Chocolate Frosting


This rich, classic chocolate frosting is an excellent go-to recipe for cakes, cupcakes, brownies, or anything that could use a chocolatey boost.

Chocolate Frosting Recipe

Matt Taylor-Gross / Food Styling by Ali Domrongchai and Alexis Camarena-Anderson 

Total Time:
30 mins
Makes about 3 1/2 cups

This is a classic rich, buttery chocolate frosting that comes together in minutes. The inspiration for the technique used to make this frosting comes from dessert expert, cookbook author, and "Queen of Cake" Maida Heatter and her award-winning Book of Great Chocolate Desserts. When you start this recipe by simmering the heavy cream until it reduces slightly, the cream becomes even thicker and creamier. Using the hot cream to melt the chocolate and butter is the same technique used to make chocolate ganache, and results in a smooth, rich, creamy frosting. In order for this technique to be successful, it's important that the cream be hot; adding a cold liquid to chocolate when you are trying to melt it will break the emulsion in the chocolate and cause the mixture to seize up, turning it stiff and grainy instead of smooth and melty. Use this frosting immediately after making it, while it is still spreadable and creamy. If you have to let it sit for a few minutes before using it, keep it covered and at room temperature so it does not get stiff. Mix the frosting well before using it.

Use this frosting to lavish a Classic Chocolate Cake, envelop a sheet cake, or swirl atop cupcakes. Or, forgo the cake completely and slather it onto cookies, brownies, or whatever else you see fit (dipping pretzels into this frosting is entirely acceptable behavior).


  • 1 1/3 cups heavy cream

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar

  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

  • 1 stick (4 ounces) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • Pinch of kosher salt


  1. Bring cream and sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan over moderately high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid reduces slightly, about 6 minutes. Pour mixture into a medium bowl and add chocolate, butter, vanilla, and salt. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate and butter are melted.

  2. Set bowl in a larger bowl of ice water. Using a hand-held electric mixer, beat frosting on medium speed, scraping the sides occasionally with a rubber spatula, until thick and glossy and lightened in color, about 10 minutes. Use at once.

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