{tran bakes} Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

In addition to the simple almond cake I made over the weekend, I also made a classic yellow cake with chocolate frosting to bring to work on Monday. We started celebrating birthdays at work, bringing in cake for each team member’s birthday. I alternate cake duty with another of my coworkers, and this time around was my turn. (We don’t actually define whose turn it is to make cake, but it roughly works out to every other one).

The cake itself is just the Classic Yellow Cake mix from Pillsbury. I was too lazy to make the cake from scratch on Sunday, and I have a stockpile of box cake mix for occasions like this. But, I did make the chocolate frosting – adapted from Natasha’s Kitchen.


Main things changed – I didn’t have powdered sugar, so I made my own by pulverizing granulated sugar in the blender. You can do this with pretty much any granulated sugar that you have on hand.. I used demerara sugar. I also used almond extract instead of vanilla – almond extract being my preferred extract when it comes to baking. And lastly, I didn’t have enough frosting to completely cover the cake I baked (9″, two-layer cake), but just enough for a naked cake.


Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes about 2.5 cups


  • 1-1/2 cups demerara sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 8 0z cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 4 oz (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract


  1. Combine sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a blender or food processor. Blend/process until super fine (like powdered sugar).
  2. Place cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Combine using paddle attachment until blended, soft and whippy – about 5 minutes or so on medium to medium. Scrape down the sides as necessary.
  3. Add blended sugar/cocoa mix to cream cheese/butter mix and blend until incorporated. Hints: Scrape down sides as necessary, do this in batches to prevent sugar/cocoa powder explosions.
  4. Add almond extract and blend to incorporate.
  5. Frost at your leisure.

I kind wish my naked cake was a little taller (i.e., more layers).. but that would have required doubling the recipe and washing the cake pans in between.. so that was a no go for Sunday night.


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