Smooth and rich chocolate buttercream made even smoother and better tasting with mascarpone. Beware, you’ll eat most of it before it gets on the cake.
Why Chocolate Mascarpone Buttercream
My trials with this began with a vanilla mascarpone buttercream, but I wasn’t into the texture or the taste. I then tried it as a browned butter mascarpone but the thing about browned butter is that it’s so intense, it just takes over so what was the point of the mascarpone? Again, I wasn’t into it. Determined to find a way to make this work, I tried it with cocoa and… magic. It’s creamy, it’s dreamy and I want to smother it on everything.
We all know and love chocolate cream cheese buttercream, so the texture this recipe produces won’t be too much of a surprise. However, mascarpone doesn’t have the tanginess of cream cheese and instead it adds something more subtle, kind of malty in the background. The best way I can think to describe the taste is that it’s like a chocolate soft-serve ice cream, but more intensely chocolate. It is absolutely wonderful and spreads like a beauty on any cake. I could eat it off the spoon…!
Which cocoa should I use for chocolate mascarpone buttercream?
In the cake batter I use dutch-process cocoa which produces a very dark cake; you don’t need anything else to get that color. In the buttercream I used a bit of black cocoa – but not too much as I find it interferes with the rich cocoa taste I am after. Here’s a couple of side by side photos so you can see the difference in color they produce. The nice thing is that in keeping the black to a small amount, you’ll get the the dark color but you’ll still retain the wonderful chocolate taste that comes from dutch-process cocoa.
On the left, all dutch process cocoa. On the right a mix of dutch and black cocoa. The color difference is noticeable and there is a difference in taste too. Black cocoa always reminds me of oreos, it’s very intense and not at all sweet.
Notes on making chocolate mascarpone buttercream
- Use organic powdered sugar. Look, I know it’s a drag because it needs to be sifted and because it’s expensive.. but it makes a HUGE difference in taste!
- My favorite dutch cocoas: Guittard Rouge, Rodelle Dutch or Saco’s blend of natural & dutch.
- Black cocoa: I use King Arthur Flour’s which you can find on Amazon or their site. If you use it, substitute 1/3 cup of the dutch process cocoa with black cocoa.
What cake should I pair this Chocolate Mascarpone Buttercream with?
- My first suggestion is this Black Cocoa Cake, readers have told me it pairs wonderfully.
- There’s also the Black Cocoa Cupcakes.
- These small batch red velvet cupcakes (with or without the red coloring) would be great too.
- And not to take anything away from the ganache buttercream on this but with the brown butter cake, magic.
NOTE: Cake recipe from photos above is available HERE.
Chocolate Mascarpone Buttercream
- 2 sticks unsalted butter 226, softened
- 8 oz mascarpone cheese 226g
- 3 cups organic powdered sugar sifted (390g)
- 2/3 cup dutch process cocoa sifted (60g)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1-2 tablespoons milk
- 1/4 cup melted dark chocolate cooled
- In a bowl or a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter for a good 5 minutes until very light and fluffy.
- Add vanilla and salt, beat to combine.
- Add mascarpone and beat for another 2-3 minutes, until well incorporated. It will look grainy and strange – don’t fret.
- Sift in the powdered sugar and cocoa straight in or into another bowl then add and beat, scraping down and ensuring all the butter at the bottom is incorporated. Beat for about 3 minutes. The buttercream will be dark at first but after beating will turn a shade or two lighter.
- Add milk and cooled chocolate, beat or stir just to combine.
- If not using immediately, place in an airtight container in the fridge. When ready to use, allow to sit at room temperature for about an hour.