This hot chocolate buttercream frosting is perfect for the holidays or winter time. It’s delicious on chocolate cupcakes and so cute with sprinkles and mini marshmallows added.
Have you ever made chocolate frosting with hot cocoa mix? It’s really fun and easy as long as you add in a bit of cocoa powder and know some tips.
You can make this hot cocoa frosting any time you want a special wintery treat. This recipe will make enough to cover about 24 cupcakes, a 13×9 inch cake, or an 8 inch, two-layer round cake.
Hey there! Before you scroll, there’s lot’s of important stuff in the post!…including the FAQ section, which may answer any questions you might have about this recipe. Enjoy!
This buttercream is made with hot cocoa mix and cocoa powder. (We’ll get to the ingredient notes below in a bit.)
It’s on the sweeter side, so if you like sweet, chocolatey buttercream, then this is for you. These cupcakes are amazing on chocolate cupcakes. You can grab my recipe at this link: Best Chocolate Cupcakes
Now let’s go through just a few of the important ingredients in this buttercream.
Hot cocoa mix: Well you can’t have hot chocolate icing without actual hot cocoa, right? So, to make this buttercream, you’ll need a packet of hot chocolate mix. You’ll just need one packet, so you can save the others for actual hot cocoa.
The type of hot chocolate mix doesn’t really matter, but you’ll need to get the mix that doesn’t contain marshmallows.
Unsalted butter: You’ll use unsalted butter for this recipe so you can control the amount of salt better. Using salted butter could unintentionally add in too much salt.
Unsweetened cocoa powder: Just adding in the hot chocolate mix won’t add enough chocolate flavor, so you’ll need to add in cocoa powder as well. Make sure you use the unsweetened cocoa powder…not the drink mix though.
Don’t forget, the full list of ingredients with instructions is in the recipe card below.
Mixing Method Notes:
Let’s talk a little about the mixing method. (The exact instructions are in the recipe card below.)
This buttercream mixes up easily and quickly. Just make sure you dissolve the cocoa mix in the hot water and allow it to cool before adding to the buttercream mixture.
You’ll add the confectioner’s sugar in two parts…mainly to keep things from getting too messy on you.
You’ll also want to whip up the buttercream at a higher speed for a few minutes at the end to make it nice and fluffy.
Tips & FAQs:
You can use any brand you like, just make sure to get the kind without marshmallows.
Use real butter and not margarine. You’ll also want to use unsalted butter, not salted butter. If you use salted butter, the buttercream could end up being too salty.
If you only have access to salted butter, go ahead and use that, but omit the other salt that the recipe calls for.
Adding in the unsweetened cocoa powder will give it the extra chocolate boost it needs. The hot cocoa mix won’t be quite enough chocolate. Unsweetened cocoa powder is different than hot cocoa mix and can be found on the baking aisle.
Confectioner’s sugar and powdered sugar are the same things.
You’ll need to set it aside and let it cool down before adding it to your buttercream mixture.
Don’t microwave the butter to get it warmer, just set it out ahead of time. Microwaving can cause it to warm up unevenly and may cause hot spots. The buttercream could end up too liquidy, or the butter may even separate and that could cause problems as well.
Mixing the buttercream on medium-high for a couple of minutes will give you a nice fluffy chocolate buttercream.
You may have added in too much liquid or the butter was melted when you made it. Make sure that you’re only adding in the amount of hot water called for in the recipe and not making a cup of hot cocoa and adding it, that would be too much liquid.
This recipe will make enough buttercream to top about 24 cupcakes, a 13×9 inch cake, or a two-layer, 8 inch round cake.
Store this buttercream in the fridge, covered for up to a week.
No, this recipe can be made using a hand mixer. You don’t have to use a stand mixer.
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Ok, let’s get to the recipe!
Note About How I Write Recipes: I write recipes using volume (cups) measurements because here in the U.S., this is what people are more familiar with and I don’t want anyone to feel intimidated when baking. For metric measurements, click the ‘metric’ button under the ingredients in the recipe card below. The weights are converted by a program, not me, and it’s just a best guess. Please note that because I develop recipes using volume measurements, I can’t guarantee that weighing the ingredients will produce the exact same results.
Hot Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- Add the packet of hot cocoa mix to a mug or bowl and add in the hot water. (Make sure not to make an entire cup of hot chocolate. Only add the 3 tablespoons of very hot water.) Mix well. Set in the fridge to cool down while you make the rest of the buttercream.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth and creamy.
- Add in the unsweetened cocoa powder and beat on low until combined, then on medium until well incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again.
- Add in the cooled hot cocoa mixture and vanilla extract, then beat on medium until well combined.
- Add in 3 cups of confectioners sugar and salt. Beat on low until combined, then on medium until fully incorporated.
- Add the last 3 cups of confectioners sugar. Beat on low until combined, then on medium until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat again until smooth.
- Check the consistency. If it's too thick, add milk only a tablespoon at a time, and beat after each addition until the desired consistency is reached.
- Once all the ingredients are added and mixed well, beat on medium/high for a couple minutes until light and fluffy.
- Pipe onto cupcakes or spread onto cake layer.
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