What Frosting Goes Best with Chocolate Cake?

By: Bob's Red Mill | June 14 2022

Who doesn’t love chocolate cake? From German Chocolate Cake, Dark Chocolate Cake or Devils Food Cake, you’ll hardly find anyone who’ll say “no” to a slice of pure heaven. 

If you're a fan of chocolate cake, you're probably wondering which frosting works best. Here at Bob's Red Mill, we've tried several easy chocolate cake recipes and frosting combinations and have created a list of our favorites. From cream cheese frosting to whipped coconut buttercream for coconut cake to vegan frostings for vegan chocolate cake, homemade chocolate frosting or fudge frosting, the frostings on this list will pair perfectly with your next chocolate cake recipe. Ready to get started? Keep scrolling and discover what frosting goes best with chocolate cake.

Best Chocolate Cake Frostings

Chocolate Ganache

Chocolate Ganache is the simplest, easiest and quickest frosting you can make for chocolate cake. Mix equal parts chocolate chips with warm cream and stir until smooth and shiny. It’s the perfect frosting for chocoholics!

Cream Cheese Frosting

The perfect way to top off a moist and rich chocolate cake, this Cream Cheese Frosting recipe will quickly become your go-to frosting for all of your baking endeavors. Simple to make and delicious, the sweet and slightly tangy flavors of cream cheese balance out the intense chocolate flavor of the cake to create a dessert that will satisfy all of your cravings. Thick and fluffy in texture, this frosting works best when spread onto a cake that has been chilled beforehand.

Easy Buttercream Frosting

Cake with buttercream frosting

The frosting of all frostings, buttercream, is a classic frosting that tastes great on cakes of all flavors. Incredibly easy to make, this Buttercream Frosting can be made in minutes and flaunts a smooth texture with a matte finish. For added flavor, take this buttercream to the next level by mixing peanut butter for peanut butter frosting or nuts into it. For the perfect chocolate buttercream frosting, add in cocoa powder or melted and cooled dark chocolate.

Once you’ve mastered the traditional buttercream recipe, you can try Swiss Meringue Buttercream, Italian Meringue Buttercream, French Buttercream, and so on!

Nutella Frosting

If there's one frosting more addicting than buttercream, it's Nutella. Nutella frosting is a rich and luscious treat that will turn your chocolate cake into a masterpiece. Slightly nutty and incredibly sweet, Nutella compliments the rich flavor of chocolate in every way possible. What's more, this Nutella Frosting recipe is so simple to make that you'll want to add it to everything, and who are we to stop you! This frosting tastes excellent on brownies, cupcakes and cookies.

Whipped Coconut Buttercream Frosting

We mentioned how easy adding flavor to buttercream frosting is, and we weren't lying. With just a touch of shredded coconut, this Whipped Coconut Buttercream Frosting turns into a tropical masterpiece that tastes excellent when combined with chocolate cake and brownies. Use this frosting on your next chocolate cake to create a truly unforgettable dessert. If you feel like something is missing when making your chocolate cake, top this frosting with a handful or so of shredded coconut to boost of taste and texture.

Raspberry Frosting

Here at Bob's Red Mill, we're big fans of chocolate. We love chocolate smoothies, white chocolate brownies, and chocolate cake. And though we've paired chocolate with several sweet and salty ingredients, one flavor combination stands out amongst the rest—chocolate and raspberries. For an unforgettable frosting, use this raspberry frosting recipe to top your chocolate cake. Sweet, tart and tangy all in one, this Raspberry Frosting helps mellow the rich flavor of chocolate to ensure that each bite of cake is enjoyed to the fullest. Made in minutes, add a few fresh raspberries to the final result for extra flair.

Peppermint Frosting

Ensure that your chocolate cakes are the star of the dessert table by pairing them with a delicious frosting like the one used in this White Chocolate Cake recipe. Whether you're making a white chocolate cake or traditional chocolate cake, this Peppermint Frosting will taste great on top. Though peppermint flavor is most prevalent during the holiday season, it's an ingredient that can be enjoyed year-round. So don't let the summer season limit your cake flavors. Instead, create a summertime vibe by adding fresh mint leaves to the top of your chocolate peppermint cake.

