Chocolate Orange Buttercream

While chocolate and orange might sound like an odd combo, it reminds me of being a kid. My Grandma always used to buy us chocolate oranges for the holidays and they’re the inspiration behind this chocolate orange buttercream frosting.

I originally shared this frosting recipe with my chocolate orange cake, but it was so delicious I decided it deserved its own post.

image of a chocolate orange in a box

Packing This Orange Chocolate Buttercream with Citrus Flavor

This chocolate orange buttercream use orange zest, but the real secret to getting that amazing orange flavor into this frosting is using an orange emulsion.

While an orange extract would also work, using an orange emulsion really steps up the flavor of this buttercream. Why, you ask? It has a secret ingredient. Citric acid!!

image of orange zest being added to an orange chocolate cupcake

Now before you get creeped out by the sound of that, citric acid is made naturally by citrus fruits. It’s what gives them their tart, sour taste.

I find that this frosting have that wonderfully bright, citrus flavor when I use an orange emulsion.

Substitutions & Swaps

This chocolate orange frosting recipe use quite a few ingredients and I know you might not have all of them on hand. Or if you have food allergies or restrictions, I’ve got you covered.

Below are some swaps and substitutions that you can make.

  • Unsalted Butter – If you only have salted butter on hand you can use it in place of the unsalted butter, just omit the salt that the recipe calls for. You can also use vegan butter in its place!
  • Heavy Cream – Whole milk or alternative milk (soy, almond, oat) will work fine in this frosting recipe if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Orange Emulsion – If you can’t get a hold of orange emulsion, you can use orange extract or vanilla extract in its place. The orange flavor won’t be quite as strong but it’ll still taste great.
  • Dark Cocoa Powder – You can use regular cocoa powder in place of the dark cocoa powder. Or if you’re out of cocoa powder, you can use additional powdered sugar in its place.
  • Dark Chocolate – you can use milk, dark or semi-sweet chocolate to make this chocolate frosting! Just be sure it’s a good quality chocolate, so it will melt down smoothly.
image of decadent chocolate orange buttercream being made in a kitchenaid stand mixer

Tips for Making the Best Orange Chocolate Frosting:

  • Make sure your butter is at room temperature to give your frosting the right consistency.
  • Use an orange emulsion to really pack this frosting with citrus flavor!
  • Use a frosting comb to create a fun pattern around your cake.
  • Let your melted dark chocolate cool for about 10 minutes before adding it into your frosting. This will help prevent it from melting the butter in the frosting.
  • Stir by hand with a rubber spatula once the the frosting is made to get it SUPER smooth.
  • Cover this frosting with plastic wrap to prevent it from crusting when you’re not using it.
  • Make this orange chocolate buttercream vegan or dairy free! Use your favorite type of dairy free milk to replace the heavy cream, vegan butter sticks in place of the butter, and vegan chocolate chips.
image of dark chocolate orange buttercream frosting in a bowl

How Much Frosting Does This Recipe Make?

One batch of this recipe makes about 5 cups of frosting.

I find that’s enough to fill and frost a seven or eight inch layer cake or about 3 dozen cupcakes.

image of chocolate orange cake with slice in front on a plate showing how fluffy and tender the cake layers are

Making This Chocolate Orange Frosting in Advance and Storage Tips:

  • Make your chocolate orange buttercream ahead of time or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days, in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to room temp to get the consistency nice and smooth again.
  • A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!
  • If you cut into a cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.
image of chocolate frosting made with orange emulsion

Let Me Know What You Think

If you try this chocolate orange buttercream recipe, please tag me @chelsweets, and use the #chelsweets, so I can see your beautiful creations!!

Also leave a comment below, and a rating to let me know your thoughts.

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Yield: 5 cups

Chocolate Orange Buttercream

image of chocolate orange cake made with chocolate orange buttercream frosting

This decadent dark chocolate orange buttercream is packed with citrus flavor! It's made fresh orange zest and packed with citrus flavor.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

Chocolate Orange Buttercream Frosting

Instructions

Chocolate Orange Buttercream Frosting

  1. Beat 1 1/2 cups of unsalted butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle or whisk attachment until smooth. 
  2. Mix in 1 1/2 tsp orange emulsion or extract, 2 Tbsp fresh orange zest and 1/2 tsp salt on a low speed.
  3. Slowly add in 3 cup powdered sugar on at a time.
  4. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as need with a rubber spatula.
  5. Add 1/2 cup of heavy cream half through adding in the powdered sugar to make it easier to mix.
  6. Mix in 1 cup dark cocoa powder on a low speed.
  7. Pour in 2 cups of cooled, melted chocolate.
  8. Beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated and the desired consistency is reached.
  9. If the frosting is too thick, add an extra Tbsp of heavy cream. If it's too thin, add in another 1/4 cup of powdered sugar. Repeat until the frosting is the right consistency.
  10. Stir by hand with a rubber spatula to get the frosting SUPER smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

Notes

Yield: 5 cups of frosting

1 batch of frosting is enough to fill and frost a seven or eight inch layer cake, or frost about 3 dozen cupcakes.

Making This Chocolate Orange Frosting in Advance and Storage Tips:

  • Make your chocolate orange buttercream ahead of time or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days, in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to room temp to get the consistency nice and smooth again.
  • A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!
  • If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Nutrition Information

Yield

5

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 549Total Fat 17gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 44mgSodium 321mgCarbohydrates 93gFiber 5gSugar 74gProtein 8g

2 thoughts on “Chocolate Orange Buttercream

  1. When you say melted ‘dark chocolate’ do you mean Unsweetened Chocolate? Rather important to me, as I do not want it not to be sweet enough.

Let me know what you think!