Creamy Chocolate Frosting


Creamy Chocolate Frosting! THE BEST! My next post will bring you news and videos from my L.A. trip! I had a GREAT time and can’t wait to tell you all about it! Well, not as much as I told my email subscribers but those saints sat through two long winded letters so they deserve a reprieve! (Update: This post was written April 2009, click here to visit my post with information on my LA trip)

As I was leaving to go to L.A., I promised my kids that when we got back we’d make a cake together and I’d let them decorate it. Of course, that is what we did first thing yesterday morning and so I am bringing that to you today.

I’m gonna let you in on a little secret today that most of you have already picked up on. If you want a cake or dessert to taste extra special, there is one no fail method of making sure that happens.

No matter how many times you’ve made it, no matter how ordinary the recipe may seem, cakes taste better if you let kids decorate them. ~smiles~ Seriously.

chocolateicing-082For this frosting, use whatever cake or brownie recipe gets your zizzwheel a goin’ and then the icing is a cinch.

So many people have mentioned me saying “cranks your tractor” that I feel I am overusing it so we’re gonna talk about our zizzwheels today.

Now let me tell you why I love this icing, it has to do with my dropped-on-his-head-as-a-child-husband. You see, his favorite icing (until this one) was store bought canned chocolate icing.

He actually preferred store bought icing to homemade. You see what I have to live with?

I was making his favorite cake one day and didn’t have the store bought on hand so decided to find a recipe to duplicate it. Now this isn’t a groundbreakingly new recipe, its actually on the back of all of the major brands of cocoa powder tins. The ingredients are the same no matter which brand you get but the preparation methods are different - some are a unnecessarily high maintenance.

Do we do high maintenance at Southern Plate? ~cups her hand to her ear so she can hear the crowd shout back “Nooo!!!!” as she grins proudly~ Attaboy! Attagirl!

What does differentiate this recipe from the store bought kind is, of course, flavor. This frosting is absolutely exploding with chocolate. Its smooth, creamy, and causes everyone who tastes it to do a double take because by looking at it, you are expecting it to be store bought canned icing but OH NO, none of that plastic, preservative filled flavor here. This is the real deal my pretties!


You’ll need: Milk, cocoa powder, softened margarine (or butter), Vanilla (or the super cheap imitation stuff that I use with no complaint whatsoever!), and powdered sugar.

Make sure your margarine is softened or this is gonna be a bear!


In a large mixing bowl, place margarine and cocoa powder.

Now if you want this to be even richer and more decadent, you can use dutch process cocoa and you’ll end up with a dark chocolate frosting rather than a milk chocolate one. Either way, you’re pretty much set!


Add a cup of confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar, whatever you wanna call it).


Add just a bit of milk. The recipe calls for two tablespoons and I am busted here.

You see, I am lazy. I don’t like to search for a tablespoon when I cook most of the time so I just use the cap of the milk jug and eyeball it. Two tablespoons? I figure about three caps full will do the trick. Feel free to use a tablespoon and be more accurate if you like. I’m setting a bad example but sometimes y’all need a bad example….


Mix all of that up until creamy. This is gonna be really thick. At first it will be lumpy but stick with it and it’ll get all smooth like this, although still very thick.


Add the remainder of your milk


and confectioner’s sugar

Mix that up well.


Add vanilla and mix again, until its all smooth, silky, creamy, and chocolaty.

Dip your finger in to taste it…oh alright dip a spoon in if you must ~rolls eyes~ but your granny just dipped a finger in.

Yeah, its good, isn’t it? Even if you don’t do just HAVE to do this:


Everyone knows beaters don’t come clean unless someone licks them first!

I learned this in college, honest!

Creamy Chocolate Frosting! THE BEST!

Frost your cake with this silky smooth bit of heaven.

I made two small cakes in square pans because I promised the kids I’d let them decorate a cake when I got back from L.A.

I didn’t bother taking them out of the pans to make it easier for the kids to decorate (and hold for pictures).


