Before we get into these pools of yumminess I gotta say, I almost feel like calling these ‘ombre’ does them a disservice. Ombre usually signifies color or shade, and these are SO MUCH more than that. It’s three different chocolates, melted and combined with a buttercream base. It’s like a ganache buttercream, but way better!
I had the idea for these cupcakes, way back in February after I made the pink-dipped cupcakes. Underneath the ruby chocolate was a pink and white swirl buttercream. My husband (who saw them before they were dipped and ultimately ate most of them, lol) commented that they looked like a swirled soft serve chocolate & vanilla ice cream, and I thought, what a brilliant idea for buttercream!
As ideas are wont to do, mine transformed several times over the next few months. While I was set on each buttercream being a different flavor (rather than just multi-colored, which has been done several times before), I imagined the chocolate part would be light – like a soft serve ice cream, and decided I wanted to add a darker color as well. I contemplated using black cocoa which I had used before in this buttercream, but once I was going in with two chocolate flavors – it just kind of made sense to make this three different types of melted chocolate. Especially once I remembered how much I loved this three chocolate pie.
My first trial with this buttercream was met with several temperature challenges, as expected when dealing with melted chocolate. So, I’ve given really thorough instructions here to hopefully ensure that you make none of the mistakes I did and that you don’t waste that good quality chocolate you bought for this.
Lastly, I just gotta add a disclaimer here – this buttercream is DELICIOUS. The sugar is quite low so most of the flavor comes via the melted chocolates in the form of an incredibly smooth buttercream, swoon. Once it ‘sets’ atop the cupcakes, the texture turns ganache-like and… humna humna. Grab your spoons sisters, this one is going to make you forgo dinner.
Three Chocolate Buttercream (Ombre)
This will make about 3 1/2 cups of buttercream total.
Do not make these beforehand, make them when you want to use them within a few hours or less as the buttercream will thicken in the hours after it is made.
Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or something like it. In my home this means, a pot of simmering water (the water should not be more than an inch high in the pot and should not touch the bowl) and a heatproof bowl.
Temperature is really important here. Specifically, the temperature of the melted chocolate: you want to stir it into the buttercream base when it is melted, and cool to the touch but not yet hardened. This is going to depend somewhat on the temperature of your kitchen, in mine it took 10-15 minutes for the chocolate to cool. Keep an eye on it and dip a clean finger in it every few minutes to check.
Don’t refrigerate the chocolate – it will harden and be ‘unpipable’ (is that a word? you get me.)
I used Lindt for all my chocolates – they are very good quality and inexpensive. I buy these packs from amazon where they are cheapest but you can also find them at most grocery stores and at Target.
- 3 sticks butter
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 ½ cups organic powdered sugar, sifted
- 6 oz chopped white chocolate, melted and cooled
- 6 oz chopped milk chocolate, melted and cooled
- 6 oz dark chocolate (70%), melted and cooled
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 tablespoon dutch process cocoa
Beat butter until light and fluffy – about 5 minutes.
Add vanilla and sea salt, beat for 1 minute.
Add powdered sugar and beat to combine.
Weigh your mix and separate equally into three bowls.
Melt the white chocolate. Once fully melted, pour into a bowl to cool.
Melt your milk chocolate in the same bowl, no need to wash it. Pour into another bowl to cool.
Once the white chocolate is cool, add it to one of the bowls with the buttercream. Repeat steps with the milk chocolate and the dark chocolate.
To the bowl with the dark chocolate, add the sugar and cocoa.
Onto a piece of plastic wrap, spread each buttercream in lines next to each other.
Roll the plastic wrap and press to seal. Place in piping bag and decorate as you like.