Chocolate frosting can be used on many types of layer cakes, cupcakes, tortes or even as a filling for sandwich cookies if you so wish. Whether you bake occasionally or professionally, having a good recipe for an all-purpose chocolate frosting is essential. What I look for in any chocolate-flavored frosting is the velvety smoothness and sweetness of a good, high-quality piece of chocolate. If the frosting is made with the finest chocolate or cocoa powder, then it will meet with my standard of goodness. The original recipe for this frosting comes from cookbook author Lisa Yockelson. You really ought to visit her blog called Baking Style Diary if you're not familiar with it. I took the liberty of changing the recipe here and there, making adjustments to quantities, while keeping the structure of the frosting intact. Take a look and see just how chocolaty this icing really is.
This is the chocolate frosting. Delicious!
I'm using the finest Belgian chocolate by Callebaut.
Chopping Chocolate the easy way.
I love using big bars of chocolate for baking, especially if they're imported and of the highest quality. The best way to chop this type of chocolate is with a long serrated knife. Simply use enough pressure to break up the bar into shards, trying not to leave any large pieces. Weigh what you need and proceed with the recipe.
- 4 oz. unsweetened chocolate (4 squares), chopped
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 cups confectioner's sugar, spooned in and leveled
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (I use fine sea salt)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or double strength vanilla
- 1/2 cup strong black coffee, room temperature (can substitute milk)
Melt your chocolate in the top of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. The flame should be on low because you don't want the water boiling.
Note: The bowl should NOT be touching the simmering water.
With a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon, begin stirring the chocolate. You will immediately see it melting around the edges of the bowl. Keep the chocolate moving.
After about one minute or so, the entire bowl should begin to look like this. Can you see the smoothness & glossy quality of this fine chocolate? I'm always pleased with Callebaut because they make some of the best chocolate in the entire world. When you see only a few lumps of chocolate left, turn off your flame and remove the bowl from the heat. Whatever you do, do not let any water fall into the melted chocolate or it will seize. Stir the remaining lumps to melt thoroughly and let this entire mixture cool to tepid. I always set the bowl over a small cake rack.
Cream your butter until it is light and smooth. This can be done in a stand mixer, but a handheld one works just as well.
Scrape down your bowl at least once before proceeding.
Add half of your confectioner's sugar, the salt, vanilla extract and the cooled coffee (or milk). Blend this well until it is smooth, about one minute. You should scrape down your bowl once again.
Add the remainder of your confectioner's sugar and whip up on medium speed until it gets glossy and thick, about another minute or two more. At this point you will observe the billowy texture of the buttercream and the heady aroma of coffee.
Add your cooled, melted chocolate into the bowl. Make sure you scrape every bit of chocolate! You want the buttercream to be rich and thick. On medium speed, incorporate the chocolate until it is well blended. This should only take another minute more. I recommend using it immediately. It can, however, be kept at room temperature (provided your kitchen is cool) for about 2 hours if it's well covered.
This yields enough for:
- 8" or 9" two layer cake (fill & frost)
- 6" triple layer cake (frost)
- 24 cupcakes (frosted tops)
This is the texture you want. Perfectly smooth.
How easy was it to make this frosting? Pretty quick if I do say so myself. Whenever I think of chocolate frosting, I go back to my childhood and call to mind the many birthday cakes and school sale cupcakes that mother always made for me and my siblings. Mom was always willing to teach me the ins and outs of baking while growing up. I learned a lot being by her side as an apt kitchen helper and pupil. As I observed and took mental notes, I always eagerly awaited the removal of the mixer beaters for me to enjoy. This chocolate frosting reminds me so much of what mother was to me then and what she is to me now. Wonderfully perfect!