Of course you can use anything on earth to decorate a cake but today the kids are going to use M&M’s, sprinkles, and Alpha Bit’s cereal.


I put a little of each topping in separate bowls for each child to avoid WWIII breaking out at my house…

Notice they already have chocolate on their clothes.


In the background you’ll see that I had to interrupt their game of bowling to get them to do this..


But Thumbcat kept guard over the pins and waited very patiently. I haven’t introduced you to Thumbcat yet. I had been wanting a kitten pretty badly and so, when my husband’s birthday came up…it seemed like a great present for him! ~grins~

Is his name really Thumbcat? Yes. Why is he named Thumbcat? Well…


Because he has thumbs! On all four paws. Isn’t he precious? Loves to sleep in baskets, too. Now y’all know if you show pictures of one baby and not the other, they’ll get jealous so…


This is my baby, Daz. The two of them are so close, its just precious.

Oh, we were decorating a cake….eep! Sorry. I’ll try to stay on point here….


Every photo involving a four year old that is NOT out of focus is a product of divine intervention. I am convinced of this.


Brady was going for a happy faced M&M man.

Katy was going for..putting as many M&M’s on chocolate icing as I would possibly allow her to in order to eat them later.




And that is my little Miss Priss, with a cake pretty as she is! Love it, Katy!!

Creamy Chocolate Frosting
  • 3 C Confectioner's Sugar (powdered sugar)
  • ⅔ C Cocoa Powder
  • ½ Cup (one stick) butter or magarine, softened
  • 6 T milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. In a large mixing bowl, place margarine, 1 C sugar, cocoa powder, and two Tablespoons of milk. Beat until mixed well and no longer lumpy. It will be thick. Add all remaining ingredients and beat until smooth and creamy.

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Submitted by Southern Plate reader, Jay. To submit your quote, click here!


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  1. Laura says

    Trips are great, but isn’t it good to be home??

    And this reminds me that I haven’t baked in a very long time!! So I should just go find something to whip up..

    I haven’t tried to view the video of your hotel yet (I did have trouble with the 2 small videos in the one email..) but enjoyed seeing the pic of your shower!! Wow, I’ve been married for 25 yrs and still would NOT be happy in that! I would definately have to “steam it up good” first for SURE! Actually, soaping it up then steaming..ooohh I know, SHAVING CREAM ALL OVER THE DOOR!! That would work!!


      • Terri go Dawgs says

        Welcome back, Bama girl. As I saw the pic of the clear shower wall, I had a funny thought..What if you had taken a friend with you to share the room?!!! THAT wooda been funny, doncha think? I think Laura is right on… smearing shaving cream on the glass, even yo mama would’ve asked you to do that.

        The icing looks divine, maybe when honey gets back from his trip, he will get a cake. Those kids are too cute (loved the Kraft tee) and kitties bowling made me smile. A BIG thank you for posting the choc. pecan recipe last wk. You rock!

    • says

      Hmmm, I’m gonna have to think on the zizzwheel explanation. I reckon it would be kind of like the biggest, most major wheel that turns in your brain and you get REALLY happy and full of creativity when its in full force! Of course I just made that up…similar to the zizzwheel…

      • says

        Christy, my Grandfather used to call that “Busy Brain”, it’s great when you get busy brain in the day time. But, oh it’s real bad to get “Busy Brain” at night. I get it at night time real bad now….Maybe that will help explain your zizzwheel force.

  2. Jan S in TX says

    Yummo! Chocolate icing! Who needs a cake to enjoy chocolate icing! I just might have to make this for dessert tonight! ~hangs head in shame~ ok, maybe I’ll make a cake to go with it!

    Thanks, Christy!

  3. Melody says

    This is awesome! I’ll go ahead and admit it … you’ll probably never ever get me to cook an icing, but this I can handle. Thanks!

    Am glad that you had such a great time in LA! My husband went with me on a business trip a couple of summers ago … it was gorgeous and the weather was absolutely beautiful.

    • says

      I promise promise promise that if you like store bought and try this, you’ll be officially converted. Honest!!!

