Chocolate Fudge Frosting Recipe

A rich, fudgy icing that can be piped or used to frost a cake, this Chocolate Fudge Frosting recipe is a great alternative to buttercream. It’s also a simple, no fuss recipe!

Cupcakes with Chocolate Fudge Frosting swirled on top and finished with colorful sprinkles

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

I refer, of course, to chocolate. Whether 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 is loved and appreciated by pretty much anyone.

Even people who aren’t really all that into cake can generally get behind one that’s chocolate, and this fudge frosting recipe offers 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 chocolate fudge frosting with a melted chocolate base, and you get something velvety, and rich, and altogether decadent. And those are all words that are good to hear when we’re talking about chocolate.

The consistency of this frosting is also so, so amazing. It’s velvety smooth and easy to pipe, with a nice glossy finish. And it spreads like a dream! Basically, it’s what frosting dreams are made of.

Cupcakes with Chocolate Fudge Frosting swirled on top and finished with colorful sprinkles

How to Make Fudge Frosting

  • Create a double boiler by placing about an inch of water in the bottom of a small saucepan. Set it on a medium/low burner and allow the water to simmer and steam.
  • Put the chocolate and butter in a bowl (glass or metal) and place it over the pan of steaming water. I like to use my stand mixer bowl for this, and then just add the rest of the ingredients to it when the fudge frosting is ready to mix.
  • Stir the chocolate and butter occasionally until it has all melted, then remove the bowl from the heat and set it aside to cool but not harden.
  • Using the whip attachment on your stand mixer, or a hand mixer, begin to mix in the powdered sugar on low speed (this prevents a powdered sugar explosion when you turn on the beaters). Continue beating until all of the powdered sugar is completely combined. The mixture will be lumpy and thick.
  • Add the milk and vanilla and beat it in well. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to get and splashes thoroughly mixed in. At this stage the frosting will be runny, but don’t add any extra powdered sugar to it.
  • Allow the frosting to sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours, or until it is a spreadable consistency. At this point you can use it to frost or decorate your cakes.
Cupcakes with Chocolate Fudge Frosting swirled on top and finished with colorful sprinkles

How do you thicken chocolate fudge frosting?

After adding all of the ingredients the frosting will be runny, and you may be tempted to add more powdered sugar. But don’t! As the chocolate frosting cools it will thicken and become a lovely consistency for piping or spreading on your cakes, brownies, cupcakes, etc.

Does this fudge frosting recipe need to be refrigerated?

If the frosting is going to sit out for any length of time (more than a few hours), I would recommend refrigerating it. However, it will become stiff and unspreadable when it’s cold, so allow it to come to room temperature before trying to decorate your dessert with it.

Also, if you are planning to refrigerate a decorated cake or cupcakes, set them out to come to room temperature about an hour before serving. Cold cake tends to be dry, and the fudge frosting will be a better consistency also.

Recipe Notes:

  • 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, or you may end up with actual fudge.
  • Because the outside of the frosting loses it’s “stickiness” pretty quickly, you should add any decorations or sprinkles immediately after piping so that they won’t all just roll off.
  • I used the Rose All Day sprinkle blend from Fancy Sprinkles for these cupcakes. But you can get lots of their sprinkles (which I love!) from Amazon. This Rose Gold blend is similar, and maybe even a touch fancier.

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Chocolate Fudge Frosting

Chocolate Fudge Frosting


  • Author: Rebecca Neidhart
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1-2 hours
  • Yield: Enough for about 24 cupcakes, or to frost a 6″ cake

Description

A rich, fudgy icing that can be piped or used to frost a cake, this Chocolate Fudge Frosting is a great alternative to buttercream. It’s also a simple, no fuss recipe!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

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.

Notes

  • 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, or you may end up with actual fudge.
  • 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.
  • I used the Rose All Day sprinkle blend from Fancy Sprinkles for these cupcakes. But you can get lots of their sprinkles (which I love!) from Amazon. This Rose Gold blend is similar, and maybe even a touch fancier. 
  • Category: Cakes
  • Method: Mixer
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: frosting, chocolate fudge frosting, buttercream, chocolate icing, chocolate cake

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