Tips for Frosting Chocolate Cake

Choosing which frosting flavor to use isn't the only step of frosting a chocolate cake. Technique, temperature and timing play an essential role in good cake frosting. Make the most out of your frosting and decorate like a pro by following the tips below.

Use an Offset Spatula

using Offset Spatula to decorate cake

An offset spatula is one of the most valuable baking tools and a staple of any cake decorating kit. Offset spatulas are excellent for smoothing, scooping and swirling cake frosting. What's more, offset spatulas come in several sizes. Having one large and one small one ensures that you'll have adequate decorating tools for cakes of all sizes.

Change up the Buttercream

One of the things we love most about buttercream is its versatility. Buttercream frosting can be tweaked and twisted to include your favorite flavors. So if you've chosen to top your chocolate cake with a buttercream frosting, don't limit yourself! Peanut butter, berries, nuts, vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract, brown sugar, and crumbles can be added to buttercream to boost the taste and create new flavor combinations. The many flavor combinations that you can create are endless!

Keep Your Cake in Place

If you're making a layered chocolate cake, you'll want to ensure it stays in place. To keep your cake steady during and after frosting it, begin by adding a dollop of frosting to your cake plate. Then, place the cake on top of the dollop to help keep it still while you frost the rest.

Keep Your Cake Plate Clean

If you're worried about the presentation of your cake, there are a few steps that you can take to keep the cake plate clean. After frosting, it will be challenging to transfer your chocolate cake to another plate. Instead, keep the plate clean while frosting by lining the edges with strips of waxed paper. Once you are done frosting, remove the strips to reveal a clean cake plate that is just as impressive as the cake on it.

Chill Cake Before Frosting

The number one rule of frosting is: never frost a warm cake. Applying frosting to a warm cake will melt the icing and cause the cake to slip and slide around. Though you can frost a room-temperature cake, we recommend chilling the cake before applying any icing for the best results. Cold cakes will keep the frosting from melting and provide a firmer structure and hold their shape, which keeps them from sliding around as you frost them. 

Add a Crumb Coat to Layer Cakes

Napoleon cake

When frosting a cake, you want to ensure that the result looks perfect. After all, you've spent quite a bit of time on this masterpiece. To keep crumbs from sneaking into your frosting, apply a crumb coat to layer cakes before fully frosting them. To apply a crumb coat, give the cake a very thin layer of frosting using an offset spatula. Then, place the entire cake into the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour. This process will harden the thin frosting layer and trap any crumbs, preventingthem from entering your final frosting.

Turn the Chocolate up a Notch

If you can't get enough of chocolate's rich taste, take your chocolate pound cake recipe to the next level by adding chocolate frosting. Chocolate frosting can easily be made by adding a bit of baking cocoa to vanilla buttercream. Before mixing in the cocoa, sift it to remove any clumps, then mix it with your buttercream to create a chocolate version.

Invest in a Bench Scraper

Do you want to learn how to decorate a chocolate cake like a professional baker? Make sure it has smooth sides. Using a bench scraper to smooth the sides of your cake will give it the perfect finish. So perfect, your friends and family will think it was made by a professional.

Spice up Your Sheet Cake

Not a fan of layer cakes? No problem. Cakes can easily be made in sheet pans and look great when finished. To frost your next sheet cake to perfection: 

  1. Use an offset spatula to apply a thick coat of frosting to the top of the cake. 
  2. Once the cake is fully frosted, run the spatula over the top of the frosting in an S pattern to give it an appealing swirl. 
  3. Finally, top it off with crushed nuts or sprinkles for a fun and flavorful finish. 

Now that you have a better idea of the types of frostings that work best with chocolate cake, it's time to try them out for yourself. Will your next chocolate cake feature a cream cheese frosting, Nutella frosting, or peppermint frosting? We can't wait to find out.

Are you interested in learning more about chocolate cake-making techniques? Looking for ways to liven up boring chocolate cake mix? Check out the articles How to Decorate a Chocolate Cake and How to Make Chocolate Cake Mix Better.

Do you bake chocolate cakes regularly? We'd love to hear more about the different flavored frostings you use. Share your favorite cake and frosting combinations with us in the comments below. 

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