You have made the chocolate cake or buns, and then it is time to ice. Which icing to choose is always a dilemma so why not opt for this super easy Chocolate Buttercream? This recipe creates a luxuriously silky topping as it uses real dark chocolate which not only adds to flavour but the texture too.
If dark chocolate is too overpowering a flavour for you, or the cake is for children, you may want to look at the options below the recipe for alternatives.
- 200g/6 oz soft butter, room temperature but not too warm
- 200g/6 oz icing/powder sugar
- 2 tbsp milk
- Dash of vanilla extract
- 160g / 6 oz dark chocolate (at least 55% cocoa solids (see other options below)
- Cut the butter into small pieces and place with the icing sugar into a large bowl and cream together with either an electric hand whisk, in a stand mixer with a hand whisk until light and fluffy.
- Meanwhile, break the chocolate into small pieces. Place the chocolate pieces in a bowl over a pan of simmering water to melt. It is important that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the boiling water or the heat will be too intense and could cause the chocolate to become grainy; if this happens, it cannot be undone.
- Once the chocolate is melted, stir with a wooden (never metal) spoon and place to one side.
- Add the milk and vanilla extract to the creamed butter and sugar mixture, and mix thoroughly using a spoon or a hand whisk to create a smooth, silky cream.
- Finally, carefully add the melted chocolate and beat furiously until the cream becomes light, silky and shiny.
- The cream can be used immediately on cold cakes or buns (do not put on to warm cakes or it will melt). If using later, the cream will harden. Beat again to soften the cream when you are ready to use. The finished cream also freezes well.
Other Flavours for Buttercream Icing
The buttercream recipe above is a classic combination but there are other flavours you can use.
- For a real grown-up chocolate icing, use a 70% plus cocoa solid chocolate.
- Intense dark chocolate can be too bitter for children so use a less strong one instead. If using milk chocolate be careful when melting as this type of chocolate is less stable than the darker.
- For coloured icing, omit the chocolate and use a gel colouring. Gels work better in this recipe as they will not change the consistency of the cream. They are very powerful in colour so start by adding small amounts and increase the drops until you have the colour you prefer.