Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting



With cooking I find it easy to maneuver my way around, look at recipes to get ideas then going my own route by having a basic understanding of the ‘laws of cooking’.  Baking, however, is another story entirely.  I seem to have the need to relearn the lesson that I am not very adept at the chemistry of sugar or flours or eggs, and that I still need to behave and have patience and follow some recipes to get a better understanding.  I like to taste and dabble and adjust, but baking doesn’t appreciate that.  Cooking is Art, Baking and Pastry is Chemistry.  Ah.


I attempted to make a buttercream frosting for brownies this week but I didn’t want it to contain eggs (I can hear the pastry chefs groaning…) so I looked at a number of different kinds of frosting recipes to gauge ratios, and decided to go for it.  I cooked the sugar in water until bubbling (did she measure it with a candy thermometer?  Of course not).  Then I whipped the room temperature butter and slowly drizzled in the sugar mixture and some vanilla.  A lovely light mixture resulted, the hot sugar of course partly melted the butter and I hoped that when it cooled it would be firm enough to spread.


Not so.

Too runny to spread.




I put the mixture back into the food processor and added cream cheese.  Still too thin.

I then made a second batch with less water in the sugar mix and with the addition of corn starch (corn starch needs to be heated for the thickening process to happen—read more about it here).   Still too thin, even after cooling in the fridge all night.


Then I added almond meal.  That helped a little.

Then cocoa powder.  YES!  A buttery delicious frosting with a little tang from the cream cheese to cut the sweet.






This is not a story about perfection, it’s a story about scrambling for characteristics that would save the dish.  Meddling in things I don’t know much about…sometimes it flops and sometimes it works.!  It at least works enough times that I continue to do it.


Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting 

Prep Time: 25 minutes


Add to a heavy sauce pan: 

1 1/2 cups Sugar

1/3 cup Water

Heat until bubbling.  Whisk in:

2 Tablespoons cornstarch (you could probably leave this out if you can’t do corn–add more cocoa and almond or use less water…but then again I’m not a baker so this is subject to debate…)

Let simmer for a few minutes, then remove from heat.

Whip in a food processor, mixer or with beaters until smooth:

1/2 pound softened Butter (2 sticks)

1 1/2 teaspoon Tablespoon Vanilla

4 ounces Cream Cheese

While the food processor is on, slowly drizzle the sugar mixture into the butter. 

Turn off the processor and stir in:

2 ounces Cocoa Powder

(optional—1/4 cup Almond Meal or ground Almonds—it’s tasty but it gives it a mildly grainy texture)

Pulse the processor to lightly blend in the cocoa and almond meal then blend until smooth. 







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