Ultra-rich and silky smooth, this dark chocolate fudge frosting is simple to make with 6 ingredients, no powdered sugar, and no corn syrup. It’s the best fudge frosting for cakes, cupcakes, fudge brownies, and more!

A bowl of chocolate fudge frosting.

Thanks to my years working as a pastry chef, I’ve perfected the best homemade frostings that taste even better than from a gourmet bakery!

This super-rich chocolate fudge frosting is my favorite- no special equipment, corn syrup, or powdered sugar is needed, and you get super shiny frosting every single time. Smother it thick on moist chocolate cake or even chocolate donuts for a super decadent treat!

Try my cream cheese buttercream frosting next!

Why We Love Chocolate Fudge Frosting

  • Velvety texture: It has the perfect balance of rich cocoa, butter, and cream, creating a smooth and velvety texture that melts in your mouth.
  • Intense chocolate flavor: It’s made with both high-quality cocoa and chocolate chips for a decadent and rich chocolate flavor.
  • Easy to make: This frosting recipe is simple to prepare with just 6 ingredients and minimal effort so you can ditch the store-bought frosting!
  • Versatile: Use this pipeable fudge frosting for cakes, sheet cakes, chocolate cupcakes, or other chocolate desserts.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

Ingredients needed to make homemade fudge frosting in bowls with labels.

Chocolate chips: For a rich and fudgy frosting texture! I recommend high-quality semisweet or dark chocolate chips like Guittard. You can also use milk chocolate chips for a sweeter and milkier chocolate flavor.

Heavy cream: The extra fat from the cream makes a fudge frosting that is ultra-rich and creamy with a smooth texture. It also helps achieve a super glossy appearance without needing to use corn syrup like other recipes. Do not substitute the cream or it will not set into a thick consistency!

Cocoa powder: While this recipe calls for natural cocoa powder, Dutch-processed cocoa powder, or black cocoa powder (for black velvet cake) can be used for a darker and richer chocolate flavor. You can also use a mix!

Unsalted butter: For a buttery flavor and creamy texture. It also enhances the overall richness, creating a balanced and flavorful frosting. Use sweet cream European butter for the best flavor!

Find the full list of ingredients, measurements, and instructions in the recipe card below!

Flavor Variations

I love this homemade fudge frosting because it can be flavored for any dessert:

  • Peppermint: Add 1/2-1 teaspoon of peppermint extract at the end instead of vanilla.
  • Coffee: Add 2-3 teaspoons of espresso powder to the melted chocolate mixture.
  • Malted milk: Add 2/3 cup of malted milk powder with the cream and sugar for malted chocolate ganache cake.
  • Orange: Add 1-2 teaspoons of fresh orange zest at the end with the vanilla.

Recipe Instructions

A pot with melted butter.

Step 1: Melt the butter. In a small pot, cook the butter and salt until melted.

Pouring heavy cream into a pot with melted butter and sugar.

Step 2: Whisk in the cream and sugar. Mix the heavy cream and granulated sugar into the melted butter. Cook, whisking occasionally, until nearly boiling.

A pot with chocolate chips being melted into butter and sugar.

Step 3: Mix in the chocolate chips. Add the semisweet chocolate chips to the pot, mixing until completely melted. This can take 5-7 minutes on low heat.

A hand mixer beating the melted chocolate mixture into the cocoa powder.

Step 4: Mix in the cocoa powder. Stream the hot melted chocolate mixture into the sifted cocoa powder, mixing on low speed with a stand mixer or hand mixer until lump-free.

The chocolate fudge icing being poured into a container to set overnight.

Step 5: Chill overnight. Stir in the vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract; it should have a creamy consistency.

Pour the chocolate fudge frosting into a container and let set at room temperature overnight or in the fridge for a minimum of 4-6 hours before using.

A mixing bowl with the chocolate fudge frosting after beating.

Step 6: Whip the fudge icing before use. If chilled overnight, let the frosting sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

Paddle-mix the frosting on medium to high speed for 20-30 seconds to loosen it before using it for piping or frosting.

Avoid overmixing or it will be thinner and harder to work with, especially decorating!

Storage and Freezing

Storage: Keep the chocolate icing in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month. It can also be kept at room temperature for 1-2 weeks.

Freezing: Keep in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month. Let it defrost in the fridge before using it!

Batch Sizes

This recipe makes roughly 4 cups of thick fudge frosting that you can use for batch sizes below:

  • 12-16 cupcakes
  • One 3-layer 6-inch cake
  • One 3-layer 8-inch cake
  • One 2-layer 9-inch cake

Note that preferences on frosting can vary from person to person. If you like tons of frosting on your desserts you may need to make 1.5x or 2x the recipe!

Tips for the Best Chocolate Frosting

  • Use a kitchen scale. Baking with a scale is much more accurate than cup measurements and is my #1 baking tip!
  • Use high-quality ingredients for the best flavor! I prefer Guittard or Ghirardelli cocoa powder and chocolate chips.
  • Set before using. The frosting needs to cool before you use it. It will go from a creamy ganache texture to a thick frosting consistency once set.
  • Avoid overmixing. Overmixing your chocolate fudge frosting can cause it to loosen and become very hard to work with. It will also lighten the color more as it is mixed.
  • Don’t rush the process, if there are still unmelted chocolate bits at the bottom of the pan or if the sugar doesn’t dissolve fully, the frosting will have a grainy texture.