      But really, no shame in store bought. Whatever cranks your tractor!
      You’ll find no “homemade” police on Southern Plate!

  4. says

    your kitties are so cute! almost as cute as your babies well not that cats are ever as exactly as cute as humans but you should get my drift. You should do a catbook on facebook.

    back to the actual subject- I looooooove chocolate icing and will have to try this.

  5. BillGent says

    Ahhh cool.. Dad’s birthday is May 3rd. He will be 83. I was gonna make him a cake so this is just in time. He is a milk chocolate freak in his old age. He’s happy with milk chocolate (no dark, thank ya very much) candy orange slices and his chewin tobacco..

    Maybe I’ll get some Alpha Bits and let him put his name on it.. heh..

    Christy, I wonder if they have a cake mold in the shape of a wide brimmed hat?…

    • says

      Now I don’t know if you are serious about the wide brimmed hat or if that is an extension of our tweets last night – I laughed just in case! lol

      However, you could use a round cake pan and pour half your batter into it. Then find a squared or rectangle bowl that is oven save and fits on top (Corelle has some square shaped cereal bowls at Wal Mart that are oven safe) and bake half of the cake in the pan and the other half in the bowl, then put them on top of one another to form a hat. If I were going to do this, I think I’d look for a rimmed pizza pan to use so the bottom was bigger. Also, grease your pans well and make sure you only fill them half way with the batter.

      Watching the news now at the Air Force One flyby in NYC yesterday. Bless those poor people’s hearts. It made my heart stop to see it. I can seriously see why they would be traumatized today.
      If I were ruling the world today, I’d be turning several grown men over my knee. I honestly think that is what needs to happen here. I wouldn’t use my hand either, I’d make them go outside and pick a switch just like in the old days.

      Okay, I feel better. See Bill, you always make me vent!

      The Alpha Bits thing was hilarious!


      • BillGent says

        LOL.. It was the tweets dear… but thank you for the suggestion. My sister once made a pregnant lady cake. They had pans in the shape of a woman’s torso, a bikini cake is what it was called.. she got a pan in the shape of a football and partially filled it. Looked just like a woman with child. She made it for a baby shower.

  6. Amanda says

    that’s true about the beaters. haha I’m just lucky I only had one sibling so I was guaranteed a beater — one for each of us, and if my brother didn’t want his, I got two. haha =]

    You’re lucky your cats get along, I have two and they pretty much will only be within 3 feet of each other if they are cold. haha

    and the frosting looks yummy.

  7. Sheila says

    Yummy! I’ve always liked chocolate frosting on a yellow or white cake better than on a chocolate cake…the contrast?

    This is great; a nice easy recipe to follow! Do you have a really good one for buttercream? The ingredients never seem to vary but I’ve seen things from scalding the milk to having more/less sugar or even adding some flour. It gets confusing!

    Your children are adorable. The cats too! Thumbcat’s paws are too cute!

    Glad your back and I’m amazed you aren’t exhausted and still had the energy to do this!

  8. Rene says

    I like the idea of using Alphabits to spell things out on the cake! I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it, but the idea of TWO cakes is a great one, too. I have a 6-year-old and 4-year-old and I’m sure they’d agree! Thanks for sharing your kid-friendly ideas. Reading your e-mails is always a bright spot in my day.

  9. Kathy Vanlandingham says

    Welcome back to Bama – hope your trip outside the South was great and look forward to hearing about it! This frosting looks really good. I don’t recall ever making homemade chocolate frosting before so I’ve got to try it. Take care!

  10. Coleen says

    Well Christy to the rescue again. I was going to the internet to look for a choclate icing recipe, and decieded to check my emails first thanks Christy this is just what I wanted! Your kids are very cute and the cats aren’t to shabby either!!!lol Thanks again

  11. Trish says

    Honey, if it bothers folks when you say “Whatever cranks your tractor” too much, just swap it up with “Whatever floats your boat”. Then maybe they won’t comment so much about your use of tractor-themed southern sayings.

