Rich, creamy, incredibly delicious Keto Chocolate Buttercream for frosting your cakes and cupcakes! This simple recipe is a traditional approach to chocolate buttercream, made sugar-free! This post includes vegan and paleo buttercream options in addition to the low-carb keto version!
I baked the richest, most chocolate-packed chocolate cake back in July for my partner’s birthday, and it’s been a hot topic in my frontal lobe ever since.
I’ll be sharing the full recipe for the cake with you on Saturday, but I wanted to bring attention to the deliciousness that is this chocolate buttercream to get you ready for the full shebang.
Also be sure to check out my Dairy-Free Ganache recipe that I’ll be posting tomorrow – you’ll want that for tomorrow’s cake adventure as well. 🙂
Over the years, I’ve tested many renditions of this buttercream, using either grass-fed butter or red palm oil and powdered maple sugar for a paleo option, butter and sugar-free confectioners sweetener for a sugar-free low-carb buttercream recipe, or butter and regular powdered sugar for just your standard buttercream.
Well, I have included notes for all of these options below so you can mix and match ingredients, making keto, paleo, vegan, or regular chocolate buttercream for all of your buttercream needs.
A traditional buttercream is made using nothing more than butter, powdered sugar, a little salt and vanilla extract. A touch of heavy cream of milk smoothes it out just enough to where it is easy to spread, and is pipeable for frosting cupcakes.
In order to make Keto Buttercream, we simply swap out the regular powdered sugar for sugar-free powdered sugar (a.k.a. Confectioners sweetener).
There are many options to change up this recipe to either make it paleo-friendly, vegan, and/or dairy-free. Just be sure to read all the options for substitutions before making your selections! 🙂
Let’s dive right into the ingredients!
Ingredients for Keto Chocolate Buttercream:
Butter: One of the essential ingredients in buttercream, butter is what gives buttercream that incredible creamy texture and flavor. It yields a fluffy frosting that is easy to spread and so delicious on just about anything!
Sugar-Free Confectioners Sweetener: In order to make keto-friendly chocolate buttercream, we sweeten using sugar-free confectioners sweetener. Confectioners sweetener is simply a finer grind of granulated sweetener, which enables us to get that sweet buttercream without any grainy texture. My top two brand recommendations are Lakanto and Swerve.
If you aren’t low-carb or keto, swap with sugar-free confectioners sweetener for regular powdered sugar or powdered maple sugar.
Raw Cacao Powder: The chocolate portion of the chocolate buttercream recipe! I use raw cacao powder because I find it has a smoother, less bitter flavor, but if you prefer the bittersweet chocolate taste, you can just as easily use regular cocoa powder. Just be sure it’s unsweetened to keep the recipe sugar-free.
Full-Fat Canned Coconut Milk or Heavy Cream: Used to help smooth out the buttercream and make it nice and spreadable, a few tablespoons of either full-fat coconut milk, heavy cream, or regular milk goes a long way in getting the buttercream to the right consistency.
Sea Salt: Salt brings out the flavor in any dish, and such is the case in this buttercream! Because we’re using unsalted butter, we must add some sea salt in order to bring out that creaminess and chocolatey flavors. Add salt according to your personal taste 😉
Vanilla Extract: While this is a recipe for chocolate buttercream, a little vanilla extract goes a long way in rounding out the flavor and generating that inviting warmth we love so much in baked goods. If you don’t have it on hand, you can skip it!
Now that we’re experts on all our buttercream options, let’s whip it up!
How to Make Keto Chocolate Buttercream:
Beat the butter in a stand mixer on medium speed for a couple of minutes, until it is creamy (note: you can also use a mixing bowl and an electric hand mixer if you don’t have a stand mixer).
Add the remaining ingredients – confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, heavy cream, salt, and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds (so as not to send powdered sugar flying everywhere), then increase the speed to high and beat for 1 full minute.
If the buttercream appears too thin, add 1/4 cup more confectioners’ sugar or cocoa powder. Similarly, if the buttercream is too thick, add another 1 to 2 tablespoons of coconut milk or heavy cream.
Use the buttercream immediately or store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. You can also freeze the buttercream for up to 1 month. Before using the buttercream, set it out on the counter for at least an hour (even longer depending on how chilled it is) to allow it to come to room temperature. This will make it easier to spread or pipe.
What Temperature Should The Butter Be?:
For the best results, the butter should be at room temperature when you prepare the buttercream.
This ensures the ingredients whip easily together and that the frosting is spreadable. If you use chilled butter, the buttercream will be more difficult to spread, which can cause the cake (or cupcakes) to fall apart when you go to frost it.
The butter should not be too warm, or the frosting will be sticky and gooey versus light and fluffy. If your butter gets too warm from sitting out, you can always refrigerate it to get it back to the right temperature.
Can I Prepare Buttercream Ahead of Time?:
Yes, absolutely! Buttercream can easily be made in advance and stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. Just note that buttercream becomes very hard once it has chilled for a certain period of time, so you’ll want to bring it to room temperature before using it. This will ensure the buttercream is easy to spread and doesn’t lift the cake and turn it crumbly when you use it to frost.
How To Make Dairy-Free Vegan Buttercream:
Are you dairy-free, or prefer to go light on dairy when possible? No worries, there is such a thing as dairy-free buttercream!
You can use either Red Palm Oil to make dairy-free and paleo-friendly buttercream, or you can use a vegan butter spread, such as Earth Balance.
Simply swap the butter in the recipe with 1 cup or red palm oil or vegan butter spread and proceed as normal!
What Can I Use Besides Sugar-Free Sweetener?:
If you don’t follow a low-carb ketogenic diet, you can replace the sugar-free confectioners sweetener with regular powdered sugar or with homemade powdered maple sugar (for a paleo option).
There you have it! Everything you need to know about making keto, paleo, or vegan buttercream for all of your cakes, cupcakes, or other baking adventures.
Enjoy this rich chocolatey creamy goodness!
- 1 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)*
- 3 ½ cups sugar-free confectioners sweetener
- ½ cup + 1 Tbsp raw cacao powder**
- 4 Tbsp full-fat coconut milk, heavy cream, or regular milk
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract, optional
- 1/4 tsp sea salt, to taste
- Beat the butter in a stand mixer on medium speed for a couple of minutes, until it is creamy (note: you can also use a mixing bowl and an electric hand mixer if you don’t have a stand mixer).
- Add the remaining ingredients - confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, heavy cream, salt, and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds (so as not to send powdered sugar flying everywhere), then increase the speed to high and beat for 1 full minute.
- If the buttercream appears too thin, add 1/4 cup more confectioners’ sugar or cocoa powder. Similarly, if the buttercream is too thick, add another 1 to 2 tablespoons of coconut milk or heavy cream.
- Use the buttercream immediately or store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. You can also freeze the buttercream for up to 1 month. Before using the buttercream, set it out on the counter for at least an hour (even longer depending on how chilled it is) to allow it to come to room temperature. This will make it easier to spread or pipe.
*You can also use regular powdered sugar. To make recipe paleo, use grass-fed butter and powdered maple sugar for the sugar-free powdered sugar.
**You can also use Dutch process cocoa powder or any regular unsweetened cocoa power instead of raw cacao powder.