Sometimes, I secretly wish that I got a Golden Ticket to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. So jealous of that Charlie.
Fortunately, I have my own recipe for old-fashioned cocoa fudge frosting to transport me directly to chocolate paradise.
It’s thick, rich, and very fudgy!
Fudge frosting comes together by cooking some of the ingredients on the stovetop, then mixing it all together until it is thick, smooth, and absolutely divine.
This icing is typically applied to desserts while still warm, because it starts to harden quickly once it begins to cool, just like fudge. When it is completely set on the dessert, it will develop a very thin and sugary crust, and will be moist and firm underneath.
But my version is a little different… and even more decadent!
It stays soft and spreadable, so you don’t have to worry about scrambling to spread it on your dessert! Even though it does set slightly, it will still be rich and luscious, with no crust.
You can use it on so many sweet treats – use it to decorate cakes, like I did with this chocolate cake, or as a topping for brownies and cookies. Have fun looking through our recipes for desserts to see all of the delicious possibilities.
Are you ready to make Willy Wonka himself jealous with this rich and fudgy icing? Let’s get to the recipe!Print
Old-Fashioned Cocoa Fudge Frosting
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 3 cups
Massive chocolate craving? Make our easy recipe for smooth and rich old-fashioned cocoa fudge frosting to spread on your favorite desserts.
- 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces, 170.1 g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups (150 g) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- 1/3 cup (110 g) corn syrup
- 1/2 cup (118 g) water
- 2 teaspoons (8.67 g) vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.85 g) salt
- 3 cups (360 g) powdered sugar, sifted
Blend the butter with the cocoa powder in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the corn syrup and mix until very thick and smooth. Scrape down the bowl.
Bring the water to a boil in a small pot, or heat in the microwave until boiling in a heatproof bowl. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the hot water into the butter mixture. Add the vanilla and salt, and scrape down the bowl.
Add the powdered sugar a little at a time to the bowl and beat for 2 minutes on high speed, until the icing is completely smooth, glossy, and thick.
Decorate as you wish!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Frosting
- Method: Mixer
- Cuisine: Dessert
Keywords: cocoa, fudge, frosting, chocolate
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Mix Butter, Cocoa Powder, and Corn Syrup
Mix the butter and cocoa powder together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Be sure to start on the lowest speed before increasing to a medium-high speed – you don’t want a cocoa powder explosion all over your mixer and kitchen counter! But we’ll help you clean up, if that does happen.
Beat until all the butter and cocoa powder is evenly incorporated. Add the corn syrup and mix until blended together. It will be very thick. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
Step 2 – Add Hot Water
Place the water in a small sauce pot and bring to a boil on the stovetop. With the mixer running on low speed, gradually and carefully pour the hot water into the butter mixture. Mix in the vanilla extract and salt. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
Don’t be alarmed if the mixture looks lumpy and weird! It’s totally fine!
The smooth, luscious magic is coming in the next step, once you add the sugar…
Step 3 – Add Powdered Sugar
Sift the powdered sugar, and add it to the mixing bowl. Beat on high speed until the icing is shiny, smooth, and thick, about 2 minutes.
Step 4 – Decorate and Serve
Decorate as you wish, either spreading or piping it on your dessert. Allow it to set slightly at room temperature or in the refrigerator before serving.
Store any extra frosting in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will continue to harden. When ready to use, let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes, and re-beat it in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until soft and smooth.
Who Needs A Golden Ticket?
Even without a golden pass to Wonka’s chocolate factory, you can still experience a completely over-the-top experience with my recipe for cocoa fudge icing!
And you don’t have to fall in a chocolate river, like poor Augustus Gloop!
Want more chocolaty icing recipes? We have quite a selection! Try our chocolate versions of American-style buttercream, or our Swiss meringue buttercream.
If you are looking for another recipe that is equally as luscious, our ganache recipe is sure to please!
Who loves this style of icing? What is your technique for making old-fashioned fudge frosting? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below!
Don’t forget to Pin It!
Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.
*Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Nikki Cervone
Nikki Cervone is a full-time cheesemonger and specialty foods buyer living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she's not nibbling on her favorite cheeses or testing a batch of cupcakes, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga, wine, hiking, singing in the shower, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.
24 thoughts on “Old-Fashioned Cocoa Fudge Frosting”
I love chocolate, I’m tempted to make this just to lick the beater.
Embrace the chocolate temptation, Jeff! Lick the beater! I’ve done it… no regrets!
Chocolate is my life! This looks amazing! Thanks for sharing.
Thank you so much, Jodi. You should try the recipe soon! Any ideas for what dessert you would use as the base?
Why you gotta make my mouth water so early in the day! This frosting looks like it should be in an ice cream pale right in front of me!
#Sorrynotsorry! What a perfect way to start your day: frosting and ice cream. Yum!
I do mine differently. Melt 2oz butter in 2 tblsp milk over gentle heat. Sift 8oz icing sugar with 2oz cocoa powder. When butter is completely melted, add the buttery milk to the powders and mix quickly. You can change the consistency by adding more sugar or warm milk. I will have to try your version as a comparison now though!!
Thanks for your version, Debbie! There are quite a few ways to make this icing… and they’re all so tasty! I’ll definitely use your recipe the next time I am craving a chocolaty treat. Which will probably be soon. Very soon.
When converting weights, I messed something up and ended up with liquid icing. I added a bit more cocoa, butter and sugar but I was wondering about the conversions. Weighing might be required but in case it isn’t, can I get the cup and tablespoon measurements? Thank you. And… yummy! I want this one to be my go to chocolate fudge icing.
Uh-oh! Sorry you had some trouble! I typically use a scale to weigh my ingredients, which gives you a precisely measured (and very delicious) outcome! To help you, use the following measurements in cups and teaspoons:
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups cocoa powder
1/3 cup corn syrup
2/3 cup water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Fabulous!! Tastes great! The corn syrup added a nice creamy texture with a glossy finish that was very easy to work with. My decorating skills aren’t the greatest. This allowed me to play with it until I was happy with the final result.
Stephanie, I’m glad you made the recipe! And that’s exactly what I adore about my recipe – it’s stays pretty soft, so you can easily decorate. I just made a batch of cupcakes yesterday and used this as the icing. So easy to pipe or spread!
I made this frosting to top some Ghiradelli brownies but I didn’t need this much so I used my new kitchen scale to reduce the amounts. Turned out smooth and creamy. A bit too sweet for my taste but perfect on top of brownies.
Is it thick and stable enough to use as a cake filling? Or would it be better to use less water for that?
I had to add an extra cup of powdered sugar and then refrigerate this because it was so runny. I ended up pouring it on my cake and a lot of it slipped right off. I will probably add even more PS next time. It tasted great with my adjustment and got great reviews from my taste testers.
I was looking on Pinterest for a good cocoa fudge frosting recipe to top my mother’s good chocolate cake.
The amounts in cups would be most helpful.
Giving it a try tonight for an event tomorrow.
Is this recipe enough for a two layer cake
This recipe makes about 3 cups of frosting, which should be enough to coat and fill a 9-inch round cake with 2 layers.
Chocolate is to women as duct tape is to men. It fixes everything.
Is it weird I felt that in my soul? ????
I want to bake it on Sunday – but i dont know how to measure it. Im from Germany and we dont measure with “cups” or those others. Do someone know the recipe with gram?
Greetings, Cherry! Thank you for your message. I have converted the ingredient measures into grams for you. I also prefer to use weight measures, as they are more precise than using measuring cups.
Inverted syrup can be used to replace the light corn syrup (often sold under the brand name Karo in the US). Instead of liquid vanilla extract, you can substitute an equal amount of vanilla bean paste, or the contents of one full vanilla bean (scrape the inside into the bowl and discard the pod).
I hope you enjoy the recipe!
This looks and sounds yummy but can you put it in a piping bag?
This type of frosting is better for spreading rather than piping. It is a softer (and stickier) frosting, so it may not be able to hold the shapes of more delicate and smaller piping techniques. However, I have been able to use it with a simple large round piping tip for cupcakes.