    On this note, I have a friend who works at the Days Inn here in Athens. She had a bunch of out-of-towners in for a conference. She was talking to one lady, and at the end of the conversation (when the lady was leaving the hotel), she told the lady to “Be careful”. She said that lady looked at her as if she had told her the world was ending today. She asked what my friend meant by that. My friend had to explain to the woman what “Be careful” means down here, and that we tell everyone that at the end of a visit. :)

    I bet you ran into some of that out in California.

  12. KEL says

    I know your hubby is not a cook like you, but how does he manage meals for the family when you are gone? Eat out? Visit grandma? Leftovers? Freezer meals? Or does he have a few “Dad’s famous” recipes?

    • says

      Whenever I go out of town (which is pretty rare but usually once or twice a year..) I make up tons of food ahead of time.

      I make some of the kids favorite meals and put them in individual containers so all Ricky has to do is heat them in the microwave. He has a bad habit of not thinking about supper until the kids are already hungry – whereas I have supper planned out and am putting it on the table by the time they feel their stomachs rumble! So I try to take this into account and fix it so he can easily feed the kids in under a minute or two.

      I also make up homemade macaroni and cheese and put that in individual containers as well. I then make some pizza rolls (Ricky’s Fave) and cookies for snacking and even make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches ahead of time and cut them into squares or triangles and place those in little individual containers where the kids can reach them so they can serve themselves a quick lunch.

      You’d be amazed at how much cooking and grocery shopping I do whenever I have to leave my family, even if its just for two days. To top it all off, I place a list on the refrigerator listing all of the meal options I have left for them. Of course, there is always a pantry and a few freezers full of endless options but I swear I think I am the only person in this house who can so much as boil water. :)

      Yes, in truth, I really do fear my family will starve without me!

      That was a neat question to get asked!

      Christy :)

  13. Pam says

    I made a white cake and topped it off with the chocolate icing this weekend. WOW! So easy and soooo good! It was a hit with my whole family. I will never do store bought again!

  14. Brittney says

    Wish I would’ve found this 2 days ago (hubby’s birthday), because I’m sure the chocolate frosting I made wasn’t nearly as good. I should’ve known to look here first! I love the quote at the end. The recipe is a couple days too late for me to use right away, but the quote couldn’t have come at a better time. Thank you, Jay for submitting it, and thank you, Christy for posting it. I’m taking a deep breath, and restarting my day with a better attitude! : )

  15. Shiree says

    Hi! This looks great but I’m having a hard time figuring out how much of each ingredient I need. Perhaps it’s in the text, but I’m in a hurry. Could you post the quantities of each ingredient for easy access?

  16. says

    Hi Christy –

    I’m baking a cake for a dear friend – his favorite is yellow with homemade chocolate frosting. He doesn’t mind box cake (I do though … LOL) but is particular about the frosting. I was going nuts trying to pick one and then … TA-DA – STOP THE MADNESS!!! Decided to look and see if you had one in the archives – sure enough, here it is!! Thanks again for “being there” – :)

  17. Sandy McKinney says

    I was raised on imitation vanilla and my mother was a great cook. She is 82 and still alive, but I say WAS, because she just doesn’t want to cook anymore. The occasional sweet, her favorite thing!!!

  18. Penny Lee says

    I’ve been using this recipe for about 30 years and it’s delicious. Learned it from my mama-in-law, Ora Lee (of course, I had to learn to make mama’s chocolate icing). Ora had a twist though, she used lemon flavoring instead of vanilla. I thought she was crazy, who uses lemon with chocolate? Absolutely delicious. I also have my twist. I cook the icing. It gives a creamy fudge like texture that my husband absolutely loves. Bountiful blessings to everyone (stole that from one of your readers cause I just love it).

  19. Laurie says

    does this frosting dry like cookie icing or it is moist like the canned kind? I dare to make it cuz I will eat it all before I get it on the cake and I cant have a naked cake!!!!!!!

