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Our Favorite Chocolate Frosting


Chocolate frosting can be a tricky thing (or rather, used to be). Up until very recently, I thought there were two versions, both flawed. Version #1: chocolate frosting made with cocoa powder and softened butter. This makes a light, fluffy frosting that tastes like cocoa powder. My brain wants to put eating cocoa powder in the same category as eating sawdust and instant coffee granules (i.e., not good). Version #2:  chocolate frosting made with cocoa powder and melted butter. This makes a really delicious, fudgey chocolate frosting, but as the melted butter cools and starts to re-solidify, the frosting hardens and turns into fudge. It tastes great, but you have to be lightening quick to use it before it hardens. Not very forgiving stuff!

A few weeks ago, when I was making my 4 year-old’s birthday cake, I wanted a chocolate frosting that combined the fluffiness of frosting made with softened butter and the rich chocolate taste of one made with melted butter. The answer is melted chocolate! Somehow, the melted chocolate and softened butter combine to make a chocolate frosting that is both rich and fudgey AND light and fluffy. We’ve made this frosting twice in the past 3 weeks, and I tell you it has changed lives! That’s what we’re all about here on Lulu the Baker:  changing lives, one chocolate frosting recipe at a time.

Instant Fudge Frosting
You have to make this in a food processor.  You just have to!


3 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted (yes, that box of Baker’s Unsweetened Chocolate)
3 cups powdered sugar
12 Tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
3 Tablespoons half-and-half
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
a pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until well-combined. If you don’t like the consistency (but you will!), you can add more powdered sugar or half-and-half and continue to pulse until the frosting is just the way you like it.

36 thoughts on “Our Favorite Chocolate Frosting

  1. an old fashioned frosting we used to make is combining the butter chocolate while heating them in a sauce pan. once they combine, making a smooth mixture, add the powdered sugar and keep it on the heat while whisking constantly. add a few tablespoons of strong brewed coffee and whisk, whisk, whisk until smooth and glossy. it’s a dark, lustrous and delicious frosting. my mother used to frost killer brownies with this frosting…so very good!

    1. Hi Tammy! I actually didn’t always have a food processor, but now I wonder how I managed without it! I would think you could make this with a good mixer as long as the butter is nice and soft and you mix it really well. I wouldn’t use a stand mixer since they are notoriously bad at getting everything mixed in. I would use a hand-mixer.

  2. With the frosting being made with half and half and butter I take it that the cake should be stored in the refigerator after the cake has been frosted. Am I right on this?

    1. Hi there! I’m pretty sure I’ve left my frosted cakes out on the counter instead of putting them in the fridge. They never stick around for very long, so I don’t think there’s much danger of the frosting on them going bad. But I do store the unused frosting in the fridge.

  3. Hi please can you tell me what half and half is, we dont have that in our country, or if we do it goes under another name. LOVE your Blog and recipes, thank you.

    1. Hi there! Half and half is basically light cream mixed with milk, so it has a butterfat content somewhere between the two. You can easily use a mixture of cream and milk in place of the half and half. And thank you!!

  4. I’ve always used soft margarine, coco powder and icing sugar. Depending on the cake the coco powder is substituted with something else (ie carrot cake: cream cheese). Unsweetened chocolate is super expensive in my country and, we’ll I don’t have a food processor. But I’ll put this recipe away just in case I’m ever able to use it! šŸ˜‰

    1. somber-spider, my mom has always made chocolate frosting with melted butter, cocoa powder, and icing sugar. It is delicious. It just sets up very quickly! This one tastes very similar, it just stays soft longer.

  5. OH my GOSH Lady!! This is SO GOOD I can’t even tell you! My kids were like, “What is that??!!”. Not because it was bad but because it was SO good they wanted to know what it was! I told them it’s the best icing I’ve ever had. Thank you SO, SO, SO, much for sharing. You’re awesome!!!

  6. Lulu- I have been using this exact cake recipe by Ina Garten for a couple of years now. It has NEVER let me down. To add, I’ve always used her buttercream recipe, but I decided to switch it up when baking for the kids whom I nanny. That being said, I used your frosting recipe for the first time about five days ago, and WOW! What a hit! Not to mention how quickly it makes in the food processor! Thank you SO much for sharing your preferred frosting recipe. It will definitely be my go-to. Today will be the second day within a week that I have used your frosting recipe. It is not going unnoticed, I assure you. Enjoy your weekend!

    Cynthia in Wisconsin. šŸ™‚

  7. Hi, I made the chocolate cake you posted with this frosting in two 8″x3″ round pans and cut both in two. Will this be enough to frost the four layers? Thanks!

    1. Hi Donna! Yes, if you refrigerate the cake after frosting it, the frosting will harden. I would recommend leaving it out on the counter, covered, instead.

  8. I make this cake all the time for birthdays:) Do you think you could make this as cupcakes? Same oven temp? Cook 15-20 minutes? Thanks!

  9. This cake is delicious. Baked in a 9 x 23 pan for 35 mins (my oven runs hot) and it came out perfect. Made the frosting and used2 t. Vanilla which was more to my liking. Nice and fluffy frosting.

    1. I’m so glad you liked it, Shangra! I just made a batch to go with chocolate cupcakes tonight, and it was delicious, as usual. Cheers!

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