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How to make chocolate buttercream frosting that is not too sweet!

Not Too Sweet Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • Author: Erin Browne
  • Total Time: 10 mins


An easy American chocolate buttercream that's not too sweet!  Perfect for frosting cakes and cupcakes without causing your dessert to be too cloying.


  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1-3 TBS heavy cream


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer), whip the butter until creamy.
  2. Add the melted and cooled chocolate and mix until combined.
  3. With the mixer on low, add the powdered sugar a little at a time and mix until mostly combined, scraping the bowl as needed.
  4. Add the vanilla extract, pinch of salt and 1 TBS of the heavy cream. Increase mixer speed and whip until fully combined and starting to get a little fluffy.
  5. If needed, add more cream, 1 TBS at a time, until desired consistency is reached.


  • Equipment Recommendations:  7-speed hand mixer, Ghirardelli unsweetened chocolate
  • Yield: One recipe will create enough frosting for a single layer 8-inch square sheet cake. Double for a layer cake or for a 9x13 single layer sheet cake.  Triple or quadruple the recipe if you need even more - make as much or as little as you need!
  • You can use bittersweet chocolate instead of unsweetened, but bittersweet chocolate does have a little sugar in it.
  • You can use any milk, but I recommend heavy cream as it is thick and has little to no sugar, so it won't add any extra sweetness to the frosting.
  • 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.
  • If your frosting is too thin, add a little extra powdered sugar.  If it's too thick, add more cream.
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 5 mins
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