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Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

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Just when you though cream cheese frosting couldn’t get any better, chocolate got involved and took it to the next level. It is silky smooth, really creamy and perfect in pretty much every way.

Piece of chocolate zucchini cake topped with smooth creamy chocolate cream cheese frosting.

This easy frosting recipe has the tang of regular cream cheese frosting with just the right amount of chocolate flavor. It is the perfect way to top your favorite cakes and cupcakes.

If you believe the frosting makes the cake, you are my kind of people! I love playing with different flavors and textures of frosting.

There are an unlimited number of options out there, and I want to try them all. So when making a chocolate zucchini cake the other day, I could have very easily whipped up our favorite chocolate buttercream.

Beaters from an electric mixer held up with creamy chocolate cream cheese frosting in them.

And honestly that would have tasted amazing. But for some reason adding zucchini to the cake made me think of how lovely carrot cake and classic cream cheese frosting go together and I wanted to do the most chocolaty spin on that imaginable.

But don’t limit this frosting’s use to zucchini cake. It would be perfect on buttery yellow cakes, chocolate cupcakes, or your favorite chocolate cake recipe as well.

Making the Best Homemade Frosting

Luckily this easy chocolate cream cheese frosting recipe only takes 6 ingredients to make. It is super simple to do, but there are a couple of tips that will almost guarantee success.

Chocolate cream cheese frosting ingredients.

The first is to make sure your butter and cream cheese are nice and softened before you start. If they are chilled, there is an increased risk of lumps in your frosting.

While that really isn’t the end of the world, it does make for a suboptimal frosting experience and we are going for creamy frosting perfection here. So make sure they are at room temperature before you get started.

Mixing bowl filled with smooth chocolate cream cheese frosting.

Now beat the butter and cream cheese together until they are fluffy and smooth. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl and the beats a few times to make sure there are no lumps hiding anywhere.

I don’t usually sift my powdered sugar or cocoa powder. However, if you look at either and see clumps, you may want to sift it before you add it to the bowl.

You can adjust the sweetness and color of the frosting by adding more or less cocoa powder. Most frosting recipes are forgiving, so you can make them your own.

Spreading chocolate cream cheese frosting over baked chocolate zucchini cake.

However I think the recipe as written below has the perfect balance of cream cheese and chocolate flavor. So maybe try it that way before you make changes.

I used regular cocoa powder in these pictures. If you want a dark chocolate frosting, you can try using dark cocoa powder or dutch cocoa powder.

Whole 9x13-inch cake covered with smooth chocolate cream cheese icing.

I tend to reach for my hand mixer when making cream cheese frosting. Of course a stand mixer works too. The paddle attachment will give you fluffy frosting without making big air bubbles.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I avoid runny cream cheese frosting?

Make sure you are using block cream cheese and not cream cheese spread. There is a difference in texture that will affect your final frosting. Also, you want to use full-fat cream cheese for the best creamy texture and tangy flavor

Is it best to use salted butter or unsalted butter in frosting?

I have had great success using either, so use whatever you have on hand. If you are using unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt to the recipe to help add balance. If you are using salted, omit any extra salt or taste the frosting before adding more.

If you want to learn more about the different types of frosting, be sure to check out my frosting 101 guide. It will help you distinguish between buttercream frosting and cooked, plus help you determine if you want French, German, Swiss, Russian or Italian. There are so many options out there!

Piece of chocolate zucchini cake topped with smooth creamy chocolate cream cheese frosting.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Servings: 12 Servings (Enough to generously frost a 9×13″ cake)
Author: Carlee
This creamy chocolate cream cheese frosting is made from simple ingredients but has big flavor. It is the perfect topping for everything from a classic yellow cake to a rich chocolate cake. It has the perfect amount of cream cheese tang and chocolate. If your sweet tooth is acting up, you may be tempted to eat it straight from the mixing bowl!
4.91 from 10 ratings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • ½ cup butter soft
  • 8 oz. full fat cream cheese soft
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 Tablespoons milk


  • In a large bowl, beat the room temperature cream cheese and butter together until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Be sure the scrape the sides of the bowl a few times along the way.
    1/2 cup butter, 8 oz. full fat cream cheese
  • Add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla, mixing on low speed until combined.
    3 cups powdered sugar, 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Stir in a Tablespoon of milk. Add a little bit more milk if necessary to get the desired texture.
    1-2 Tablespoons milk
  • Spread over cooled cake or cupcakes right away or chill first for a thicker consistency.
  • Cream cheese frosting can hold at room temperature for several hours, but should be refrigerated for longer storage.


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 257kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 2gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 122mgFiber: 1gSugar: 28g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Cooking With Carlee” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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4.91 from 10 votes (10 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating


Friday 24th of June 2022

I can't wait to make this! It sounds like a frosting dream!


Friday 24th of June 2022

It is so good!