This Ultimate Chocolate Frosting is not a recipe that happened over night. I used to HATE frosting actually! My childhood memories of frosting are completely grim. Conventional Chocolate Buttercream piped onto semi-dry sheet cakes with a star tip was a STAPLE at every single birthday party as a kid.
Oh and don’t forget the garnish of chocolate vermicelli sprinkles, glace cherries or the tiny rosettes of dulce de leche! Even though every birthday party had a themed cake, there was always one of these chocolate sheet cakes on standby in the background.
As fond as my memories are of childhood birthday parties, the chocolate sheet cakes are not included in that fondness. That frosting was just too darn sweet. The overwhelming sweetness penetrated into your gills and made your mouth turn skew!
Every time I ate chocolate cake, I hoped this chocolate frosting might taste different, and every time the outcome was the same… I ended up having one tiny bite, proceeded to SCRAPE OFF ALL THE CRAZY-SWEET FROSTING and ate the semi-dry cake on its own instead (which suddenly seemed a whole lot yummier after tasting that awful frosting!). Did anyone else also do this??
In the end I was so opposed to ANY kind of frosting. I had just never tasted a frosting that actually had FLAVOUR of its own. Not just sweet fat to make a dry cake seem less dry. I apologize for the clouds of criticism… I’m just so passionate about flavour 🙂
A Second Date with Frosting
My mother was writing Low Fat Low GI recipe books throughout my school years. The series is called “Eating for Sustained Energy”. The carrot cake recipe is just fantastic! Naturally they had to take a road less traveled when it came to the frosting. Butter is not exactly “low fat” 😀
They also wanted a frosting with less sugar. Problem with buttercream is that you need to add a LOT of sugar to achieve the right consistency and something resembling flavour. Thus, a smooth cottage cheese (which is even lower in fat than cream cheese), was the option they went for.
Finally, a frosting that had a great flavour and didn’t make my head spin from sweetness! A frosting you wanted to eat, as is, with a spoon! The frosting was often a bit temperamental though… If you mixed it too much, it would go runny in seconds. Even so, the flavour and different approach was a great lesson I would draw from in the future.
Ultimate Chocolate Frosting Development
When I started baking part-time in 2012, I kind of avoided frosting. I knew I wouldn’t use buttercream. EVER. And I was honestly too scared to make my mom’s frosting out of fear that it would go runny. I needed something pipe-able.
I realized that cream cheese on its own would be too solid and cheesy tasting, so adding whipped cream would make it lighter. Truly, I had never read about whipped-cream-cream-cheese-frosting before or heard about it or anything! It just seemed like a good idea.
The great thing about cream cheese is that it already has flavour and it’s softer than butter, so you can add WAY less sugar to achieve the right consistency and sweetness. Wonderful!
It worked out PERFECTLY. Easy to pipe, super yummy and it seriously goes with ANY cake.
At this point I was still using chocolate ganache as my chocolate frosting. Although I LOVE ganache, it is a bit intense and heavier – even if you whip it. I wanted something more mellow, but still very chocolate-y.
About 2 years later I was watching another episode of Unique Sweets (all my stories seem to involve this show! LOVE IT!). The crew was visiting The Yellow Leaf Cupcake Co in Seattle, Washington. It is a unique cupcake eatery that makes an INSANE amount of cupcake flavours. Like 150+ flavours! The frosting they use is Swiss Meringue Buttercream (SMBC).
The one cupcake flavour on the episode was the “Tomato Soup Cupcake”, which is a flavour one of the owners had as a kid at every birthday party. Amazing! On top of this cupcake they put chocolate SMBC and it just looked divine.
At that moment I realized that I can easily turn my vanilla cream cheese frosting into a chocolate frosting by adding cocoa powder. I tried it and it was amazing.
One fine day, I didn’t have enough cocoa powder on hand to add to my Chocolate Frosting. I was super upset since Alice Swan and I were having a food photography session that day. I did however have some dark chocolate ganache on hand. Why not just mix it in? The result was insanely delicious!
A blend of cocoa powder and dark chocolate ganache added to vanilla cream cheese frosting was just perfect. Sometimes speed-bumps can turn into unexplored avenues of greatness! So cool!
Photos by Alice Swan
So here is my super classified (until now) Philosophy of Yum Ultimate Chocolate Frosting recipe. I have made it 1000’s of times, refined it and perfected it in my 5 years of full time baking.
I guess if you wanted to be technically correct you could call it whipped-cream-chocolate-ganache-cream-cheese-frosting.
Reasons to make Ultimate Chocolate Frosting:
# It is so flipping DELICIOUS!!! So delicious in fact that it makes you giggle, squirm and dance from the deliciousness.
# My Ultimate Chocolate Frosting contains a staggering 75% – 80% LESS SUGAR than any other frosting, but it is completely sufficiently sweet enough.
# It is actually a whole lot quicker and easier to make than buttercream or traditional cream cheese frosting.
# You don’t need a stand mixer to make this chocolate frosting! A simple electric hand mixer is ideal.
# Because there is no butter in this frosting, it is also 55% lower in fat than any other conventional frosting. What a bargain!!
Let’s get started! My instructions are going to be rather thorough so that there’s little room for error. I really want you to experience the awesomeness of this ultimate chocolate frosting.
- 30 g Whipping Cream with ½ tsp Granulated Sugar
- 40 g Dark Chocolate (at least 65% cocoa solids), chopped
- 80 g Cold Whipping Cream, ±35% fat
- 200 g Cold Medium Fat Cream Cheese (smooth, non-aerated) ±25% fat
- 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 70 g Pure Icing Sugar
- 2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder (Good quality)
- Cold Water
- First make the chocolate ganache. Place chopped chocolate in a ceramic or glass bowl.
- Place 30 g cream and ½ tsp sugar in a saucepan and heat till simmering.
- Add hot cream to chopped dark chocolate. Stir well until fully combined and glossy. Transfer to the fridge to cool down for at least 5 minutes.
- Next make the frosting. Whip cold cream to stiff peaks with an electric hand mixer in a medium mixing bowl.
- Beat in cold Cream Cheese till smooth. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat again till smooth and thickened. About 1 minute.
- Beat in Vanilla and icing sugar. Leave to stand for 2 minutes to that sugar can melt into the cream cheese.
- Beat again till smooth and thick – about 1 minute. Rub a bit of the frosting between your fingers to make sure all the sugar is dissolved. If it is not fully dissolved, leave to stand for another minute, beat it and then test it again.
- The longer you beat the frosting, the thicker it becomes. If it gets a bit runny once the sugar has fully dissolved, just keep beating it in one spot and it will thicken up. After this the “thickness” spreads to the rest of the mixture when you incorporate it.
- Sift the cocoa powder into the mixture and beat to combine. Beat in the cooled chocolate ganache till the frosting is uniform in colour. If you want your frosting even more chocolatey, go ahead and beat in more cocoa powder.
- The frosting will be quite thick at this stage, so I like to thin it out a little. Add 1 Tbsp of water at a time till you reach the desired consistency.
- Signs of my perfect consistency: when you tap the side of the bowl, the frosting jiggles a tiny bit. When you scoop up a spoon, it takes about 2,5 - 3 seconds to drop back into the bowl.
- Stir the chocolate frosting with a spoon to smooth out any air bubbles before transferring to a piping bag or smoothing onto a layer cake.
If you give this recipe a go, tag me on facebook, twitter or instagram #philosophyofyum because I would LOVE to see!
Next time I’ll be sharing a recipe to go with this frosting… a VERY special recipe since it is Philosophy of Yum Blog’s 1 year birthday! 😀