What’s your favorite kind of frosting?  I’m not talking about cake-frosting combo, but just the frosting itself.  For me, this is it.  This is it, people.  Chocolate sour cream frosting is a recipe that you need in your repertoire.  This is my go-to chocolate frosting.  It’s rich, silky smooth, super chocolatey, and tastes just as good on a cupcake as it does straight from the bowl.  I may or may not have eaten it with reckless abandon on multiple occasions.  Give it a try yourself and I think you’ll understand where I’m coming from.

I whipped up these cupcakes last week to mark my baby girl’s first birthday (!)  We had her party over the weekend (can’t wait to share it with you!) but I certainly couldn’t let her actual birthday pass without lots of birthday kisses, hugs, and a little bit of cake.  This was her first time tasting any sort of cake or frosting.  Being the chocolate lover that I am, it seemed only fitting to use chocolate frosting for her cupcake initiation.

I think she liked it okay.


9.5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
4 tbsp. unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup plus 1 tbsp. sour cream


  • 01

    To make the frosting, melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.  Set aside to cool until just barely warm.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.  Gradually mix in the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder and salt.  Beat in the melted and cooled chocolate and then the sour cream.  Continue beating until the mixture is smooth and well blended.  Frost cupcakes immediately before the chocolate hardens and the frosting sets.

  • 02

    *The cupcakes pictured above were frosted with a large, unlabeled star tip.


  • Two kinds of chocolate and a combination of cream cheese and sour cream? I bet this is fantastic. And I just found a pack of long-lost cupcake liners in my cabinet. Perfect excuse for cupcakes!

  • Oh, another chocoholic in the making…so, so cute! Wonderful frosting, Annie!

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    Everyone needs a good chocolate frosting recipe! love it!

  • Sour cream in the chocolate frosting? Sold. Can’t wait to see BBQ’s par-tay!

  • Jennie

    My little girl Larkin (11 mo) just had her first taste of chocolate frosting a few weeks ago. Her eyes got very big and she clapped her hands. That’s my girl!

  • I have never used sour cream in my frosting. I cannot wait to try it!

  • I love how silky the frosting looks- brown frosting with pink sprinkles.. Pretty! And that picture is all kinds of adorable.

  • Ashley Blossom

    Can’t wait to try this!!! Thanks for sharing!

  • Ashley Blossom

    Thanks so much for sharing! I can’t wait to try this!

  • TheMrsatSuccessAlongtheWeigh

    Ooh my Mr would love this on his favorite chocolate caramel cupcakes!

  • Glenda

    She’s so cute! Going to try this frosting soon!

  • oh my goodness. i have a chocolate hunger pang now! looks SO good!

  • Heather W.

    Happy Birthday little one! I think she really liked it. My son’s birthday is 4/2. I’m making your S’mores cupcakes for a Woody from Toy Story party.

  • Leslie Smith

    Your frosting looks scrumptious. I’m going to try this on my next cake. Thanks!

  • Jennifer

    Can’t wait to try this frosting on cupcakes this weekend! :o)

  • Kate

    Ok, that frosting looks great. But, more importantly, I cannot BELIEVE that Caroline is a year old already! Wow, that is just so hard to believe. Hope you guys had a great birthday party!

  • I have a chocolate icing recipe that I really enjoy but I cannot pipe or decorate with it easily. This looks like an amazing alternative!

  • The tang of sour cream with the sweetness of chocolate. So fantastic. Sounds like you should eat this sans cupcake, straight from the bowl with a spoon. Lovely.

  • Stephanie

    Wow, that is one cute baby! Can’t wait to see what you did for her party!

  • That looks like art!

  • I’m going to have to try this one and compare it to Joy the Baker’s chocolate frosting (my current fave). That one was so smooth and fluffy and not overly sweet. I have a feeling the competition is going to be tough.

  • Oh my goodness. Could she possibly be any cuter?

  • Happy Birthday to your baby girl! She is adorable! The cupcakes look delicious, too. My son just had his 1st Birthday on March 31st. Our babies are about the same age! ;) I actually saw your son’s Sesame Street party through Pinterest and it gave us some ideas for our Cookie Monster themed party. Thanks for sharing all of your wonderful ideas, photos, and recipes. I truly enjoy everything you post! :)

  • Cuinspain

    Thanks for sharing! I’m always looking for a good frosting recipe. Haven’t found “the one” yet. Can this be made with regular unsweeteened cocoa powder (not dutch process)? I normally don’t have dutch process on hand…

  • Dalia

    Annie, what flavor cupcake is this?

