Ditch the can and make this homemade, fudgy chocolate frosting recipe perfect for cakes, cupcakes, and brownies! Made with evaporated milk and unsweetened cocoa powder, this easy chocolate frosting has a thick, creamy texture sure to impress any crowd. In this post, you will learn:
- How to make chocolate frosting from scratch for cakes, brownies, and cookies
- How to make chocolate frosting with cocoa powder and evaporated milk
Whether you’re in a pinch and don’t have canned frosting in the pantry or just feel like stepping up your treat game, this fudgy chocolate frosting is a quick and delicious way to elevate any boxed or homemade cake.
As someone who mainly used canned frosting on cakes growing up (because #easy), I’m here to tell you that once you try this homemade version, you’ll have a hard time going back to the canned version! Its thick, creamy texture makes it the perfect spreadable, easy chocolate frosting for brownies, cake, or cookies.
What You Need to Make Easy Chocolate Frosting
- Cocoa Powder
- Powdered Sugar
- Evaporated Milk
- Vanilla Extract
What Makes the Perfect Homemade Chocolate Frosting?
Before we jump into the tricks, let’s take a minute to talk about what I think makes the perfect, easy chocolate frosting.
- It needs to actually be chocolately. I’ve had many chocolate frostings in my day that basically just taste like white frosting with a hint of cocoa powder. But not up in here. Not on my watch. This recipe uses plenty of cocoa powder to give it that rich, fudgy taste.
- It needs to be creamy. Honestly, there’s nothing worse than frosting that is grainy. When I make frosting, I don’t want to taste sugar grains. This recipe uses powdered sugar to give it that smooth texture.
- It needs to be fudgy. Now you may be thinking, isn’t this the same thing as chocolately? Well, not exactly. It needs to be fudgy in the sense that it has some body to it; a little thicker like actual fudge. This recipe uses evaporated milk to not only give it a thick texture, but to also prevent the chocolate frosting from being too runny or sticky.
Wait a second, did you just say evaporated milk? Oh yes my friend, yes I did.
What is evaporated milk and why should you use it in frosting?
Evaporated milk is a form of concentrated milk that has had most of the water removed from it. Because it has less water, it’s naturally more dense and gives the frosting a dense, creamy texture that normal milk wouldn’t (aka. normal milk = more water = stickier frosting).
The evaporated milk in this easy chocolate frosting makes this a dream to spread. It literally glides across the top of a cake, making the end result a smooth, beautiful looking cake.
Will this easy chocolate frosting work for piping?
While this would be perfect to use in a piping bag to write words or add small details, this chocolate frosting isn’t the type that is going to give you tall, sturdy piped details.
It’s more of a spreadable chocolate frosting for when you just need a good ol’ slathering on top of your baked treats. (I’m working on some good buttercreams for piping and will be posting those soon!)
I mean, just look at that perfect little square of cake. This recipe makes about 2 cups of frosting, which will generously frost a 9×13 cake.
Finish it off with some sprinkles (duh!) and you’ve got yourself a new way to dress up those boxed cake mixes.
Easy Chocolate Frosting
Ditch the can and make this homemade, fudgy easy chocolate frosting recipe perfect for cakes, cupcakes, and brownies! Made with evaporated milk and unsweetened cocoa powder, this chocolate frosting has a thick, creamy texture sure to impress any crowd.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 2/3 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Hersheys)
- 3 1/4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Before you begin! If you make this, will you do me a huge favor and leave a review and rating letting me know how you liked this recipe? This helps my small business thrive so I can continue providing free recipes and high-quality content for you.
Microwave butter until melted then let cool for 5 minutes (you don't want it piping hot). Pour butter into large mixing bowl.
Add cocoa powder and mix on medium speed for 10 seconds. Add powdered sugar and evaporated milk, alternating between the two until it reaches a spreadable consistency (mix about 15 seconds).
Add in vanilla and mix.
At this point, your frosting should be a nice, spreadable consistency. If your frosting is too thin, add more powdered sugar until it reaches your desired consistency. If it is too thick, add more evaporated milk (1 tablespoon at a time) until it reaches your desired consistency.
Use to frost cakes, cupcakes, brownies, and more!
Last Step! Please leave a review and rating letting me know how you liked this recipe! This helps my small business thrive so I can continue providing free recipes and high-quality content for you.
- This recipe makes about 2 cups of frosting, which will generously frost a 9x13 inch cake.
- Evaporated milk can often be found in a can in the baking aisle. Note that evaporated milk is different than sweet condensed milk. Sweet condensed milk will not work for this recipe.
What’s your must-have for frostings? Light and fluffy or rich and dense?
Suzi Revell says
Been making this frosting for years and it is always commented on. Truly delicious. A winner with the grandchildren.
Soo happy to hear you enjoy this frosting recipe so much, Suzi! Thank you so much for leaving a review! :)
I didnt have unsalted butter, so I used what I had. Still turned out awesome. Love how easy it was to make
Glad it worked out for you without unsalted butter – thank you so much for leaving a review, Penny!
Karen Blodgett says
I made this frosting because I needed a quick and easy last-minute birthday cake for my daughter-in-law. It was delicious and will be the recipe I use FROM NOW ON!!!!
Yay, so glad you enjoyed this recipe, Karen! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review!
This was wonderful. I made it exactly as written. I sifted the ingredients and mixed until fudge-like and glossy. Before finishing the mixing, I stuck my finger in for a taste. It had a distinct evaporated milk taste and I grimaced. But I finished mixing and left it alone for a few minutes. My next bite evoked a “oh, yummy. This is good”
I am so glad that you enjoyed the recipe, Danielle, thank you for taking the time to leave a review!
Will it frost 2-8×9 round cake pans
Or maybe 3
Thank you. This looks so good and simple for my daughter to do.
Carrie Watterson says
Just got done making it.. was a hit! I think the kids enjoyed it more than the white (boxed) cake I made! Wish I could share a picture!
Ahhh that’s so great to hear, Carrie! So glad you all loved it!