Easy Fudge Buttercream Frosting
Easy fudge buttercream frosting is rich, creamy and intensely chocolaty, and it couldn’t be easier to make! Plus, it’s the perfect topping for cakes, cupcakes and more.
Baking and assembling a cake is hard enough without adding a complicated frosting to the mix. Everyone needs a few easy frosting recipes up their sleeve, and this easy fudge buttercream is one of my favorites! If I need a chocolate frosting, this is always the recipe I reach for.
What’s special about this recipe (besides how great it tastes) is that it’s made in a food processor, and comes together in about 10 seconds flat. This method keeps the frosting dense and fudgy, but still creamy and perfect for topping and decorating your favorite cakes, cupcakes, sugar cookies and more.
Ingredients you’ll need
Here’s what you’ll need to gather to make this fudge buttercream frosting (full recipe below):
- Unsweetened chocolate
- Powdered sugar
- Whole milk, half and half, or heavy cream
- Vanilla extract
How to make easy fudge buttercream frosting
- Melt chocolate. Melt unsweetened chocolate in a double boiler over lightly simmering water. Stir frequently and remove from heat just as the last few lumps of chocolate are melting. Let it cool to room temperature.
- Add all ingredients to food processor. Add powdered sugar, cubed room temperature butter, melted chocolate, milk (or half and half, cream) and vanilla extract to the bowl of a food processor.
- Process till smooth. Turn on food processor and run for several seconds until frosting is smooth and uniform. If needed, scrape down the bowl to get any unmixed bits from the sides and process again for a few more seconds.
- Use immediately or store for later. Use this frosting any way you want, or store it in the fridge for a week or more, or in the freezer for a month or more.
Is a food processor necessary for this recipe?
The short answer is no. You can make this frosting with a stand mixer or handheld mixer if that’s all you have.
But you should use a food processor if you can. It keeps the frosting dense and fudgy, while using something like a stand mixer will incorporate air into the frosting while you beat it, creating a more light (in color and texture) and airy product. It’s still delicious, but not the same and not like what you see in these photos.
How to use this fudge buttercream
As I’ve mentioned, you can use this frosting however you like! But here are a few recipes that I love to pair with this chocolate frosting:
- Chocolate Sour Cream Cake (pictured in this post)
- Vanilla Cupcakes with Fudge Frosting
- Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake
- Chocolate Sugar Cookies
More tips for this recipe
- I have made this recipe with sweetened chocolate (Sometimes you forget to get unsweetened chocolate, I get it!). It is sweeter, but honestly not extremely noticeable. If you don’t have unsweetened chocolate, use the darkest chocolate you have.
- The quality of chocolate you use will affect the overall quality of the frosting. If possible, use the highest quality chocolate you can, but know that any chocolate will produce delicious results.
- To create a double boiler, put a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. You can also buy a double boiler online.
- Do not overheat chocolate or it will seize, thicken and be unusable. Pull chocolate from the heat just as the last lumps of chocolate are melting.
- You can use whole milk, half and half or heavy cream in this frosting (whatever is in the fridge!). I do not recommend skim, 1% or 2% milk, and I have not tested it with any dairy alternatives.
- This frosting can be used the same as any other buttercream frosting— as a topping or filling for cakes, cupcakes or cookies, and for piping decorations.
- If storing frosting for use later, I’ll keep it in an airtight container in the fridge or double bagged in the freezer. Let it thaw and come to room temperature, then give it another quick whir in the food process to get it creamy again.
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This recipe was originally published June 2015.
Easy Fudge Buttercream Frosting
- 6 oz unsweetened chocolate , melted and cooled (180 grams)
- 4 ½ cups powdered sugar (563 grams)
- 1 ½ cups unsalted butter , at room temperature (3 sticks, 340 grams)
- 6 tablespoons whole milk, half and half, or heavy cream (90 ml)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse to incorporate. Process for a few seconds until smooth. If needed, scrape down any stray bits from the side of the bowl and pulse again for a few seconds.