  • Kristen

    Once frosted, do these need to be served immediately? I’m quite a novice and don’t know if there’s a hardening of the frosting ON the cupcakes that you want to avoid?! Thanks a lot!

  • Rachel

    Sounds delicious! Do frosted cupcakes need to be stored in the fridge due to the cream cheese and sour cream?

  • annieseats

    Please see the FAQ page. Thanks.

  • annieseats

    No, they are fine to be eaten whenever.

  • annieseats

    Yellow cake.

  • annieseats

    Please see the FAQ page regarding Dutch-process cocoa. Thanks.

  • Beth

    Great, Annie…..you just prompted a very big chocolate craving! The frosting looks amazing! Your little girl looks precious too! Thanks for another wonderful post as per usual!!

  • Angela

    Yum and Happy Birthday to your cute daughter! My daughter is turning one on the 10th of April. I think this frosting would be perfect for the cupcakes I’m making for her party. Can’t wait to try it. Thanks for sharing!

  • UrbanWife

    Has it really been 1 year already?! It seems just like yesterday you were sharing your happy pregnancy news. Happy Birthday to your sweet Caroline!
    And if I had to pick one frosting, chocolate would be it. :)

  • Ahhh Annie, she’s such a precious gem! I can’t believe she’s already 1, and I can’t wait to see the pics from the party. Knowing you, you brewed up something fabulous and perfect for her!! This chocolate frosting might be on my to-do list for my next batch of cupcakes. Yum!

  • annieseats

    Thanks Krystal :) I’m so excited to see pics of your little one soon!

  • Andrea

    Gosh she is such a sweetie. Great picture.

  • Sadie L.

    I read your FAQ reply to the questions about the Dutch-process cocoa powder as well as the link you provided but I’m hoping you can help me with another related question. I don’t know if I’m just not looking hard enough but I can’t seem to find Dutch-process in any of the stores I normally shop at. Is there some type of specialty store I need to visit to find some?

  • Kelsey

    Annie, I just love this picture of Caroline. The look on her face is priceless. I imagine her saying, “Oh no, Mom. This cupcake is way too good. You can’t have any of it!” What a precious picture of a precious girl!

  • Liz G

    What a cutie! She is absolutely adorable! The cupcakes look pretty good too :) Gonna have to try that yummy icing, Ive been craving chocolate frosting!

  • aw, I can’t wait to see the birthday party! you always throw the best parties. makes me wish I lived near you so I could come over and just study the way you cook & plan up the most beautiful parties. sorry if that sounds creepy but you’re such an inspiration!!

  • annieseats

    Not creepy at all, I think you are a sweetheart and I wish we could get together. It would be a blast!

  • annieseats

    In the past, I’ve only been able to find it at specialty shops or online, but my grocery store has started carrying it within the last year or so.

  • Christy Denney

    Can’t wait to try this. I have been searching for a good chocolate frosting recipe and I trust you. Thank you!

  • I’ve been looking for a chocolate frosting recipe and I trust you. Thank you!

  • Sarah

    Ooooh, I love chocolate frosting and have yet to see one quite like this. Thanks!

  • Myfudo

    Adorable little one! I have to whip up this choco frosting…looks irresistible!

  • Fokediji7

    Delicious. Thanks so much for all of your tasty recipes. Can’t wait to try this out! My quick question – where can I find the cupcake recipe you used? Also, did you trim off the top of the cupcake or how did you get it to look so yellow? Happy birthday to your little one.

  • Tziranda

    This does look like a winning recipe and it’s definitely going down in my “to do” list, thanks for sharing! By the way, your baby looks just like you, congratulations on her 1st year!

  • annieseats

    I don’t have this cake recipe posted yet. It’s coming. No, I didn’t level the cupcakes.

  • I could eat an entire bowl of just that frosting. It looks so good! I’m in need of a chocolate frosting recipe and your recipes are all fabulous. Thanks!

  • Sandi

    I just found your blog through pinterest. I think this is my new favorite food blog. :)

  • Angel Shadoff

    No way is she a year old!!! It seems like you just had her a couple of months ago! I hope she had a great birthday!

