Suzi's Blog

Fudgy Frosting



This post is the first of two. I had to flip a coin to see which would come first.

No, that’s not true. Look at that picture. The brownie is very good, made with cocoa and very cakey. But it is this frosting that literally tops this treat. This frosting, also made with cocoa, is universal. It adorns brownies here, but is excellent for other cookies or cakes.

The technique for this recipe lets you control the viscosity of the frosting. You start in a saucepan using 4 cups of powdered sugar. Still warm, that mixture can be easily poured over a cake, but it will definitely run. Adding more powdered sugar will gradually stiffen the frosting and I suggest doing that step by first pouring mixture out of the sauce pan and into a stand mixer. Beating with the mixer will make the incorporation of additional powdered sugar easier and will increase the rate of cooling. As the mixture cools, it stiffens, so you will more readily approach a stiffness needed to frost a cake top without having the frosting “drool” over the sides.

Remember though: having the frosting loose and flowing is a natural way to achieve a perfectly smooth surface, one that is “bakery perfect.”

The stiffening power of the powdered sugar depends on whether it is sifted and the day’s humidity. Getting to the consistency you want all depends on your frosting tasks. Add additional sugar slowly and remember: you can always add a little milk to loosen up frosting that has become too stiff for your task at hand.

Fudgy Frosting

Yield: 2+ cups


  • ½ cup butter, cut into ¼-inch chunks
  • ⅓ cup whole milk or heavy cream
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar, divided 4 cups and 1 cup


In a medium saucepan, place the butter, milk and cocoa. Over medium heat, melt the butter and combine the mixture while constantly whisking. Do not bring to a boil. When the butter has melted and mixture is uniform, add the vanilla.

Lower the heat to simmer and gradually add the 4 cups of confectioners’ sugar. Whisk continuously to achieve uniformity as quickly as possible.

Remove from the heat and pour mixture into a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Turn the mixer to medium and beat the mixture to being cooling and stiffening. Occasionally reduce the beater speed and add portions of the remaining cup of sugar. When the frosting has reached the consistency and temperature you need, stop the mixer and use immediately.

As the frosting cools further to room temperature it will set and resemble fudge. It will taste like it, too.

Source: Brian O’Rourke

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/4.5 for 1/25th second at ISO‑3200



Champagne Buttercream


Frostings by Courtney Dial Whitmore and Courtney Whitmore is a slim treasure of a book dedicated to decadence. Frostings in all forms and flavors appear here. I’m fond of buttercreams and prefer them very lightly flavored. I want my frosting subtle, with hinted flavor and with the ability to let me taste the richness of that underlying butter.

This recipe is just my style. This Champagne Buttercream offers the promise of bubbly now suitably encased in butter and sugar. Use the best quality butter you can. Champagne is fine, but Prosecco or Cava or other sparkling wines will give you alternative, but equally rich, experiences.

This Champagne Buttercream atop a classic white layer cake will dominate any summer brunch on your horizon.

Champagne Buttercream

Yield: 4+ cups


  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 4 cups [1 pound] powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons champagne


In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter for 2 minutes on medium speed. Adjust the speed to low and add the powdered sugar to the butter 1 cup at a time until well incorporated.

Add the vanilla extract and the Champagne. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Add ore powdered sugar to thicken the frosting or some milk to loosen.

Source: Frostings by Courtney Dial Whitmore and Courtney Whitmore

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/2.8 for 1/100th second at ISO‑1000