Cocoa Frosting

vanilla with cocoa frostingRecently, I searched for a chocolate frosting that wasn’t buttercream, but rather a richer, more complex flavor. I found this recipe on the Hershey’s website and adapted it slightly to incorporate a greater amount of vanilla extract (as always) and a bit more powdered sugar for texture purposes.

This frosting smells delicious, very like a cup of hot cocoa. I paired it with vanilla cupcakes but I can see it as a good match for almond, white, chocolate, or strawberry cupcakes. It is very easy to pipe and has a smooth texture, so you can use star tips or plain tips, whatever your decorative sensibilities may be.

The recipe below yielded enough frosting for 12 miniature cupcakes and 11 regular-sized cupcakes, so I’d recommend increasing the ingredients by half to accommodate 24 cupcakes.


  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine melted butter and cocoa powder. Beat on low speed for about 1 minute, then increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes more.

Add 1 cup powdered sugar and beat on low speed, then add about half of the milk, continuing to beat on low speed, until combined. Follow with another cup powdered sugar and remainder of milk, beating on low until combined. Add remaining powdered sugar, then vanilla, beating until frosting is creamy and spreadable, but not too thin. You may need to add just a bit more powdered sugar if your frosting is too thin to be piped easily through a piping bag.

Fit a piping bag with a medium star tip and pipe frosting onto cupcakes. Store in the refrigerator, but bring to room temperature before serving.


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