  • Christina

    hey annie, do you think this recipe would work if i replaced the sour cream with greek yogurt? i’m always nervous about trying that substitution on new recipes. thanks! :)

  • Haleymt96

    Awww, your little girl is so cute!! I think she looks like you!

  • Denise Wesely

    You said the chocolate hardens and the frosting sets. Does that mean this frosting cannot be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge? Or can it be rewhipped? Sometimes I like to make frosting ahead of time and either freeze or refrigerate to have on hand.

  • annieseats

    Correct, this frosting does not work well in advance which is why I added that comment. Hope that helps.

  • annieseats


  • Meghan

    can’t wait to see the pictures of the party!

  • You read my mind today!

  • Aww, happy first birthday to little Caroline!! Looks like the perfect way to celebrate :)

  • BeckyS

    Oh my goodness, you little one looks just like you! Happy Birthday! And thanks for the recipes!

  • Denise Wesely

    I am thinking about making your Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel cake and filling, and frosting it with this frosting. Do you think that would be a good combination? I just HAVE to make this frosting, and hubby wants a chocolate cake. Also, the caramel filling sounds so decadent!

  • annieseats

    It would be fine, I’m sure, but the chocolate frosting with that cake is pretty amazing as well. I think this is just a better all purpose frosting.

  • Denise Wesely

    It’s the cream cheese and sour cream in this recipe that have won me over. I’m planning on serving vanilla ice cream with the cake for Easter dessert. Hubby’s already drooling.

  • Anna Maria

    so adorable! she’s a lucky little girl :)

  • I’m always on the lookout for a delicious chocolate frosting recipe, I can’t wait to try this one! Also, your little girl is adorable, beautiful eyes. I wish I could get away with eating my cupcakes like that!!!

  • sweetsugarbelle

    I’m super excited to see the party!!!

  • Eeny K

    Thank you soooo much for sharing this recipe, Annie. I was looking for the perfect chocolate frosting for ever and this is it. I really really love it. It’s amazing.
    I actually wrote a blog post about it today and gave you a little shout out =)

  • Tina

    I made this frosting for cupcakes…you were right, you have to frost right away! I found this particular frosting tasty, but too heavy. I’ll stick with butter cream frosting instead. :)

  • Wow – this looks FANTASTIC! Thanks for the frosting tip reference as well – I always wonder when I look at cupcakes!

  • Auntyesyes

    Precious…..just precious!!

  • Beautiful cupcake job, as always! But the real star of this post is Caroline! She is just SO sweet! I love seeing a picture of her first taste of cake and frosting. That is just too precious. :)

  • Nancy in NJ

    I just made this “this morning!” and think it’s a great chocolate frosting. Like others, I found that it started to setup pretty quickly which turned out to not be a problem for me since I was piping it onto cupcakes where the heat of my hands was just enough to keep the frosting soft and pliable. I didn’t get the really nice peaks at the end of my swirls but my guess is that I’ll be the only one who notices that slight imperfection. Thank you!

  • I used your recipe for some cupcakes that I made at the weekend, and it went down a treat! I’ve really been struggling to find a good chocolate frosting recipe and yours is definitely my favourite! Thanks for posting.

  • Veronika

    Is this basically the same frosting as the one you use for your Triple Chocolate Cupcakes, the difference being that the recipe above doesn’t yield as much as the one for TCC? If not, what is the main difference between the two recipes? They both look delish!!

  • annieseats

    Yep, you got it.

  • Valerie

    hey!for me it didn’t came out as thick as yours, so when i frost my cupcakes it didn’t remained on the shape, it w as runny. I realy want to know what i did wrong, because I followed all your instructions.

  • annieseats

    The chocolate was still too warm. As the chocolate cools, it solidifies, and so the frosting thickens.

  • Veronika

    I’m planning on trying this tomorrow (making your Triple Chocolate Cupcakes!), but I only have milk chocolate at home (and I’m about 50 miles from the nearest store atm), do you think milk chocolate would work with this frosting or is there a reason as to why you used bittersweet chocolate? Thx!

  • annieseats

    It’s much, much better with bittersweet. Enjoy!

