My chocolate fudge frosting is simple to make and tastes better than any store-bought or canned frosting! It’s thick and rich and dries firm with an oh-so-fudgy consistency. No candy thermometer or special equipment needed! Recipe includes a how-to video!
A Chocolate Lover’s Perfect Frosting
I gave you a sneak peek at this frosting earlier this week. It’s that deep, dark, thick, and fudgy chocolate fudge frosting I teased over my insanely decadent devil’s food cake.
This is the perfect frosting to take a dessert to the next level of decadence, and it joins the ranks of some of my favorite frosting recipes. Not too sweet, there’s no candy thermometer needed, it sets up fudgy and firm, and it’s quite simple to make (though you do need some patience!).
Let’s get to it!
Fudge Frosting Ingredients
Fudge frosting requires only 6 basic ingredients. Here’s what you need:
- Chocolate. I highly recommend using an unsweetened chocolate bar (100% cacao) for this recipe. In a pinch, a dark chocolate (60% cacao or higher) could be used, but the lower your percentage the sweeter your frosting will be. I found that using an unsweetened chocolate gives you the best flavor and keeps the icing from being too sweet.
- Milk. I recommend whole milk for this recipe, it helps the frosting to set properly and lends itself to the rich, creamy consistency.
- Salt. A pinch of salt balances the sweetness from the sugar. I found ¼ teaspoon was not quite enough while ½ teaspoon was too much, so I recommend using ¼ teaspoon but over-filling it.
- Butter. A little butter goes a long way. It helps create the glossy shine of the chocolate fudge frosting and adds to the full-bodied fudgy mouthfeel. Use unsalted and add a pinch of salt for maximum control over the flavor. However, if you only have salted butter simply leave out the salt in the recipe.
- Powdered sugar. This makes the frosting sweet and smooth without making it grainy. The sugar is also critical to help the frosting set up properly.
- Vanilla extract. Chocolate is always enhanced by a splash of vanilla, so we use it here for best flavor.
This is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
Making The Frosting
While today’s recipe has a truly fudgy taste and consistency, it’s much simpler to make than my chocolate fudge, and there’s no candy thermometer needed!
- Chop (or break) chocolate into small pieces that are similar in size (this helps it to melt evenly and reduces the chance of the chocolate seizing), and place in a saucepan (alternatively you could use a double boiler!).
- Add milk, butter, and salt and stir until the ingredients are melted together and smooth.
- Remove from heat and add powdered sugar and vanilla extract. In the video and photos above, I added the sugar directly to the saucepan, but if you don’t mind dirtying another dish I recommend pouring the chocolate into a separate heatproof bowl and then adding the sugar. The frosting will cool faster this way.
- Allow the frosting to cool until it is thickened to a consistency that is easy to spread or pipe (depending on what you’re doing with it!). Stir occasionally, otherwise the surface can begin to crust over.
SAM’S TIP: When making this frosting, it can be tempting to turn up the heat to encourage the chocolate and butter to quickly melt. Don’t do it! Heat that’s too high will cause your chocolate to seize and turn grainy and you’ll have to start over.
Fudge Frosting Consistency
- Chocolate fudge frosting is ready when it is cooled and the consistency is thick enough to spread or pipe onto cake or cupcakes. This waiting part takes time and patience and is the most annoying part of the whole process, but it’s very worth it!
- Pipe or spread the frosting onto your favorite cake or cupcakes (I’m piping it on my vanilla cupcakes in the image above). If it seems to be drooping or falling off the baked good, just give it a bit more time to cool.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most likely you just need to have a bit more patience and let it cool a bit longer! This frosting can take time to set up properly and exactly how long it takes depends on a number of factors including precisely how hot you heated it on the stovetop, how warm your kitchen is, and even how often you stir it as it cools (stirring it more often will help it cool faster).
If your frosting is grainy it is likely the heat was too high when you were melting your chocolate. High heat will “seize” the chocolate, causing it to be thick, lumpy and grainy (it can also cause the oils to separate from the chocolate!). Unfortunately, if this happens I recommend starting over (and keep the heat on low!).
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Let’s bake together! Make sure to check out the how-to VIDEO in the recipe card!
Chocolate Fudge Frosting
- Combine chopped chocolate, butter, milk, and salt in a saucepan over low-heat.4 oz unsweetened chocolate, ⅓ cup (75 g) unsalted butter, ½ cup (118 ml) whole milk, ¼ heaping teaspoon salt
- Stir frequently until chocolate and butter are completely melted and mixture is smooth.
- Remove chocolate mixture from the heat and pour into a large bowl. Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract and whisk until icing is glossy and smooth.4 ½ cups (565 g) powdered sugar, 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- Allow the frosting to cool, stirring occasionally, until it is thick enough to spread or pipe over cake/cupcakes (how long this takes will vary greatly depending on many factors including how hot the chocolate mixture became, the temperature of your kitchen, etc.). The more you whisk the mixture the faster it will cool.
Making in AdvanceI do not recommend making this frosting far in advance of making your cake or cupcakes as it will become quite firm as it cools. Once it is too cool to spread or pipe, it’s hard to return to that consistency (re-warming the frosting will yield mixed results and I don’t recommend it).
StoringOnce applied to your cake or cupcakes this frosting will keep at room temperature for up to 4 days or refrigerated for at least a week. It also freezes well.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.