Chocolate Fudge Frosting (Or, Chocolate Mousse Gone Very Wrong)

March 27th, 2008


I stink at making chocolate mousse.  And, I mean, you can probably tell that from the picture.  Mousse is supposed to be light, and incredibly soft and airy.  Mine is a lump of the thickest, densest, sweetest, in-your-face chocolate you could find.

What you can’t tell from the picture is that this is the third time I’ve screwed up chocolate mousse.  In cooking class, my two partners and I dumped a small bowl of white, granulated powder into several separated egg yolks, and proceeded to whisk and whisk them in a double boiler, without any results.  The sugar was supposed to mix with the egg yolks to turn them pale and ribbony, ours did not.

Our instructer, unafraid of raw egg yolks, stick his finger in for a taste, put the yellow substance in his mouth, and proceeded to retch and run to the garbage can to spit it out.

“What did we do wrong?”

“That wasn’t sugar — that was salt!“  Yes, we had dumped half a cup of salt into about four egg yolks, and apparently the result was something less than delicious.

Undeterred, we started over.  This time, however, we didn’t wait for the egg yolks to cool properly before adding them to the beaten egg whites that the recipe called for.  Despite delicate folding (that was totally unnecessary), we ended up with chocolate pudding.


I will say, though, that chocolate pudding is quite a bit closer to mousse than my creation here.  If you’re looking for chocolate thick enough that you could stand up a spoon in it, I’ve created something you will like.  But, if that’s not quite your thing, I humbly suggest another excellent use for this recipe…

Chocolate Fudge Frosting.

I was going to say “chocolate buttercream frosting,” but there is actually very little butter in this recipe.  I was also going to say “chocolate ganache,” but it’s not pour-able enough to be a ganache.  I was going to say “plain old chocolate frosting,” but all the recipes I looked at used a lot more sugar and a lot less chocolate.  This is not a tablespoon-of-cocoa-powder-stirred-into-a-vanilla-frosting recipe.  This is a knock-your-socks-off-chock-full-of-chocolate concoction that is far, far, far too sweet and too chocolatey to eat out of the bowl by itself.  Let it chill and thicken a little, then stick it in a piping bag, and you will be happily decorating cakes with the best of them.  Or, use it to fill the center of a cake when it’s just prepared and incredibly spreadable. 

It’s such a good frosting that I hesitate to call it a mistake.  Someday, I will master chocolate mousse.  But for now, this is a darn good frosting.


Chocolate Fudge Frosting

10 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, cut into pieces
2 tbsp butter, softened
1 tbsp vanilla
2 tbsp sugar
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup light cream

1. On a double boiler, heat chocolate, vanilla and butter until melted, stirring to make sure there aren’t any lumps. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
2. In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar until lightened in color. Add cooled chocolate mixture and beat for about 3 minutes, until fully incorporated.
3. Add the cream in a steady stream, continuing to beat until fully mixed through. Spread on a prepared cake or allow to cool and pipe to decorate a prepared cake.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups of frosting.


Tags: desserts · food

28 responses so far ↓

  • 1 sue bette // Mar 27, 2008 at 9:10 am

    Hi Katy,
    Congrats on ending up with a great recipe (even if you were trying to do something else), in my own kitchen I have ended up with many surprise results – especially when working with desserts.
    All the Best!

  • 2 Kitt // Mar 27, 2008 at 9:43 am

    Well, that’s brilliant, even if it isn’t quite what you wanted.

    I would eat it with a spoon, too.

  • 3 steamykitchen // Mar 27, 2008 at 9:46 am

    can i lick the bowl?

  • 4 linda // Mar 27, 2008 at 10:14 am

    Funny story about the salt!
    Well good thing you made a mistake because now you have a perfect chocolate frosting recipe 😉

  • 5 MyKitchenInHalfCups // Mar 27, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    How many times have “accidents” resulted in discovery!
    I thought you were exaggerating a little until I saw you’d used salt 😉

  • 6 Deborah // Mar 27, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    I’m pretty sure I could still polish it all off by myself!!

  • 7 NuJoi // Mar 27, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    Hang in there!  Sometimes it takes practice.

  • 8 Elle // Mar 27, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    That looks like heaven in a bowl.  Maybe for dipping stuff in?  But I love the idea of having it on cake.  What a sacrifice to have to make, right?

  • 9 katy // Mar 27, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Jaden, you can definitely lick the bowl!  I absolutely licked the whisk quite happily.

