Baking & Desserts
apr 22, 2020

Chocolate Pudding Buttercream

There’s frosting, and then there’s chef Joanne Chang’s Chocolate Pudding Buttercream. We’ve whipped up this most decadently creamy frosting to share with you for days when nothing but the best will do for your cakes, fingers and spoons. If you’re wondering what pudding has to do with frosting, the answer is everything if you’re after a fluffy, not too sweet buttercream.
To get the most out of your buttercream, it’s important to pay very special attention to these tips:
  • The first mixture (the pudding) must be cooked and whisked on the stove until fully thickened. Flour-thickened (or cornstarch, if you’re going gluten-free) liquids must be brought to a full boil to activate their thickening power, and they must be cooked for a further 60 seconds after beginning to boil to eliminate any floury taste.
  • It’s worth noting that in other buttercream preparations, you may be accustomed to adding the sugar to the beaten butter. Here, the sugar is cooked with the flour mixture in the pudding step with glorious results (goodbye, grainy buttercream!).
  • The cooked pudding mixture must be fully cooled to room temperature before it is beaten into the butter. Rest your hand on top of the plastic wrap-covered pudding - it should feel cool to the touch. Patience is truly a virtue in this case!
  • Don’t forget to wash your hands before and after you lick your fingers!
We hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do. As always, if you have any questions or want to show us your creations, please email us, we’d love to hear from you.

Chocolate Pudding Buttercream

Author Jen Nurse

To make gluten-free frosting, use 30g (2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons) cornstarch instead of flour in the pudding base.

Adapted from: Joanne Chang's Pastry Love
Yield   About 4½ cups


300g (1½ cups) sugar

50g (6 tablespoons) all-purpose flour

30g (¼ cup) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

360g (1½ cups) whole milk

140g (5 oz) bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped (about ¾ cup)

85g (3 oz) unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped (about ½ cup)

340g (3 sticks/1½ cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature (68 to 72℉)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon kosher salt


Make the pudding base:
Whisk the sugar, flour and cocoa powder together in a medium saucepan. Keep whisking as you add the milk in a steady stream, occasionally scraping the inner walls of the pan with your whisk to make a lump-free mixture. Whisk constantly over medium heat until it comes to a boil, 4 to 6 minutes. Count to 60 while continuously whisking once it boils. The mixture will be smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Scrape the contents of the pan into a shallow container, and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly against the surface of the pudding base to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool to room temperature, 40-60 minutes.
Make the frosting:
Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a skillet, then turn off the heat. Place the chopped chocolate in a heat safe bowl and set the bowl in the skillet. Stir until the chocolate has melted. Remove the bowl from the heat to cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Do not allow the chocolate to solidify.
Beat the butter in a bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or with a handheld mixer, on medium-high speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium-low, and add the cool pudding base a few tablespoons at a time, waiting for each addition to be incorporated into the butter before proceeding. Add the vanilla, salt and melted chocolate.
On medium speed, mix until the buttercream is smooth and creamy, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. The mixture may look curdled at first, then gradually it will smooth out - this might take as little as 30 seconds and as long as 8 minutes; take your cues from the frosting’s texture. When it is thickened and spreadable, it is ready to use.
Refrigerate the buttercream in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Let it return to room temperature before beating it back to a silky consistency; it may take a few minutes, so don't despair!