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Easy Fudge Frosting Recipe

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Rich and decidedly chocolaty, this easy fudge frosting recipe is for serious chocolate lovers only! No fussing over the stove, it takes just a few minutes to make the best fudge frosting for your cakes and cupcakes.

fudge frosting on a cake. picture shows how the frosting looked both piped and spread

One thing we should take seriously in life is frosting. Life is just much too short and busy to waste time with mediocre frosting. I mean, really. Let’s make the little indulgences, like cake or a cupcake, memorable. And part of that comes with using really good frosting recipes, like this easy fudge frosting recipe. If you’re seriously into chocolate, and love fudge, keep reading. This recipe is for you, darling.

Why is this an easy fudge frosting recipe?

Because you don’t have to fuss over a stove! For the longest time, I hardly used fudge frosting because I thought it was complicated! I defaulted to my decadent chocolate buttercream frosting recipe instead. Why? Because the only fudge frosting recipes I’d tried had you mixing all sorts of things on the stove or messing with a thermometer. All steps that just felt way too complicated for something my oldest child was going to dump off the top of the cupcake anyway. She’ll learn.

And sometimes, the frosting wouldn’t turn out. Darlings, that’s frustrating! So I didn’t really make fudge frosting often. But this recipe changed that.

cake with no cook fudge frosting on a light pink cake stand

Actually, some of you may recognize this as a variation of an old Hershey’s chocolate fudge frosting recipe. I think they called it old fashioned chocolate icing or something like that. The recipe is older, and comes from the days when we ate desserts made at home more often. You know I’m a fan of trying the retro desserts.

The current recipe found online has you cooking the ingredients on the stove. While it’s good, it’s just more than I want to fuss with any given day.

This fudge frosting recipe is perfect!

I’ve made it several times now, because it’s easy. I literally just have to put some water to boil. That takes the effort level from a 10 to like a 4. No more work than making a Swiss meringue buttercream. In fact, it’s easier than that.

How do I make this frosting?

To make your own batch of crazy chocolaty fudge frosting, put some water to boil. Then, place chocolate, butter, and powdered sugar in a bowl. I like the add a little espresso powder to deepen the chocolate flavor. Pour your hot water over your chocolate, let sit for a minute, and start beating. Stop and scrape the bowl periodically. Keep mixing until you have this gorgeous, shiny chocolate.

Use it immediately to frost a cake. Fudge frosting starts to set up pretty quickly. If using on a cake, I like to go with a more rustic finish like you see in the photos. I think it works well with the type of icing. But fudge frosting also pipes beautifully. It’s probably not the best choice for very detailed work, but as you can see, makes beautiful swirls.

The flavor is just amazing. It literally tastes like you took fudge and slathered it on a cake. Have I mentioned you don’t need any fancy equipment? Leave the candy thermometer in the drawer, and go bake a cake, darlings! Might I recommend this classic yellow cake recipe as a good pairing?

I hope you enjoy this easy fudge frosting recipe!

fudge frosting on a cake. picture shows how the frosting looked both piped and spread

Easy Fudge Frosting Recipe

Yield: 5-6 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Rich and decidedly chocolaty, this easy fudge frosting recipe is for serious chocolate lovers only! No fussing over the stove, it takes just a few minutes to make the best chocolate fudge frosting for your cakes and cupcakes.


  • 8 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (see notes)
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup boiling water, divided


  1. In a small saucepan, bring your water to a boil. Have a glass or heat safe measuring cup on hand to measure out 2/3 cup of water.
  2. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, sift together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder (if using) and salt.
  3. Cut the butter into 1 tablespoon squares and scatter over the dry ingredients. Pour in the vanilla.
  4. Slowly pour in 2/3 cup of the boiling water, and set your mixer to low speed. Beat for 2-3 minutes until the mixture has combined. At first, the frosting will look like it's not coming together, but keep going. Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure all ingredients are incorporated.
  5. Once the ingredients are just mixed, increase the mixer speed to medium and beat an additional minute.
  6. If the frosting is still too thin to spread, wait a few minutes until it cools enough to use. If the icing is very thick, add some of the remaining boiling water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you have a spreadable and easy to pipe consistency.
  7. Use the frosting immediately. Enjoy!


  • You may also use salted butter in this recipe or a 50/50 mix of unsalted and salted. If you choose to use salted butter, omit the pinch of salt.
  • For an extra rich frosting, use a dark cocoa powder.
  • This will frost and fill an 8 or 9 inch cake. If you are looking to top a sheet cake in a 9x13-inch pan, halve the recipe or you'll have LOTS extra!

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