Old-Fashioned Chocolate Frosting

CATEGORIES: Cakes and Cupcakes, Sara

I’m pretty sure something biological happened to me about the same time I became a mother.  At least that’s when I remember it happening.  That was the point when I realized I couldn’t live without chocolate.   I found myself thinking about chocolate, craving chocolate, scouring my pantry for spare chocolate chips that may have fallen out of a bag at some point and landed in some random corner.  And I wouldn’t by any means call myself a chocolate snob (because I’m pretty sure anyone who makes that proclamation wouldn’t be on their hands and knees in the pantry looking for old chocolate chips)  but I do have an appreciation for quality chocolate.  And I don’t like it overloaded with sugar- the darker the better in my book.  I even love bittersweet chocolate.  But when it comes down to it, if it’s got chocolate in it- I’m down.  So needless to say, a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting pretty much rocks my world.

Everyone in  my opinion needs a great, basic, go-to chocolate cake recipe.  And while there’s a time and a place for boxed cake mixes, everyone needs a good homemade, from scratch recipe.  I’ve used this Hershey’s recipe quite a bit over the years, and I still love it.  But several years ago I bought the “Best Recipes” issue of Cook’s Illustrated, partially because this cake was on the cover.  I finally had a great excuse to make it last month and I wish I would have done it years ago.  It’s definitely one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve ever tasted.

I started going through the pictures for this cake and realized the post would quickly turn into a novel, so I’m splitting it into two installments.  Frosting today, cake on Wednesday!  Don’t be turned off by the number of steps here.  I almost was and I’m so glad I stuck with the recipe and made this frosting.  It’s more labor intensive than beating some butter, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder together but it’s sooo worth it.

Start by melting some chocolate.  The glass bowl you see in the pictures is sitting on top of a pan of simmering water.

After the chocolate is melted, set the bowl aside and dump out the water that was in the pan.  Now you’ve already got a warm pan for the next step (butter melting).  Remember that when you read the recipe and it tells you to use 2 pans.  I’m all about one less dish to  have sitting in my sink for days wash.

To the melted butter, you’ll add a little corn syrup, vanilla, and granulated sugar.

As soon as it’s all melted together and the sugar is dissolved, add it to a large bowl along with…

the chocolate.  The beautiful, glorious, melted chocolate.  And no I did not stick my finger in that as it was pouring down like a chocolate waterfall just begging for someone to stick their finger in it…

And also some heavy cream.  You know, for good measure.

You’ll stir this all together and have sort of a chocolate sauce consistency. Place your bowl in a bowl of ice to bring the temperature down, and just keep stirring until the mixture starts hardening against the side of the bowl.  Then you can pop the paddle attachment on your mixer and start whipping.  Magically it turns thick and fluffy.

I was actually super impatient when I made this and didn’t wait for it to cool enough that the mixture was sticking to the sides of the bowl.  So my whipped frosting was reeealy soft.  I just popped it in the fridge for 10-15 minutes and it was perfect.

The flavor is so perfect.  It’s sweet, but not too sweet, so the great chocolate flavor really shines through.

and when combined with the chocolate cake, it’s perfection.

I should also note that the texture is so light and soft, and whippy, that this frosting would probably be best for slathering- like smeared all over a cake, or just plopped on top of cupcakes, as opposed to piping.  If you’re looking for a good chocolate icing for piping- try this one!



  1. I’m surprised at the comments, which is why I always take the time to read them. Yellow cake never occurs to me. Not when I could make chocolate. It sounds good though and I might have to give it a chance, after I make the chocolate one, of course. I got my chocolate tooth when I started having kids too, but only in baked form. No chocolate bars here. Cake is so much healthier right? 🙂 I’ll be trying this as soon as I get the chance. I wanted to share a link with you though: http://www.amazon.com/SideSwipe-KitchenAid-Bowl-Lift-Stand-Mixers/dp/B0027YOW8S/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1304973463&sr=8-3.

    This is a SideSwipe blade. It’s just a paddle attachment (available for most mixers) but it’s like having a rubber spatula and paddle in one. No more stopping to scrape the sides. I bought one about a year and a half ago, and it’s the only thing I ever use, even for lighter breads! I sound like a commercial, but it’s seriously my favorite part of my KitchenAid.

    1. Angie, you’re right, these are great! I use mine ALL the time. Do you think we can get compensated for our endorsements? Probably not.

  2. So I’ve been wanting to get your book for a while now and yesterday my mom got it for me and my sisters! We spent about an hour pouring (drooling) over all of the wonderful recipes! So excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. I just want to eat it by the spoonful! How many calories you suppose? Nevermind, I’d rather not know. Thanks for the recipe 😉

  4. I am sooo excited for the cake recipe! I have to do a chocolate cake this weekend and need a good recipe. Do you think the cake recipe is sturdy enough to stack and do a 3 tier? I hope so!!! 🙂

  5. Ah! I need the cake recipe NOW! LOL! Tomorrow is my hudband’s birthday, I can’t wait until Wednesday! I guess I will have to try the frosting with my old chocolate cake recipe 🙂 and try this one next time.

  6. love the look of this cake frosting!! i have noticed that you cook it with corn syrup…is there a substitute for the syrup that wont make the food your cooking taste different, i thought honey, but honey has a pretty distinct taste..just wondering cuz we don’t use or eat any corn syrup..thx so much!

    1. Lol- Denelle I made a prediction when I wrote this post that someone in the fist 10 comments would ask for a substitute for corn syrup. I’m so good! In this recipe, honestly, nope. I mean, you could probably use honey, but like you said, it’s going to affect the flavor.

    2. How about trying Agave nectar? It has the same consistency as corn syrup but supposed to be better for you…not sure that it really is though 🙂 The brand I used was Xagave and I found it at the Bosch kitchen store but I’m sure it’s sold in lots of other stores too. Good Luck!

    3. Use Lyle’s Golden syrup. It is an import from England available in most grocery stores (just ask them to help you find it). I substitute with it all the time and like it just as well, if not better. It is more expensive though. I hope it helps!

      1. Thx for the help and ideas! I also just googled corn syrup substitute and It said I can just take however much light corn syrup it asked for and put that much white sugar.in then add water…and same with dark cs..just use brown sugar and water…I will check actual mesurments if anyone else would like to know…also if I make this frosting..and im pretty sure I will since my 2 yr olds bday is this sat. Ill let you know how it turned out and tasted..

  7. Seriously, are you totally trying to sabatoge my diet??? Hee hee, I am also more of a yellow cake fan, but this is making my mouth water.

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