  • Veronika

    I thought that might be the case, and actually took a little road trip to get the bittersweet chocolate earlier today and it was SOOO worth it. I just finished making the cupcakes (except for the chocolate curls that I need to work on some more in order to get them as nice as yours) and this frosting is dangerously good! No need to ever look for another kind of chocolate frosting! Thanks for sharing :)

  • Raksha

    Hi… Love the look of this … Dying to try it out. Are you able to tell me if the frosting stiffens and will not melt if iced a day before on the cupcakes? Thanks.

  • annieseats

    Yes, it will set and should be used immediately after making it. The melted chocolate solidifies. Enjoy!

  • How many cupcakes would this recipe frost? If you don’t use all the frosting and you couldn’t possibly lick the bowl, how long does it last in the fridge and can you re-work it?

  • annieseats

    The yield is listed in the recipe. It doesn’t do well with chilling and reusing since the melted chocolate will resolidify. Enjoy!

  • Sheryl

    I’m about to make this frosting with regular yogurt, instead of sour cream. I hope it turns out as delicious as last time…

  • Angela B.

    I have a stand electric mixer, but I do not have a paddle attachment,will that make a difference

  • annieseats

    The paddle is the standard mixing attachment. I’m sure they will be fine. Enjoy!

  • Mariana González

    I was wondering if there’s any subtitution for the sour cream in this recipe. I can’t find it where I live, but this frosting seems out of this world!!

  • annieseats

    Please see the FAQ page regarding substitutions. Thanks!

  • Best.Frosting.EVER!

  • Imke

    Thank you for this awesome recipe! I made these with your vanilla cupcakes, absolutely to die for!! So glad I got the measuring cups for my wedding.
    I’m neither an unexperienced cook nor baker, but this combo is definitely going to be kept in my all Time favourites (which means I’ll probably do them far too frequent as would be good for my hips ;) )

  • This is my favorite chocolate frosting, but I struggle with it being too hard to pipe. I’m wondering if I let the chocolate hook too much. Any thoughts?

  • annieseats

    Yeah, the chocolate still needs to be liquid (i.e. not set yet). If it hardens too much, you can warm it very gently over a double boiler. I usually prevent it by leaving my mixer going on the lowest speed right up until I’m ready to use the frosting just to keep things moving.

  • Mia

    I tried to find the cupcake recipe you used in these pictures- is it somewhere on your website? Thank you! :)

  • Ly

    I know you said we should frost the cupcakes before the chocolate hardens so could I frost cupcakes the day before and they still be good the next day?

  • annieseats

    Sure. Enjoy!

  • annieseats

    I haven’t shared it yet. Still deciding what is my ultimate yellow cupcake recipe :)

  • Can’t wait till you decide :)

  • Holly Drainer

    Do you have to refrigerate the iced cupcakes if you don’t eat them all soon after frosting? I’m wondering if the cream cheese and sour cream stay fresh.

  • annieseats

    Please see the FAQ page for food storage related questions. Thanks!

  • Sophie

    Soooo amazing!!! I love how well it keeps its shape! The cupcakes look beautiful…and they’re delicious!!

  • Rosalie David

    Ok, so I see a lot of comments regarding what to do because the chocolate hardens. I’m planning on making this frosting in the evening and taking it do my nephew’s class in the morning.
    Will it still be good? Any suggestions? Thank you!

  • annieseats

    The frosting is fine once the cupcakes or cake are frosted and keeps well. The issue with hardening is making the frosting in advance to decorate with later. That doesn’t work because the chocolate which was melted resolidifies. However, that is not an issue for consuming it. It is great!

  • Rosalie David

    Thanks for clarifying, I can’t wait to try it!!!

  • Leslie Ring

    I made this frosting today and it was super runny. I won’t have been able to pipe it on … any tips? It’s still super yummy! :)

  • annieseats

    Sounds like the chocolate hadn’t cooled enough yet, so it melted the butter. It would have firmed up eventually given enough time or a bit of chilling, but you have to be careful if you try to chill it because the chocolate can solidfy and then you cannot do much with it.

  • Leslie Ring

    Thanks for answering!! I left it sitting a while, even put the glas bowl into another glass bowl with cool water to cool it. Hum. Tricky! :) How long is this good? I had tons of extra and could just bake a cake later on the week and then frost it! :D

  • Liesel

    Question…in your recipe for cream cheese frosting, you state that using room temp cream cheese will yield a runny frosting. But here, you indicate to use room temp. Is this not considered a cream cheese frosting?

  • annieseats

    This is not cream cheese frosting, it just includes cream cheese. Enjoy!