Chocolate Buttercream

When I relaunched my site, I had every intention to stagger my recipes. One cake-related post followed by a “healthier” concoction. But lately I’ve found my afternoons occupied by cake orders. Cake Stand is growing and leading me into the kitchen more than I had anticipated (which is a huge and exciting blessing). While I do plan on making a batch of agave-sweetened banana muffins this afternoon, I thought these cupcakes were too pretty not to share. I brought a dozen over to a party yesterday afternoon, and smartly kept two at home for Ryan and me to enjoy. Many people wonder how we stay so slim with such an array of sweets on our counters. The answer is that we give most of these cakes away now (but that doesn’t mean we don’t ever enjoy a cupcake or two). A healthy diet revolves around moderation.

But before I go any further, I must fully disclose that I have a serious case of baby lust. Many of my friends are embarking on the parenthood journey, and with my older sister due in August, I’m itching for a little one of our own.  I don’t know exactly when this will happen, but it’s on the horizon. I’m seeing a wonderful acupuncturist, eating a lot of avocados and bowls of ice cream, and tabulating lists of boys and girls names.

Because I know so many babies coming into the world and hope to have my own in the near future, I was thrilled when I had the opportunity to visit with Addie Barnett of Diaper Circus. After having her own newborn, Addie realized all the things she wanted in a cloth diaper and set out to make her own. I brought these lovely cupcakes to a Diaper Circus party, and the colorful sprinkles perfectly match the bright and beautiful prints of Addie’s handmade cloth diapers. If you have a little one, or know someone who does, I suggest you visit her site and buy, buy, buy! After sending a few pictures to my sister, Susanne, she sent me back to Addie with an order in hand.

And once you’ve explored her site, I suggest you make a batch of cupcakes with this most thick and luscious chocolate buttercream. While most chocolate cake recipes (yes, even my last chocolate and caramel cake) call for a simple powdered sugar frosting, I make all my wedding cakes with a more traditional buttercream. Egg yolks are used instead of egg whites, which makes this chocolate buttercream rich and creamy, unlike anything you can find at most bakeries or grocery stores. Absent also is the powdered sugar, which means that this chocolate buttercream doesn’t scream sugar. A good thing, especially when you have little ones who might want a bite or two.

Chocolate Buttercream

6 egg yolks

1/2 cup corn syrup (this is NOT high-fructose, so don’t be alarmed)

3/4 cup sugar

4 sticks butter

2 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1. Whip the egg yolks in a large bowl with an electric mixer of medium-high speed until slightly thickened and pale yellow, 4 to 6 minutes.

2. Meanwhile (and really, this has to be done concurrently for the recipe to work), bring the sugar and the corn syrup to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

3. Then, while the sugar mixture is still hot, turn the mixer to low and slowly pour the the warm sugar syrup into the whipped egg yolks without hitting the sides of the bowl or the beaters (this is the hardest part…don’t worry if it isn’t perfect). Increase the mixer to high and whip the mixture until light and fluffy and the bowl is no longer warm to the touch (8-10 minutes).

4. Reduce the mixer to medium-low and add the cocoa powder, vanilla and salt. Gradually add the butter, one piece at a time, until completely incorporated. Increase the mixer to medium-high and whip until the buttercream is smooth and silky, about two minutes. Use immediately or store. The buttercream can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 3 days. Let the buttercream stand at room temperature for 2 hours before rewhipping.


Anecdotes and Apple Cores

48 thoughts on “Chocolate Buttercream

  1. Debbi Hook

    What a marvelous sounding recipe! I can’t wait to give it a try. I never ever considered egg yolks in an icing! Our big complaint with buttercream is always how overwhelmingly sweet it is with the pound of confectioner’s sugar! Thanks :-)

  2. Bonnie

    I love your new blog look! These cupcakes look and sound delicious!! Best wishes to you as you and Ryan start to plan a family.


  3. Jeanne

    This buttercream sounds perfect! And I don’t mind if you keep posting these gorgeous cakes – drooling over them on the computer doesn’t add any more sweets to my diet. 😉 I’m so happy that your new business is blossoming. Have a great week, my friend.

  4. Kateiscooking

    Love the new look, Monet! I’m so glad Cake Stand is taking off for you. And, hopefully, you’ll have happy news on the baby front soon :-) Hugs, Kate

  5. Barbara

    That’s what I do too…either make half recipes or give the food to friends and neighbors. They love me. :)
    Great buttercream, but think I like the caramel-based one better!

