Add the cold cream cheese to the bowl with the cocoa paste and beat it with an electric mixer to soften it up and to begin to incorporate it with the cocoa, about 30 seconds. Add the sugar, salt and vanilla and continue beating until fully combined. Check a small bit between your fingers to insure sugar crystals have "melted" into the mixture so there is no grittiness. (Update 9-9-18: Don't over beat at this step. Just mix until fully combined. If you over beat, the mixture will become too loose. Don't worry about checking for grittiness. When you add the cream, the sugar crystals will dissolve.)
* I love my stand mixer, but I prefer using a hand mixer for this recipe.
*You can use the one bowl method OR the two bowl method for this recipe. See details in the updated notes section below the recipe card.
*You can use any kind of unsweetened cocoa. For today's post, I used Hershey's.
*I normally use 3/4 cup of sugar when I make the original (not chocolate) version of this frosting. For the chocolate version, it seemed to need the full cup of sugar to balance the cocoa. If you're not sure, just taste the cream cheese mixture with 3/4 cup of sugar, then add more to adjust to your level of sweetness. Do this before you add the cream.
*As you can see, you can definitely pipe this frosting. I did find it just a little bit softer than the non-chocolate version, so you want to work quickly and keep everything cold for best results when piping or frosting. If I have leftovers, I usually leave them in the piping bag and place the piping bag in a Ziploc and store in the refrigerator up to 3 days. It still pipes nicely one day after storing, however, I've only used that option for leftovers that I might pipe as a quick topping. I would never plan to pipe my cupcakes or cake with made ahead frosting. I ALWAYS pipe as soon as it is mixed.
*If I have leftover cake that has this frosting on it, I slice individual pieces, wrap in wax paper and place the wrapped pieces in a freezer Ziploc bag. I either thaw in the refrigerator overnight, or allow to thaw at room temperature for about 30 minutes, or very carefully use the microwave on a 50% power setting. You want to thaw the cake without melting the frosting.
*Many readers have asked about leaving this frosting out at room temperature. Here's the response I've given...It depends on how hot it is. When I use this recipe, I always keep my frosted cake/cupcakes etc... refrigerated until I have to take them anywhere, but they’ve been out up to two hours (in air conditioning or cool weather) and held up well, though I think they’re probably best up to one hour. I don’t like to leave anything perishable out more than two hours anyway. I wouldn’t leave them out for long at a hot picnic or in very warm weather. I actually like to take my cakes out about 1/2 hour or up to an hour before serving so that they can lose the chill of the refrigerator and the cake isn't too dense from being cold. So, I try to serve the frosted baked good almost at room temperature. But this is not a recipe I would leave out for hours and hours at a party. My Whipped Chocolate Frosting recipe is perfect if you need something that can live for a longer time at room temperature.
Recipe based on Whipped Cream Cream Cheese Frosting
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