Homemade Chocolate Icing Recipe: What Your Cake Needs Now

This homemade chocolate icing recipe is emphatically not a buttercream. it is a fudgy and tangy, yet strangely light concotion.

What cake should I use this homemade chocolate icing recipe with?

In the battle of vanilla vs chocolate lovers, our households fall squarely in the chocolate camp. This may have been genetically preprogrammed, or the result of years of focused taste testing of chocolate delicacies wherever we go. We’ve found everything tastes better with homemade chocolate frosting (especially birthday cakes!). We prefer this delicious frosting (obviously) slathered all over our dark chocolate cake recipe, but might forgive you should you make the unwise decision of using it with your favorite yellow cake recipe. If you’re going for chocolate on chocolate, our strawberry cake filling is a killer addition.

What’s the secret ingredient?

We prefer a slightly tangier and rich chocolate frosting over a traditional cocoa powder based chocolate buttercream frosting recipe. This recipe starts like a chocolate ganache, but the addition of sour cream and our favorite secret ingredient, mascarpone, make it much lighter and fluffier and a bit less sweet.  We have noted that the addition of the mascarpone is optional as this ingredient can be tricky to find and the frosting tastes great even without it! 

How much of this frosting do I need?

This makes enough creamy chocolate frosting to cover a three-layer 9-inch cake or a four layer 8-inch cake (serves 12). This simple recipe for homemade chocolate icing is accessible even to first time bakers. While it is certainly not part of a low calorie diet, it has received rave reviews from taste testers aged 0-80!

Recipe Facts

  • Active time: 15 minutes
  • Serves: 12 (on cake)

Ingredients for our homemade chocolate icing recipe

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed
  • 3 ounces unsweetened dark chocolate, chopped
  • 3 ounces semisweet dark chocolate, chopped
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Directions for our homemade chocolate icing recipe

  1. Melt the butter and chocolates in a metal bowl over simmering water. Stir until smooth. Cool until it is warm to touch, not hot.  
  2. Beat confectioners’ sugar, sour cream, mascarpone (if using), salt, and vanilla in a stand mixer on low speed. 
  3. Add in the chocolate mixture; beat on medium speed until smooth. 
  4. Spread frosting between cake layers and over top and sides of the cake. Because it is quite soft, we recommend using a palette knife or spatula to spread this frosting, rather than a pastry bag.
  5. Refrigerate iced cake
  6. Keep leftovers in an airtight container (or just eat with a spoon, no judgement).

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