This rich and creamy chocolate mascarpone frosting is simple to make and holds it shape for decorating layer cakes. Light and fluffy and made with only 4 ingredients, it’s everything you want a frosting to be.
Celebrations are my favorite occasions to bake, sharing the joy I get in the kitchen, and the sweet treats, with those closest to me. Anyone who’s related to me also has a sweet tooth, so it’s no surprise that for my little baby’s 1st birthday she went straight for this chocolate mascarpone frosting!
It’s hard to believe my baby is becoming a toddler – this past year has been a whirlwind, with lots of ups and downs, but looking at her now, on her 1st birthday, definitely makes it all worth it. Seeing her smile is my favorite thing in the entire world, and the love I have for her is something words, nor cake, can describe.
I made a chocolate layer cake for her birthday and when I was talking about the chocolate frosting on Instagram I got a ton of requests for the recipe, so here it is! It took me over 10 years to perfect it, but now it’s my favorite frosting recipe to use for celebration cakes. My daughter is also a fan, as when I went to take a photo of her with the chocolate cake she immediately reached for the mascarpone frosting. She’s a very picky eater, so this was my favorite part of the day!
What Is Mascarpone?
Mascarpone is a creamy Italian cheese that is most commonly known as a main ingredient in Tiramisu. With a sweeter taste than cream cheese, mascarpone is the perfect ingredient for a light and creamy frosting. The frosting tastes almost like a chocolate whipped cream, but more complex in flavor because of the mascarpone. It’s very rich and creamy, which gives this frosting a stable texture strong enough to hold its shape in layer cakes.
How to Make Chocolate Mascarpone Frosting
Before you begin, check to see that your cake is cooled and ready to be frosted. This mascarpone whipped cream frosting needs to be used right away and doesn’t take long to make.
Gather your ingredients and make sure the mascarpone cheese and heavy cream are cold. Sift together the cocoa powder and powdered sugar until there are no lumps. Don’t skip this step! Powdered sugar is what stabilizes frosting. I like chocolate frostings because the cocoa powder offsets the sweetness of the powdered sugar.
In a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk together the mascarpone cheese and the sifted cocoa sugar mixture on medium speed until combined. You’ll need to stop occasionally to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. It may take 2-3 minutes of mixing since the cheese is cold, until everything comes together. If it doesn’t come together easily, you can use the paddle attachment, and switch to the whisk attachment before adding the heavy cream.
Once combined and smooth, add the heavy cream and gradually increase the speed to high. Whisk the mascarpone frosting until your desired consistency is reached. I like to have a firm frosting for decorating that holds its shape well, so I whisk until stiff peaks stand straight up and appear firm when the beaters are lifted.
Be careful not to overwhip your frosting. Once you get stiff peaks stop, otherwise the cream splits and your frosting will have a grainy texture.
When your chocolate mascarpone icing is ready, immediately start frosting your cake. This recipe makes enough mascarpone frosting for a sheet cake or large round cake. If you want to make a layer cake, multiply the recipe by 1 ½ or even 2 to make sure you have enough for all the layers.
I like to use this chocolate mascarpone frosting for my chocolate layer cake recipe. The tangy whipped frosting pairs perfectly with the moist and tender chocolate cake. This frosting can’t stay outside for too long, a few hours during a party is fine but any longer and you’ll want to store it in the fridge. I like to serve chocolate cakes at room temperature and this frosting holds its shape for several hours.
If you need a frosting that can last for longer than a few hours outside – perhaps a birthday party in a park or pool – then check out my chocolate buttercream recipe. This classic recipe is one of my favorites and will hold its shape much longer than this chocolate mascarpone frosting.
With this easy chocolate mascarpone frosting recipe you can have your celebration cake decorated in under 30 minutes. It’s a luscious smooth frosting that holds its shape and spreads easily. This is my new favorite frosting for celebration cakes, chocolate cupcakes, or simply eaten on its own with your finger, like my daughter prefers.
More Mascarpone Recipes
- Lemon Mascarpone Cake
- White Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- My Favorite Tiramisu
- Banoffee Cupcakes
- Tiramisu Cake
This recipe makes enough mascarpone frosting for a sheet cake, large round cake, or 12 cupcakes. If you want to make a layer cake, multiply the recipe by 1 ½ or even 2 to make sure you have enough for all the layers.
- 1/3 cup (35g/1.2 oz.) unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Dutch-processed)
- 2/3 cup (80g) powdered sugar
- 250 g/8 oz. cold mascarpone cheese
- 1 cup (240 ml) cold heavy cream
This frosting needs to be used immediately to frost cake so make sure your cake is ready to be frosted.
Sift cocoa powder and powdered sugar. Don’t skip this step!
Using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk mascarpone cheese, cocoa powder and powdered sugar on medium speed until combined. Stop occasionally and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Because the cheese is cold it’s ok if it takes 1-2 minutes or more until it’s combined (If it doesn't come together easily, you can use the paddle attachment, and switch to the whisk attachment before adding the heavy cream). Add heavy cream and gradually increase speed to high. Whisk until desired consistency is reached; for a frosting that holds its shape well whisk until stiff peaks – keep whisking until the peaks stand straight up and appear firm when beaters are lifted up. Be careful at that point not to overwhip, which will cause the cream to have a grainy texture or eventually turn into butter. Use immediately.
LisaFebruary 10, 2020 at 5:48 pm
Would this hold up for cake filling?
ShiranFebruary 11, 2020 at 3:03 am
Yes, please read above post for more information.
Elizabeth portburyMay 10, 2021 at 5:50 am
Do I keep cake in fridge over night once decorated with mascarpone filling
ShiranMay 25, 2021 at 2:13 pm
Hi Elizabeth, yes, this frosting should be kept refrigerated because of the dairy ingredients. If you want the cake to be soft, you can take it out of the fridge a short while before serving.