FAQs

Can I double the recipe?

Yes!

Can you freeze chocolate fudge frosting?

Yes, place it into an airtight container and freeze for up to 1 month. Let it defrost in the fridge for 24 hours before using.

How long can chocolate frosting be stored?

It can be stored at room temperature for 1-2 weeks or in the fridge for up to 1 month.

How much frosting does this recipe make?

This frosting makes roughly 4 cups of frosting.

Why is my frosting runny?

A few reasons could be that the frosting was not set long enough, it was whipped too much before use, or the ingredients were incorrectly measured.

Why is my frosting grainy?

Not cooking the chocolate mixture long enough can cause a grainy texture due to the sugar and chocolate chips not dissolving.

A spatula spread the chocolate buttercream frosting on a chocolate cake layer.

Recipes for Using Chocolate Frosting

If you tried this or any other recipe on my website, please let me know how it went in the comments below, I love hearing from you! Also, please leave a star rating while you’re there! You can also tag me on Instagram or Facebook so I can check it out!

A bowl of chocolate fudge frosting with a white paddle attachment.

Chocolate Fudge Frosting

5 from 8 votes

Ultra-rich and silky smooth, this dark chocolate fudge frosting is simple to make with 6 ingredients and no powdered sugar. It's the best fudge frosting for topping cupcakes, cakes, fudge brownies, and more!
Print Recipe Save Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 cups
Need Metric Measurements?Use the button options below to toggle between US cups and Metric grams!

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted *See notes below for other options*
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 2/3 cup + 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup + 1 tablespoon semi-sweet chocolate chips, *See notes below for other options*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Note that this recipe must set overnight or a minimum of 4-6 hours before using!
  • Sift the cocoa powder. Sift the cocoa powder into a stand mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, or into a large bowl with a hand mixer.
    1 3/4 cup (180 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Warm the cream and sugar. In a pot over medium heat, melt the butter and salt together. When melted, add in the heavy cream and sugar, whisking occasionally until nearly boiling; about 7-10 minutes.
    6 tbsp (84 g) unsalted butter, 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, 1 2/3 cup + 1/4 cup (443 g) heavy whipping cream, 1 1/2 cups (300 g) granulated sugar
  • Melt the chocolate chips. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the chocolate chips until completely melted, about 7-8 minutes.
    2/3 cup + 1 tablespoon (128 g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Combine the hot chocolate mixture and cocoa. Stream the hot chocolate mixture into the bowl with the sifted cocoa powder. Mix until combined, then scrape down the bowl. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 2-3 minutes until lump-free. Then stir in the vanilla.
    1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • Pour into a container. Pour the fudge frosting into an airtight container. Leave the lid off while the frosting is still warm so it doesn't condensate in the container. Once room temperature, cover and chill in the fridge for a minimum of 4-6 hours, or overnight before using. You can also let it set at room temperature overnight.
  • Mix before using. If it was chilled overnight, let it sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes to soften. Paddle-mix the frosting for 20-30 seconds to loosen it for piping or frosting. Avoid overmixing or the frosting will become difficult to work with and will significantly lighten in color.
  • Storage: Keep any frosting in the fridge for up to 1 month. It is room temperature stable for 1-2 weeks.

Video

Notes

*Measure your dry ingredients properly. This is my #1 baking tip! Do not ever scoop a measuring cup into your flour as this always leads to using too much flour. Instead, use the spoon-level method. This means fluffing the flour first, then spooning it into your measuring cup/spoon. For the BEST results, use a kitchen scale!*
Cocoa powder: You can use regular unsweetened, Dutch-processed, or black cocoa powder. You can also use a mixture of them!
Chocolate chips: For a rich flavor, use semisweet or dark chocolate chips. For a sweeter and milkier flavor, use milk chocolate chips.
Serving: 1serving | Calories: 2389kcal | Carbohydrates: 411g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 108g | Saturated Fat: 66g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 30g | Trans Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 186mg | Sodium: 1793mg | Potassium: 2586mg | Fiber: 59g | Sugar: 320g | Vitamin A: 2151IU | Vitamin C: 0.01mg | Calcium: 248mg | Iron: 24mg

The calorie information provided for the recipe is an estimate. The accuracy of the calories listed is not guaranteed.

The calorie information provided for the recipe is an estimate. The accuracy of the calories listed is not guaranteed.

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Recipe Rating




11 Comments

  1. Not bad wish it was a little sweeter to my liking tho but it was prefect for my friends cake5 stars

  2. HI! Can this be used for filling in a layer cake?

      1. And what if it is still really thick after resting for an hour and being re-whipped?

        1. It’s naturally pretty thick because it’s a frosting. You could whip it a little longer to loosen it if needed!

  3. This is so silky and delicious! We all loved it!5 stars

  4. Love this frosting so delicious and chocolatly5 stars

  5. Would this work well for a macaron filling?