Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Dec 10, 2008 05:55 AM

What are your go-to frosting recipes?

I always struggle with frostings, and I never remember what I did the last time. When I lived with my parents, my dad always just made my frostings for me. His chocolate frosting, for instance, is very simple- just butter, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, a little hot water, and vanilla, and it always tastes amazing. I've been able to recreate it a few times, but some of the time, it hardens up more than I would like it to. Anyway, I would like some fool proof, concrete recipes that I can go to time and time again. At the moment, I'm looking for a chocolate frosting and a vanilla frosting. I don't really want to go the ganache route, but I'm not sure buttercream is the way to go either, but I don't know. Last time, I used the Betty Crocker recipe for a chocolate frosting and it turned out really good, but my book is packed away at the moment! What recipes do you turn to for your frostings?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I have to admit that lately I've just been making a bittersweet whipped ganache for all my chocolate frosting needs. I mean, two ingredients (that I generally have around) and your done - how can you beat that?

    But, I've won baking contests with a variation on this version of Hershey's Chocolate Frosting. It's a lot lighter on the palate than whipped ganache. It's very easy to make and has been a dependable recipe for years..

    Hershe's Chocolate Frosting
    6 tablespoons butter, softened
    6 tablespoons cocoa
    2 tablespoon light corn syrup
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 cups powdered sugar
    2 to 4 tablespoons milk

    Beat the butter, cocoa, corn syrup, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and the smaller amount of milk, and beat well. Add milk until a spreading consistency is attained.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jazzy77

      That sounds good, jazzy. Am I right in remembering that the corn syrup would make it glossy and "pretty"? I think I'll try this next time I need a chocolate frosting. Thanks for posting.

      1. re: Steady Habits

        The corn syrup does make it glossy and "show pretty" (read: baking contest pretty), but the frosting sets on the outside, yet keeps a pretty gooey consistency on the inside without slipping down the sides, which I've always attributed to the varying sugar molecules hanging out in this recipe (I've heard that corn syrup doesn't allow sugar molecules to cyrstallize normally). I'm no food chemist though, and I started using this recipe when I was a kid, and there was always a large bottle of Karo in the pantry next to the Mrs. Butterworth's (I grew up in the midwest), so it was more convenient then. I don't regularly keep Karo anymore, so it's not as convenient as the whipped ganache.

    2. Not what you're after at the moment, but sometime try this "crun-chewy" broiled frosting recipe for many flavors of 9x9 or 7x11 single-layer cake. One half stick butter, melted and cooled, 1/3 cup packed brown sugar, 1/4 cup milk, 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut, 3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts. Mix together and spread atop slightly cooled cake which is still in the pan. Broil 8-9 inches away from heating element for 2-3 minutes (check at 2 since it can easily burn).

      1. My go to chocolate frosting is ganache (whipped for filling) and my go to vanilla frosting is neoclassic buttercream (often made with egg whites instead of yolks, or whole eggs) from the Cake Bible -- not too sweet, pipes beautifully, very smooth and delicious.

        1. Maybe this is too simple to be chowish, but it always gets gobbled up around here - whole milk or 1/2 & 1/2, powdered sugar, softened butter & vanilla. Add cocoa powder when you want it to be chocolate. If there's extra you can slip it onto graham crackers for a treat . . . . that's what my mom did for us.

          1. For a quick easy chocolate one, I melt chocolate and mix w/ sour cream, beat. It's so easy and quick and tastes great. Nyleve posted it here a long time ago, just 2 cups chocolate chips (I use regular chocolate), 1 1/2 cups sour cream, 1 tsp vanilla.

            For something that's a little sweeter, I use RLB's milk chocolate buttercream as another quick go-to recipe. I can post the recipe if you'd like it. You melt butter, a mix of milk and dark chocolate, let cool somewhat and beat in confectioners sugar.

            For a pouring chocolate frosting (for cakes kept in a pan), I like Texas Sheet cake frosting. It's so easy and you pour it over a warm cake which makes it so easy to do. It's almost like fudge.

            For a quick white frosting, I use Restaurant Eve's not your birthday cake frosting, which is the same as Magnolia Bakery's cupcake frosting:


            And, then if I want to spend more time, anything I've made from Cake Bible has been great but you have to make meringue, heat whites, etc. I stay away from frostings with non-heated eggs.

            2 Replies
            1. re: chowser

              If you could post the chocolate buttercream recipe, that would be great. I went looking through my baking books last night (the ones that I wouldn't let my husband pack!) and I just got nervous about buttercreams, because all of the recipe directions said to use immediately. I'm making cupcakes Thursday night for my husband to take to work on Friday.

              1. re: Katie Nell

                Milk Chocolate Buttercream
                1 lb milk chocolate
                8 oz. dark (bittersweet or extra bittersweet, preferrably)
                1 1/2 c. butter

                Break chocolate in squares, put in double boiler. Stir until it begins to melt. ( Can also be done in microwave stirred every 15 seconds). Remove from heat before completely melted and stir until melted. Beat butter w/ electric mixer in separate bowl. Beat in cooled chocolate until uniform in color. They recommend Lindt chocolate for texture and caramel undertones. Let it sit until it's spreading consistency. This sets up well and firms up to make nice scrolls. I also add a little espresso powder to it.