for using this chocolate frosting. Simply replace the original frosting in the following recipes with my new chocolate cream cheese frosting for a new twist!

  • The Best Dark Chocolate Cake – decadent, rich and extra chocolatey, dark chocolate cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting and chocolate ganache!
a dark chocolate cake garnished with frosting and chocolate squares, on a cake stand
The Best Dark Chocolate Cake Recipe
coconut cake with chocolate frosting and chocolate ganache, with espresso cups
German Chocolate Cake
A chocolate coffee cake sitting on a cake stand, with a cake slice on the table
Chocolate Coffee Cake
  • Chocolate Toffee Cupcakes
  • Vanilla Cupcakes – I used my ‘Basic Vanilla Cake’ recipe to make the vanilla cupcakes featured in this post. Prepare half the recipe for 8 to 10 cupcakes. Bake them at 350F for 18 to 20 minutes.

More Recipes!

This chocolate cream cheese frosting recipe is part of my ‘Back to Cake Basics’ series. In this special series, I share all the basic cake, frosting and filling recipes I use often for my recipes. Check out some of my other recipes you’re sure to enjoy!

  • How to Make French Buttercream: one of my personal favorites! This creamy and smooth buttercream is made with egg yolks, sugar syrup and butter, and can be made in any flavor.
  • Classic Cream Cheese Frosting: my original recipe for cream cheese frosting and a top recipe on my website! This recipe is a true classic and great for many desserts.
  • Classic Chocolate Buttercream: a rich and creamy chocolate buttercream frosting, also made with melted chocolate and cocoa powder.
  • Chocolate Sponge Cake: a moist and fluffy chocolate cake recipe that will pair perfectly with this frosting recipe!

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How to Make Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting (video)

20 mins prep + 0 mins cook + 45 mins Softening Time
5 cups
Learn how to make the best chocolate cream cheese frosting for cakes, cupcakes and desserts. This dark chocolate frosting is creamy and delicious!

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups unsalted butter
  • 16 oz cream cheese, two, 8-oz packages
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee
  • 1 tbsp boiling water
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt
  • 1 cup extra dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 4 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

Softening the Butter & Cheese:

  • The most important step for making this chocolate frosting happens before you start the recipe! Softening the butter and cream cheese properly is very crucial for optimal results. If the butter or cheese is too soft, the frosting will stay flat and greasy.
  • Remove the butter and cream cheese from the refrigerator approximately 45 minutes before beginning the recipe. Set them onto your kitchen counter to soften. The butter and cream cheese should be just slightly softened but still have a firm core. Do not use melted butter!

Melting the Chocolate:

  • Next, prepare the melted chocolate. Place the chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and heat the chocolate on a medium power setting to avoid burning the chocolate. Stir it every 45 seconds until the chocolate is smooth and creamy.
  • Allow the chocolate to cool slowly at room temperature, stirring it occasionally. Do not add hot melted chocolate into the frosting! This will melt the butter, making the frosting too soft.

Preparing the Coffee:

  • To prepare the instant coffee flavoring, place the instant coffee into a small ramekin and pour over the boiling water. Stir until the coffee is completely dissolved.
  • Allow this concentrated coffee to cool completely; you can place it into the refrigerator to cool faster. Do not add hot coffee into the frosting!

Making the Frosting:

  • Place the softened butter into a stand mixer bowl with the flat beater attached. A hand mixer will also work well but will require extra mixing time. Beat the butter on medium then high speed for about 4 minutes, until it’s light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl midway.
  • Next, add the cream cheese. Continue mixing on medium-high speed for another 4 minutes, until the mixture is smooth.
  • Add in the cooled coffee, vanilla extract, and heavy cream next and mix for about 30 seconds; briefly, just until the extract is incorporated.
  • Next, add in the cocoa powder, cooled melted chocolate, and salt. Mix again for about 30 seconds.
  • Finally, add in the confectioner’s sugar. Start the mixer out on a slow speed to keep the sugar from flying everywhere, then increase the speed to ‘high’ and beat for 3 to 4 minutes, until the frosting is extra fluffy. It will start to become lighter in color, too as it mixes.

Storing & Using the Frosting:

  • If your cream cheese frosting is too soft and not pipeable, simply place the mixing bowl into the refrigerator and allow the frosting to chill for about an hour. Give it a mix for about a minute on low speed once its chilled, then use.
  • Once the frosting is ready, you can use it immediately for decorating your cake, cupcakes or for filling desserts. If you want to store it for later, simply transfer it into an airtight container first. This frosting will stand it the refrigerator for up 1 week, or in the freezer for 1 month.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 1578kcal | Carbohydrates: 126g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 119g | Saturated Fat: 77g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 28g | Trans Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 304mg | Sodium: 463mg | Potassium: 550mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 110g | Vitamin A: 3579IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 237mg | Iron: 2mg