A healthy fudge frosting that is dairy free and tastes like a mug of hot chocolate meets a chunk of velvety fudge candy. And yet this vegan and gluten-free frosting is healthier than most frostings.
Healthy Fudge Frosting
OMG, this frosting will seriously have you swooning. You won't even care what it's spread on. It tastes like a chunk of your favorite fudge plopped into a mug of hot chocolate. I almost called it hot chocolate frosting except there is not SEO value in that, lol.
Not only does this fudge frosting taste incredible, it pipes onto cupcakes and cakes like a perfect dream, leaving a tiny crunchy surface just like bakery frosting.
How is This Fudge Frosting Healthy?
I get into the detail below, but the healthiest aspect of this frosting recipe is the shortening. Instead of an unhealthy shortening, I use palm oil shortening. In short (haha), palm oil is considered much healthier than other types of shortenings and even healthier than butter!
What Does This Fudge Frosting Taste Like?
Now that I've waxed poetic about the health factor of this frosting, how does it taste? Delicious and deeply chocolatey. The incredible flavor comes from a few directions.
First off, the recipe has both cocoa powder and melted chocolate for flavor.
Second, I used organic powdered sugar and everyone who knows will tell you organic powdered sugar tastes way better than regular powdered sugar.
Third, I didn't just use butter, I used a mix of butter and organic shortening. Organic shortening is not your mother's Crisco, haha. It is made of a mix of healthy red palm oil and coconut oil, both of which contain essential nutrition.
So what exactly are the ingredients in this fudge frosting?
Ingredients in Fudge Frosting
Organic Powdered Sugar: This sugar contains tapioca instead of corn starch found in most commercial powdered sugars, and it tastes so much better that you might want to always buy organic. My favorite brand is Wholesome.
Vegan Butter: This butter provides half the fat and I normally use Earthbalance sticks. Be sure to allow the sticks to be at room temperature before use; this takes about two hours or overnight.
Organic Plant-based Shortening: The other half of the fat portion is shortening. Not the white lard-based shortening such as crisco however. That type is extremely unhealthy. Instead, I use a plant-based shortening that is a mix of red palm oil and coconut oil. It's also non-GMO and sourced without harming the rain forest.
The red palm oil is non hydrogenated and provides antioxidants as well as vitamins A & E. The coconut oil provides nutrient-rich lauric acid. I use Nutiva brand but there are other plant-based shortenings as well.
But using just palm oil shortening is fine too. The brand Spectrum has an organic version. Palm oil alone is considered a healthier shortening and even healthier than butter. Read about the health value in palm oil shortenings in the Harvard Medical Newsletter here.
Personally I think the mix of palm oil and coconut oil (Nutiva) tastes better, but the palm oil shortening (Spectrum) is pure white so better if you are trying to create a white frosting.
Cocoa Powder: I love cacao powder but this year I began to use quality cocoa powder such as Valhrona and realized while the nutrition might be a touch less, this cocoa had far more flavor and was less expensive than cacao powder. However, by all means, use your favorite cocoa powder or cacao powder.
Chocolate Chips: I used Enjoylife semi-sweet chips but you can use your own favorite.
And of course, as with most frostings, I added vanilla and controlled the creamy level with milk. This recipe works well with 6 tbsp of milk but you can add more or less depending on how creamy you want your frosting texture to be. You also can use any milk you want; I used almond.
Quick detour. Since you are reading this, I know you have a place in your heart for chocolate so I'd like to invite you to sign up for my free chocolate course. Five lessons hit your inbox with detail on how to create your own simple healthy chocolate desserts.
Okay, so back to the fudge frosting...
What to Use Fudge Frosting On?
I used it here on my Dairy Free Chocolate Cake. The cake is not super sweet so the frosting is the perfect accompaniment. But you can also use it on cupcakes and any other cake you wish. As I mentioned, it pipes beautifully and holds the shape overnight or longer.
Ingredient Swaps for Fudge Frosting
The ingredients are so straight-forward there aren't a lot of swaps. I suppose you could use all butter instead of using any shortening but then you won't have the lovely light bakey frosting crunch on the surface, or the rich fudge flavor.
Fudge Frosting Recipe Tips
How do you make fudge frosting from scratch?
It's very easy to make this fudge frosting. Just put all ingredients in a bowl, mostly sugar, butter, shortening and chocolate, mix and you have frosting.
How do you thicken fudge frosting?
I normally thicken fudge by adding powdered sugar.
Why is my fudge icing grainy?
Fudge frosting can seem a bit grainy if even a spec of water gets into the mix. So be sure all your tools and bowls are stone dry.
How do you make chocolate frosting thicker?
I make frosting thicker by adding more powdered sugar. Some people add flour but I don't normally unless I am making my cookie dough frosting.
Steps to Make Fudge Frosting
This frosting is a one bowl frosting.
Step 1: Make sure your butter is soft and at room temperature. Melt the chocolate chips in a pyrex measuring cup (or your favorite microwave safe bowl) at 1 minute, stir until smooth and set aside.
Step 2: Cream all the other ingredients together. That's it!
How Much Frosting Does This Recipe Make?
This recipe makes enough frosting to frost about 18 cupcakes or 1 (2-layer) cake.
How to Store Fudge Frosting
I keep mine refrigerated for a couple of weeks, or frozen for 3 months. However, I keep frosted cupcakes or cakes on the counter at room temperature for about 24 hours. After that I refrigerate them.
Other Vegan Frosting Recipes
If you like this frosting recipe, you might like to try these:
Dairy Free Cookie Dough Frosting
Vegan Royal Icing for Sugar Cooking Decorating
Dairy Free Frosting
2 ingredient Chocolate Frosting
Healthy Chocolate Frosting
Peanut Butter Frosting
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Healthy Fudge Frosting
- Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave for 1 minute and set aside.
- Set the butter out to allow it to reach room temperature overnight or at least two hours before using.
- Put all ingredients in a large bowl and use a hand-mixer to mix the frosting until it is smooth.
- To keep it soft, put a soaking wet paper towel over the bowl until ready to frost. This will keep the frosting soft for about 10 minutes so plan your baking around this window.
- Store this frosting in the refrigerator for two weeks. To use it, let it sit at room temperature until it is soft. Normally I store it in frosting bags with a 2M frosting tip in the bag so it's ready to use on fresly baked cupcakes.
Dee Dine is founder of Green Smoothie Gourmet, a plant based recipe blog, and author of the recent cookbook, Crazy Healthy with 4 Ingredients and another immunity-boosting smoothie shot book, 4-Ingredient Smoothies + Juices , due out in January 2021. On this blog you'll find incredibly easy recipes with hidden veggies for anyone wanting to eat healthier, regardless of diet. Dee has graduate degrees in sciences and journalism, editor at The Feedfeed and a nutritional expert at WikiHow. More about Dee Dine here.