    (It’s the oddest thing, but I can’t comment on your site while in Google Chrome.. it keeps telling me I haven’t entered a URL. But when I go to IE, it’s all fine. Weird.)

  6. Leah @ Why Deprive?

    You guys would have the most adorable baby! I can’t wait until I’m in a place where that becomes a possiblity. I know a lot of people find it hard to believe, but I’m quite sure I was born to be a mother, thats like my entire life goal.
    These cupcakes are gorgeous, and I’m so glad your business is growing. That’s so awesome! :)

  7. Becky

    I love your chocolate Butter Cream frosting and all the sprinkles. So happy for you with your growing venture. Enjoy the journey and things to come;)

  8. RavieNomNoms

    Oh Monet! These are so pretty! I love the new look of your blog too! I have been in vacation so this is the first I am seeing it. So nice!

  9. Tina@flourtrader

    This does look like a very viable change from butter cream icing. Sometimes the cake part of cupcakes are just way to rich and need something a little lighter. I am saving this recipe, thanks so much for sharing.
    Lots of things going on in your life Monet and I see there is also a lot more happiness reflected in your blog, glad to see it!

  10. Steph@stephsbitebybite

    I’ve got babay fever too! Especially with SO many bloggers being pregnant, but being pregnant means you can’t have chocolate…and I totally want one of these cupcakes, so I guess there’s a plus!

  11. Katie

    I’ve never had a buttercream like this, but it looks just beautiful. I’ll definitely have to try it out. I like the idea of no powdered sugar. Sometimes it can just be too overwhelming.

  12. Peggy

    You’ve definitely got a lot to be thankful for Monet! And I can’t wait to hear more about baby-planning (is that what it’s even called? lol) =) These cupcakes look absolutely adorable.

  13. Kath

    Monet, your cupcakes, as always, are gorgeous!

    I mostly wanted to comment, though, to wish you and Ryan all the best and I hope you are blessed with a baby soon!

  14. Anita at Hungry Couple

    Your buttercream recipe sounds really good, especially since I do find the more common types a little cloying. As for your future little bundle, I wish you everything you heart desires. I’ve never heard of eating avocados and bowls of ice cream as the path to motherhood although I’m sure it couldn’t hurt. I might suggest another, more proven activity, though… :)

  15. Beth Michelle

    Such an exciting adventure to begin. I remember when I got the baby itch myself and here I am 6 months pregnant and cannot wait to meet my little one! I wish you and Ryan so much luck and happiness on the road ahead. It is a very exciting time. Your cupcakes are beautiful! Love those little hearts on top!! I will check out that link for the cloth diapers. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Reeni

    Egg yolks in buttercream? How rich and delectable! I bet it’s amazing. I wish you much luck with your baby journey – you’re going to make the BEST mom! xoxo

  17. Brian @ A Thought For Food

    Congrats on all of your success! Woo hoo! It really makes me so happy!

    I love your note in the ingredient list. I know some people go crazy when they see Corn Syrup listed… not the same. :-)

    Love from Boston!

    1. Monet Post author

      So true. Corn syrup has been around for a very long time…our grandmothers used it! High Fructose Syrup isn’t the same! But I’m still amazed how we can be conditioned to think certain foods are good, certain foods are bad.

  18. grace

    i’ve never made buttercream this way, but my goodness, the end result is spectacular! gorgeous cupcakes, monet. :)

  19. Bonnie Banters

    Congratulations upon the cake business becoming such a success…no surprise with your wonderful talents! Your recipients are so fortunate to partake of your rare made-from-scratch delicious cakes!

    These cupcakes, with that cream frosting, just make me drool!

    I wanted to let you know that you are one of my nominees (I had to select five) for the Food Stories Award For Excellence in Storytelling! For more information, check out

  20. mangiabella

    just the thought of you and Ryan becoming parents makes me so….outright giddy. Oh bella, when the time is right, and you two decide to go for it, side by side, hand in hand, you will never regret it. Once that baby is in your arms, you will wonder how you ever spent your days with them before…sighhhh. Your cakes are simply marvelous. Each and every one of them. Beautiful. Keep Shining Sweet Bella

  21. Emily @ Life on Food

    Congrats on the growing business. That is exciting news. I am very happy for you. I always like to sample my treats before I give them out. Not always possible but it is a nice way to sneak in some treats.

  22. Carla

    Okay, well the chocolate buttercream sounds amazing, but I really love the blue lovehearts on top of these cupcakes! So cute!


    I’m excited to find this site. I want to to thank you for ones time just for this fantastic read!! I definitely appreciated every part of it and i also have you bookmarked to look at new things in your site.

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