VJJuly 1, 2020 at 6:27 am
Hello! This sounds great. I’m wondering if theres any way to make the frosting, chill it while tansporting (e.g. in a tupperware in a cool box, 1-2 hours) then frost the cake on arrival? I need to travel but worried the frosting wont survive on the cake for that long / will get bashed around and smudged!
ShiranJuly 7, 2020 at 2:23 am
The only issue is that because the recipes uses whipped cream, it might break, so I always recommend using the frosting immediately. It might work, but it also might break. It should be ok if you frost the cupcakes before transporting as long as the box doesn’t move much, and the temperature isn’t too hot.
PARISA GORGSeptember 3, 2020 at 2:33 pm
Hi! I love that this recipe doesnt use so much butter like traditional frosting. Can I frost the cake and refrigerate it till serving time?
ShiranSeptember 10, 2020 at 5:04 am
Yes, no problem!
Helen PortmanSeptember 29, 2020 at 2:55 pm
This looks delicious! I wonder if you could make it without the cocoa powder to make it a vanilla icing instead? x
ShiranOctober 4, 2020 at 2:46 am
Yes you can 🙂
VanessaJanuary 30, 2021 at 12:54 am
Can any leftover frosting be refrigerated, and if so, how long does it last?
ShiranFebruary 2, 2021 at 9:32 am
Because the recipe uses whipped cream, it might break, so I recommend using this frosting immediately.
StinaNovember 20, 2020 at 2:21 pm
Could I use this in macarons I’m looking to try something new
aminaJanuary 10, 2021 at 12:48 pm
hi, would this be sturdy enough to frost cupcakes?
ShiranJanuary 14, 2021 at 9:55 am
I think it’s great for cupcakes, but it’s not as stiff as buttercream. It’s more like a thick whipped cream. Buttercream is better if you’re going to transport the cupcakes or if the weather is humid.
OzlemNovember 15, 2021 at 4:23 pm
Hi, can I make this pink frosting by removing cocoa powder and adding food color?
Talia @ Pretty. Simple. Sweet.November 17, 2021 at 8:45 am
Hi Ozlem, you can definitely make it pink this way. It of course won’t be chocolate though 🙂
William RogersNovember 21, 2021 at 11:04 am
I used this on chocolate cake donuts. I did add some orange zest (orange chocolate is my favorite) . It was excellent. Piping it was no problem. Great recipe. I stored it in the fridge for a week, using a warm water bath to take the chill off to reapply to the next batch of donuts. A teaspoon full for a late night snack may have happened. Please don’t judge.
Missy BellNovember 22, 2021 at 8:01 pm
Mmmm …. this frosting is absolutely light, so easy to put together and so delicious! I made this icing today to top a chocolate sheet cake and it turned out to be the perfect cake topping. Thank you for this terrific frosting recipe. I will be using it again and again.
TriciaDecember 30, 2021 at 12:04 am
Hands down winner. Used this recipe for my 4 year old’s birthday. She wanted chocolate on chocolate, and I was worried about TOO much chocolate. Luckily, this frosting was so light, so fluffy, that it did not bog the cake down. We added fresh strawberry sauce/topping on the cake and it was perfectly decadent. This is a keeper for sure
RuFebruary 19, 2022 at 2:34 pm
Hi I love this recipe and have used it to frost many a cake.
I am planning to make a cake this weekend, but will need to transport it 2 hours (in the UK so not too hot) and then it will be eaten a few hours later. So will probably be out of the fridge for half a day. Is this going to be ok with this frosting or do I need to use a butter cream one?
Talia @ Pretty. Simple. Sweet.February 20, 2022 at 5:05 am
Hi Ru, this frosting should hold up just fine! Enjoy!
RNJune 30, 2022 at 6:44 am
Shud the mascarpone be cold or at room temp
Talia @ Pretty. Simple. Sweet.July 2, 2022 at 5:57 am
Hi RN, for this recipe it doesn’t make too much difference, however if you make the frosting when the mascarpone is room temperature it will be easier to whip! 🙂
samJuly 29, 2022 at 7:55 am
Is it possible to replace the cocoa powder with melted chocolate?
Talia @ Pretty. Simple. Sweet.August 1, 2022 at 4:54 am
Hi Sam, you could definitely try it! It may change the flavor a bit but it should still work out.
WillowOctober 12, 2022 at 2:28 pm
I want to make a drip cake with chocolate ganache, most of the recipes for drip cakes include buttercream as frosting but I want it to be mascarpone. What do you think? Will the frosting hold/stick to my cake? Wil it get ruined if I pour the chocolate ganache drip? Just FYI, this is a Tiramisu cake.
Talia @ Pretty. Simple. Sweet.October 20, 2022 at 2:56 am
Hi Willow, you can definitely use this frosting on a drip cake. Just make sure that the cake is chilled before your drip the slightly warmed ganache down the sides to prevent the frosting from melting, and keep the cake in the fridge before serving, as well 🙂
Sarah YMarch 2, 2023 at 4:20 pm
This frosting came out horribly. Marscapone and cream were cold…I followed the recipe…my frosting didn’t peak, it just mixed and went grainy and was too soft to spread. Very upsetting because the marscapone alone was $10. Not upset with anyone but myself – just here venting. 😭
yhfcgMarch 14, 2023 at 6:50 pm
why do I have to use the icing right away?
Stephanie @ Pretty.Simple.Sweet.April 2, 2023 at 4:06 pm
Hello, the frosting spreads best at the temperature and consistency it is when you make it.