    I’m glad you guys don’t think I’m a total idiot for the salt mishap — that’s what happens when there are too many (student) cooks in the kitchen, huh??

  • 10 Jessica // Mar 27, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    That looks decadent!

  • 11 Ann // Mar 27, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    You have no idea how many failed sweets have ended up as cake fillings at my house. This is, in my mind, what cake is FOR. 🙂

  • 12 Susan from Food Blogga // Mar 27, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    I’ll eat the bowls you don’t want. The denser and heavier the better.

  • 13 Joy // Mar 28, 2008 at 12:11 am

    I think I know what I’m going to put on the cake I’m making this weekend.  😉

  • 14 Donald // Mar 28, 2008 at 5:55 am

    The only mistake here is your terminology. Think Jedi mind trick: you WERE making the best frosting EVAR! 🙂

    And you did!

  • 15 adele // Mar 28, 2008 at 9:17 am

    Didn’t we establish that if a recipe fails to do what it originally intended to do, but turns out delicious anyway, it still counts as a rousing success?

    It looks like great frosting to me. 🙂

  • 16 Neen // Mar 28, 2008 at 9:53 am

    Well, the photos are absolutely gorgeous, and who really cares about the texture once the chocolate enters your mouth?? 🙂 That said, if you ever feel like trying again, I have never, ever had a bad experience with the following chocolate mousse recipe, even though it was one of the first non-baking deserts I ever tried to make. It has since become an entertaining staple, since you prepare it ahead of time and it’s thoroughly dependable. Don’t be weirded out by the olive oil. And it’s SUPER chocolatey, so it’s best to serve in, say, espresso cups or equally small ramkins so that your guests don’t get overwhelmed. Depending on the size of your parties, halving the recipe is more than okay.  Better luck next time!!

  • 17 Sugar Boilers roundup » Blog Archive » ’sugar boiler’ on the web // Mar 28, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    […] cooking class, my two partners and I dumped a small bowl of white, granulated powder into several separated egg yolks, and proceeded to whisk and whisk them in a double boiler, without any results. The sugar was supposed to mix with … […]

  • 18 Chocolate Lover // Mar 28, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    This actually sounds fantastic! We are always our own worst critics… I bet a touch of premium chocolate would add another glorious touch.

  • 19 katy // Mar 28, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    I think we are all in agreement that I *totally* meant to end up with frosting in this recipe.  You guys are the best!

    Neen, can’t wait to try that chocolate mousse recipe!

  • 20 Chou // Mar 28, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    Katy–it looks better than buttercream anyway–Yum yum. You know, you could feasibly chill it to get the fat hardened up a bit and then whip the living daylights out of it.  You should be able to incorporate a fair amount of air if you can keep the bowl cold. (Ice bath, for example)

  • 21 Isa // Mar 28, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    I have to say I’m happy your mousse didn’t work out… cause this frosting looks terrific! Thanks for sharing the recipe and the funny story!

  • 22 Perfect Party Cake | sugarlaws // Mar 30, 2008 at 7:27 am

    […] Comments Isa on Chocolate Fudge Frosting (Or, Chocolate Mousse Gone Very Wrong)Chou on Chocolate Fudge Frosting (Or, Chocolate Mousse Gone Very Wrong)Meredith on Pear and Blood […]

  • 23 Joy the Baker // Mar 30, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    OMG!  I can’t believe you used salt!  I love this chocolate mousse turned chocolate frosting.  You took a mistake and made it work!  Bravo!

  • 24 Chocolate Mocha Mousse | sugarlaws // May 8, 2008 at 7:16 am

    […] needed several very generous splashes of liqueur.  Ok, well, maybe that couldn’t have saved all of my previously chronicled mousse failures, but it was actually a large part of the texture problem. The chocolate section of the recipe […]

  • 25 Dee // Jun 30, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    I just want to THANK YOU for your “successful” frosting.  I have been searching for a chocolate frost that would not be grainy or lumpy.  MARAMING SALAMAT po.  (Thank you very much).

  • 26 ali // Oct 30, 2009 at 9:40 am

    i can’t wait to try this! do you think it would cover a layer cake, or should i double it?

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  • 28 Sandy // Jun 22, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    I’m looking for a good chocolaty icing so I can’t wait to try this one! Looks delish! Don’t worry if things first don’t turn out right – I can’t tell you how mny times I’ve had to tweek things or completely start over in making cakes and frostings – but just like the princess had to kiss many frogs to find a prince… many “mistakes ” can turn magical!!!! 🙂

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