My grandmother is moving out of her home and downsizing considerably, so a big group of my not-that-big family spent last weekend at her house, sorting, claiming, tossing, and moving things. My cousin, Kate, had the great idea to bring baked goods as a sort of way to make the day a little brighter and hopefully help minimize family drama and meltdowns (we still had one or two—this whole process has been fairly stressful) and she ended up bringing some delicious chocolate chip cookies (I ate a lot…let’s just say WeightWatchers was the furthest thing from my mind that weekend). Last Friday just so happened to be my grandmother’s birthday, so my mom and I decided we would bring a birthday cake. My dad’s high school reunion also happened to be last weekend, so not only was it decided that I’d make cake, but I also got roped into making cupcakes for the reunion. To make things simple, we used a delicious boxed yellow cake mix, but I wanted to make homemade icing. My grandmother has always liked yellow cake with chocolate icing, so I decided to do a variation on my vanilla buttercream from a little while ago and make a chocolate buttercream.
Now, I wasn’t quite sure how to write this post, because, to be perfectly honest, I messed up the icing when I made it. And then I made a different version and messed that up. And then I combined the two, added a little milk, and they miraculously combined to make the most delicious chocolate icing ever. See, I made one batch of icing in a buttercream style using melted Ghiradelli chocolate chips, but the mixture was so thick, it was like eating fudge, though the flavor was fantastic. For the second batch, I followed the recipe on the back of the Hershey’s cocoa powder box and used that cocoa for the chocolate flavor—unfortunately, I didn’t read carefully and, instead of melting the butter, I whipped a whole, unmelted stick into the mixture (I was in a buttercream mindset, and you use a whole, unmelted stick of butter in that type of icing), so once again, I got too-thick icing. I knew I needed to fix the problem, and I knew milk was often recommended as a way to thin out icing, so I poured some in, whipped it, and the icing came out with the perfect consistency and flavor. I had enough icing to ice (I spread it on with a knife rather than pipe out a big pile on top) 24 cupcakes and one, two-layer cake.
So, here’s what I’m gonna do: I’m going to share each recipe that I made, and say that you can either try to combine the two and make it all in one go, or, do what I did (and would probably do again), and make each icing separately, then combine and add a little milk until the desired consistency is reached. I know it seems like a lot of work, but seriously, this icing was really good—thick, super chocolatey, creamy, and rich.
|M is for Molly, my grandmother’s name|
Too-Thick Chocolate Buttercream Icing
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted (sifting removes lumps that would clump up in the frosting)
- 3-4 tbsp. milk
- 8-10 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli brand, because it’s good quality chocolate and creates a rich chocolatey flavor in the icing)
Put the butter in the mixer bowl and, using the paddle attachment, blend it on low for about a minute until the butter is a little creamy. Turn off the mixer and add the powdered sugar and milk to the bowl. Blend the mixture on low for about a minute, until the powdered sugar is incorporated into the wet ingredients. Increase the speed to medium and whip until the mixture is completely blended and looks thick. In the meantime, melt the chocolate either very slowly and carefully in the microwave or use a double boiler to melt the chocolate chips. Slowly add the melted chocolate to the other ingredients and whip on medium speed until fully incorporated into the icing. The icing will appear a medium to dark brown and will be thick.
Too-Thick Hershey’s Cocoa Powder Icing
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2/3 cup Hershey’s brand natural unsweetened cocoa
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Put the butter in the mixer bowl and, using the paddle attachment, blend it on low for about a minute until the butter is a little creamy. Turn off the mixer and add the powdered sugar, cocoa, vanilla extract, and milk to the bowl. Blend the mixture on low for about a minute, until the powdered sugar and cocoa are incorporated into the wet ingredients. Increase the speed to medium and whip until the mixture is completely blended and looks thick.
Super Chocolatey Chocolate Icing (The Right Icing)
- First batch of icing, the too-thick chocolate buttercream icing
- Second batch of icing, the too-thick Hershey’s cocoa icing
- Milk (about 4-8 tbsp., more or less until desired consistency is reached)
Combine the two different icings in the mixer bowl and blend on medium speed. Add milk, a tbsp. at a time, until the desired consistency is reached. Icing should be somewhat shiny and thick. It will spread easily and hold its shape.
This icing, though a lot of work, is absolutely delicious. It’s thick and creamy, and it has an intense chocolate flavor that’s so delicious. Perfect on cupcakes, cakes, and brownies (I even put a little leftover icing from the cake on my cousin’s cookies…so tasty!).