Chocolate Fudge Frosting

A rich, fudgy icing that can be piped or used to frost a cake, this chocolate fudge frosting is a great alternative to buttercream.

In a world that is all about those seasonal food — and rightly so— it’s incredibly comforting that there is a universally loved flavor that is perennial.

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I refer, of course, to chocolate. Whether it’s in ice cream, cookies, drinkable and hot, or just eaten on it’s own, chocolate is always a classic. The Little Black Dress of the dessert world, if you will. While there are a strange few who could do without it, it’s one that you can count on being loved and appreciated by pretty much anyone.

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Even those who aren’t really all that into cake can generally get behind one that’s chocolate, and this icing is the perfect finish. Buttercreams can be cloyingly sweet, and since the flavor generally comes from cocoa powder, I generally find it a bit lackluster. Enter this one with a melted chocolate base, and you get something velvety, and rich, and altogether decadent.

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  • When you’re first mixing the icing, it will look too thin and runny. However, as it cools to room temperature, the icing will thicken to a spreadable or pipe-able consistency. Resist the urge to add extra powder sugar.

  • Because the outside of the frosting loses it’s “stickiness” pretty quickly, you should add and sprinkles immediately after piping so that they won’t all just roll off.

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Chocolate Fudge Frosting

Recipe by Rebecca Neidhart
Makes enough frosting to decorate about 24 cupcakes, or fill and frost a 6” cake
Active time: 15 minutes ||Resting time: 1-2 hours

  • 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

  • 4 cups (about 1 pound) powdered sugar

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup milk

Put about an inch of water in the bottom of a medium pan and place it over medium-low heat and let it heat to steaming, but not boiling. Place the butter and chocolate in a heat-proof bowl— I like to use the bowl from my KitchenAid Mixer. Put that on top of the pan of steaming water and allow it to melt, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula.

Once the chocolate and butter have completely melted, remove them from the heat. Add in the powdered sugar. Use the whip attachment on your stand mixer, or use a hand mixer to beat in the powdered sugar. Start on low to avoid a powdered sugar explosion, then slowly turn up the speed as it is incorporated. The mixture will look lumpy and thick. Add in the milk and vanilla and beat until the frosting is smooth and fairly runny. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl and beat in any lumps or splashes until smooth.

Allow the frosting to cool for an hour or two. It should thicken to a nice consistency for piping and frosting cake layers.