2.6ozdutch cocoa powder (3/4 cup) FOR A DARK CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAMsifted, OR
1.3ozdutch cocoa powder (6 tbsp) FOR A SWEETER, MILK CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAMsifted (see notes)
10ozconfectioner's sugar sifted
1tbspvanilla(reduce to 1 tsp, if using brandy)
2tbspbrandy or bourbonoptional
¼cupextra whipping creamchilled
Place the butter and salt in a mixing bowl. With the whisk attachment, whisk the butter until creamy, light and fluffy - about 3 to 5 minutes on medium high speed. Add the cream and whisk for a further couple of minutes. (SEE NOTES)
Lower the speed of the mixer and add the sifted cocoa powder and let it whisk in and get fully incorporated. Add the confectioner's sugar in 3 - 4 additions and mix until it's completely mixed in - this should take only a couple of minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides for any sugar and cocoa that's stuck on the bottom or the sides of the bowl.
Add the flavoring - 2 tsp vanilla + brandy or bourbon. Turn on the mixer to medium high speed and whisk the buttercream for a further 3 - 5 minutes, until the buttercream is light, fluffy and creamy. Add more cream as needed while whisking, but be careful not to add too much as it can cause splitting.
Optional step (but recommended) - since the buttercream will have a lot of air incorporated into it, you can switch over to the paddle beater and mix the butter cream on medium high speed for a couple of minutes to “break” some of the air bubbles in the frosting. This way your frosting will still be creamy, but with less “bubbles”.
Use the chocolate frosting as needed. You can store it, covered, in the fridge if required, but allow the buttercream to thaw slightly and then whisk/paddle beat the frosting again until creamy and fluffy.
Notes on ButterIf you are using butter that is soft (not cold, but has gotten softer at room temperature), make sure to mix it less to avoid the buttercream from splitting. INotes on Cocoa PowderYou can use dutch cocoa powder or natural cocoa powder for this recipe. I prefer using dutch cocoa powder, but they interchangeable for this recipe. Use weighed amounts of cocoa powder for this recipe. Volume of cocoa powder varies greatly between dutch cocoa powder and natural cocoa powder. For a lighter, sweeter chocolate buttercream - use 38 g or 1.3 oz of dutch cocoa powder (about 6 tbsp)For a darker chocolate buttercream (less sweet, and more chocolatey) - use 2.6 oz / 75 g of dutch cocoa powder (about 3/4 cup)VariationsMocha buttercream - use 2 tsp of instant coffee that's dissolved in 1 tbsp of water, and add it to the mix in place of the brandy/bourbon. Jaffa buttercream frosting - add 2 - 3 tsp of orange extract (plus 1 tbsp orange zest if you like too).Other alcohol options - add 2 - 3 tbsp of bourbon or rum instead of the brandy. Mexican chocolate buttercream - add 1 tsp ground cinnamon to the frosting. Plus 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper for a spiced version.How many cupcakesIt's hard to say how many cupcakes can be frosted with this buttercream recipe. It depends on how much frosting you will be adding on top of each cupcakes. If you're using only a small amount of buttercream - like 2 tbsp of buttercream per cupcake, then you can frost 24 cupcakes. If you want big swirls of frosting, assuming each swirl will be about 1/4 cup - you can frost about 12 cupcakes.