  20. blizzkid says

    I made the frosting last night. A little cocoa-y but good. The look turned out grainy but the taste is smooth. Today, the flavors have melded and the taste is delicious and oh so good. I have tried many receipes and wasted tons of ingredients and money trying to find perfect smooth, shiny and tasty chocolate frosting. Please tell me how to make the frosting as smooth looking as your pictures.

  21. Lisa says

    Girl, I make frosting similar to this, but I add 1 packet of the Starbuck’s Via instant coffee and just a pinch or two of salt. Pow! it is AWESOME on some brownies! ( I don’t measure the milk either- sometimes it takes different amounts depending on the weather!)

  22. Valerie says

    Just found your wesite recently, thanks to Pinterest. I love it & enjoy your witty columns. Nice to find someone that doesnt make a big ‘to do” about cooking! Looking forward to trying this recipe & letting my son & daughter decorate. Thanks!

  23. Wanda Meunier says

    Christy, the frosting looks scrumptious. I will try it during the weekend. Your Thumbcat looks just like our BeeCee. I hope yours will be as wonderful as ours is. Would not want to live without him. Thank you for al of your recipe, tips and life stories.

  24. Joye Amon says

    Oh, boy, I cannot wait to try this frosting! Signed, President, CEOI (Chocolate Eaters Overdoing It)!! Love your cats (I’ve got one that looks identical to your Daz!), your kids, and the Emerson quote—thanks for all!!!

  25. Mary says

    I came across this looking for an easy chocolate frosting that I didn’t have to cook or use 17 cups of powdered sugar to make :) I too am a Bama girl and I will definitely be following you! Oh and Roll Tide!! sorry, you know how it is ;)

  26. kay says

    Isn’t it amazing how a few short years can make such a difference in our children. They are getting more handsome and beautiful every year. Good luck on your trip may it speed by for you so you can be home with your family.

  27. Karen in TX says

    I noticed that you use imitation vanilla flavoring. My mom always did too. WHY?? I buy the real thing, but would love to know why imitation? My mom has passed away, so I’m counting on your answer. ;o)

    • says

      I’m betting your mom probably had the same reason I do : price :). I know a lot of people who swear up and down they can tell the difference but my palate just isn’t that sophisticated :). However,if using real vanilla is something you really enjoy, I think that’s great!

  28. Gretchen Hays says

    We use the same ingredients but melt margarine in saucepan, stir in cocoa, then add milk and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add sifted powdered until desired consistency. Spread on cake.

  29. Alice says

    Christy, I made this tonight for my husband’s birthday cake. My daughter whispered in my ear that it was better than my Momma’s! AND that is saying something! Thanks for the wonderful recipes!

  30. Makoto says

    I am thinking to make a b-day cake for my daughter a few days before her party. Should I keep this frosting in the fridge or can I leave it on the counter for a few days? I will use fondant for her cake, so I don’t want to keep the cake in the fridge for too long.


  31. Ruth says

    OMG this is the must delicious chocolate frosting I have ever try!!!! So simple to make, great flavor and incredibly creamy. I was afraid it will be too sweet like other ones I have tried but not at all. Thank you!!!!! :)

  32. Shruthi says

    Oh My God, I am in seventh heaven right now. I love to bake and frequently do but frosting for some reason never worked out for me and so scared me. This is the first one I’ve had success with and the results are absolutely delicious and smooth!!! Thank you for sharing!!!

  33. Karen says

    I used a couple tablespoons more of milk because I wanted it to be super light and fluffy… turned out great! Take that old, expired canned icing in my cupboard… you didn’t ruin my day!

  34. Mary says

    Hi Christy!
    I just made your delicious chocolate frosting!!! So wonderful! I substituted heavy whipping cream for the milk in the recipe regretfully so, thinking it would make it even more decadent, but that only made it thicker, so I switched to regular old 2% milk and the spreadability was perfect!!! That’s what I get for changing up a tried and true recipe from you..LOL! Thank you for another wonderful recipe! I love reading your posts and truly enjoy the recipes!!!


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