May Your 2019 Be Filled with Sweetness: Oaxaca Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe

For the life of me, I could not find a buttercream frosting recipe that uses real, homemade Oaxaca chocolate, the kind made here in the village. Oaxaca chocolate is a dietary mainstay. The cacao beans are roasted at home and then taken to the molino (mill) to grind along with cinnamon, cane sugar, vanilla bean, almonds and perhaps chiles. Each family has their own recipe handed down by the abuelas.

During the grinding, it comes out of the mill as a warm, thick paste and is poured into pans where it solidifies, then cut into two-inch or three-inch cubes large enough to make a pot of hot chocolate (with water, of course) — an early morning and late evening staple, perfect for dipping conchas.

I decided to adapt chocolate buttercream frosting recipes I found online. Most of them call for dark semi-sweet chocolate, or cocoa powder, or chocolate chips. None included Oaxaca chocolate. I know from years of being in the kitchen that it is the cacao butter in chocolate that makes it creamy. With Oaxaca drinking chocolate, you taste the sugar granules. So, I decided to combine four cubes (about 8 ounces) of traditional Oaxaca chocolate with about four ounces of Oaxaca-made Mama Pacha artesanal chocolate for eating — the amount I had on hand. (Here’s how to buy Mama Pacha.)

Swirls of Oaxaca chocolate buttercream frosting

Making a buttercream frosting is easy. It takes about ten minutes once the chocolate is melted. You just need a hand-mixer, a spatula, a spoon, a Pyrex measuring cup and a mixing bowl. The secret is to melt all the chocolate, but cool it to the touch before adding it to the creamed butter. If the chocolate is too hot, the butter will melt and your frosting will be ruined.

Ready for chocolate cake and my homemade pumpkin pie with cornmeal crust

How to Melt the Chocolate: put all the chocolate in a 2-4 cup Pyrex measuring cup. Microwave the chocolate in 30-second increments, stirring and cooling for several minutes between each 30-second zap. The chocolate should be combined, soft and paste-like. Put a finger deep into the center to be sure the mixture is not hot.


  • 8 ounces of cubed Oaxaca chocolate
  • 3-4 ounces of artisanal 70% cacao semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2-1/2 cups of powdered sugar (azucar glace´)
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 T. almond milk, plain or vanilla flavored
  • 1/4 t. pure vanilla extract
  • dash of salt (omit salt if using salted butter)


  1. Melt chocolate as described above.
  2. Put butter into medium size mixing bowl. Cream with mixer until smooth and fluffy. Color should be a creamy beige.
  3. Add cooled chocolate and continue to combine into creamed butter with electric mixer.
  4. Add 1/2 the amount of powdered sugar and stir into the chocolate butter mix at lowest speed of hand mixer. Add remaining powdered sugar. Scrape sides of bowl until all is mixed.
  5. Add vanilla extract and almond milk. Mix in thoroughly.
  6. Chill for a few minutes.
  7. Will frost an 8-10″ layer cake or 12-18 cupcakes.

The Cake:

In Oaxaca we have a Mexican supermarket called Chedraui. The best one is in Colonia Reforma. It has a complete selection of imported products, too, including those that are gluten-free. I am experimenting with a gluten-free and milk-free diet, so I did buy a Betty Crocker gluten free chocolate cake mix and substituted almond milk for cow milk. It turned out to be delicious.

My Zapotec friends raved that this was the best frosting they ever had, too! I confess it doesn’t look like much. Not smooth as silk (because of the granulated sugar). But it is delicious.

Happy New Year.

8 responses to “May Your 2019 Be Filled with Sweetness: Oaxaca Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe

  1. Hi Norma.. I’m sorry about the fact that you haven’t been feeling too well..My name is Stevie.. I may be coming to Oaxaca Jan 9 and 10th..I would like to be able to see the wool rugs from your town especially if they are made with bright yellow orange and reds…If you feel like sending me a note about how to travel to your town, I would be grateful… I want to shop in the zocalo…plan to visit ARIPO etc..Do you know of a fairly inexpensive hotel..It’s fine if there aren’t any pictures on the walls… Hee Hee

  2. Norma, what is that luscious-looking molded berry thing in the front? I want some of that!


    • Hi, Zenya. It’s called a gelatina mosaico. A mosaic jello mold. The colored jello is cut into squares and then folded into the base gelatin liquid. In this case, the base is almond milk, which I’m using as an experiment for a gluten-free diet. It was made by my friend Rosario Lazo, has very little sugar, and is de rigeur for all celebrations, always accompanying cake!

  3. I ate too much of this chocolate cake. It was fantastic – as was the birthday celebration for wonderful Norma!

  4. Love this! Have company here dying to find some Oaxacan chocolate. We’ll see. There’s a young couple here who sell only Oaxacan chocolate but I’m not sure what form it takes. Find out tomorrow. Love that you did GF. And do you have a recipe for the cornmeal crust for the pie?
    Happy New Year!

    • Thank you! Chris. Big smiles. We ate the last of the cake today. I had cornmeal crust makings leftover, so did a chicken pot pie for dinner. That was yummy, too. I’ll put a cornmeal crust recipe together and publish it soon! Happy new year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *