Fudge Icing goes perfectly on so many desserts. Get this heirloom fudge icing recipe that is sure to become a family favorite

Fudge Icing Recipe | ©addapinch.com

For as long as I remember, this Fudge Icing has been a special part of my Grandmother Verdie’s recipe collection. She’d make it each year to top my sister’s Chocolate Pound Cake Grandmother would make her for her birthday.

While the Chocolate Pound Cake was just delicious on its own, it didn’t hold a candle to when it was topped with her fudge icing.


Maybe that’s why I have this obsession with chocolate.

Fudge Icing Recipe | ©addapinch.com

I will tell you though, this fudge icing is thick and rich – and heavenly! I make it while the chocolate pound cake is cooling and then begin pouring  the fudge icing over the top once it is ready. By the end, I do end up having to just spoon bits of the fudge icing onto the cake it gets so thick.

Chocolate Pound Cake Recipe | ©addapinch.com

Be sure to make this cake WITH the fudge icing soon. It is perfect for celebrations, reunions, picnics, taking on camping trips and just about anything else you can imagine.

Oh yeah – and it works like a charm for those instances when one child is jealous of another’s birthday party.

Believe me, I speak from experience.

How to Make Fudge Icing

  • Stir together sugar, cocoa powder, and milk together in a large saucepan set over medium-high heat. Cook until large bubbles begin to form and the mixture reaches a hard boil.
  • Boil for 1 minute at a hard boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla extract. Beat with a wooden spoon until thick and smooth.
  • Pour over the cake. The fudge icing will firm as it cools.

This Fudge Icing also works perfectly on so many other desserts! Here are just a few ideas:

Practically just about anything you would use a ganache on, you can now use this fudge icing recipe. You won’t be sorry!

Here’s Grandmother’s Fudge Icing Recipe. I hope you love it as much as we do!

Fudge Icing Recipe

Fudge Icing goes perfectly on so many desserts. Get this heirloom fudge icing recipe that is sure to become a family favorite.
4.52 from 29 votes

Review Recipe

Print Recipe

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time10 mins
Servings: 12
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author: Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch


  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 heaping tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, cut into cubes (1 stick)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • Mix sugar, cocoa powder, and milk together in a large saucepan.
  • Cook over medium-high heat until large bubbles form and reaches a hard boil. Boil one minute at a hard boil. Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla.
  • Beat with a wooden spoon until thick and smooth.
  • Pour over cake. It will harden as it cools.


This icing hardens quickly. I prefer to use it as a poured icing as photographed or poured onto a sheet cake. I would not recommend using it as a spreadable frosting on a layered cake.
Have you made this recipe?Tag @addapinch on Instagram or hashtag it #addapinch

Robyn xo

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Robyn Stone

..where I share sweet, savory and southern recipes, as well as home and garden tips and tidbits of travel.

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129 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Hi Robyn

    I have made this fudge recipe more than once and it has been excellent. We are undergoing a heatwave at the moment and I have made two batches of the recipe and it just won’t set. HELP

    1. I’m so glad you enjoy it! I’m so sorry, but it may certainly be the humidity and the heat, Alfie. Hopefully you’ll have a cool part of the day soon to make it a little easier to pour it and let it cool & set/harden. Thanks!

      1. My Mother use to make this and it was my Daddy’s favorite poured over yellow cake, she poked holes in the cake and it run down into the cake. I never got her recipe and I’m so glad I found this recipe, going to use it for my grandsons BD cake. Thanks so much

    1. Hi LM,
      This icing is one that is poured onto your cake. It should get thick and smooth (like mentioned in the recipe) and it should harden after it’s poured onto the cake. This icing is a different consistency than many other frostings. Hope this helps – Thanks!

    2. When I was a teenager, I was learning to cook (baking is my love). I made the yellow cake with an icing that very well could be this, it certainly looks like it in the picture. I call it Jesus’ Birthday Cake. I promised Him I’d make it for Him every year. All of my family knows this cake. The icing recipe actually came to me from my cousin. She gave me the recipe more than once, but I lost it so many times over the years. This is NOT an easy icing to find online. I’ve looked for months before I stumbled on this one. Can’t wait to make it for Christmas. A promise is a promise. 😉

      1. Tina, this was the recipe my grandmother made when I was growing up. I’m sure this was a recipe that many women in the South made and passed down to their families.

  2. What exactly is a “hard boil”?  When I look it up on Google just gives me hard boiled eggs lol.  I candy thermometer has “hard crack” around the 300 degree mark. Is that the same thing?

  3. We love this icing. It’s the closest thing to fudge in an icing that I’ve ever tasted. There is a little problem with who gets to scrape the pot when finished. I have yet to run out of icing when using it on a layer cake. Thanks. Great recipe.

    1. Haha, I remember my sister and I scraping the pot after my grandmother made this icing when we were growing up! That is some kind of delicious! Thanks so much for leaving this kind comment – I’m thrilled that you enjoyed this, C.J.!

  4. I’ve made this icing many times. All my family and friends love it. I’ve never had a problem with consistency. I pour the frosting over the cake when it’s warm. I’ve used it on moist, cake sheets, bundt cakes and cupcakes. 

  5. Made this icing for your best chocolate cake. It is delish and tastes just like fudge. It came out perfect, I was a little doubtful when I took it off after 1 minute of heavy boiling, but the more you stir it the thicker it becomes. It did take several minutes for mine to get thick, so just keep stirring if yours isn’t getting thick enough. For those of you with a candy thermometer boil until soft ball.

  6. I have made this icing numerous times because flavor is great. However this is not a simple icing. Sometimes it works; sometimes it don’t ;). I have made it across many states. To get mine to a consistency that I find correct, I have to boil mine for much longer to harden the icing ( about 8 minutes). This makes it the consistency of fudge covering the cake. If I boil it for only one minute as described in the directions, the consistency is hot fudge sauce. If I boil it for 12 minutes, it makes an amazing “cracked fudge” that I use in a layer cake. I have tried this icing with dutch process cocoa and the icing never ever works out.

    1. Hi Krysta,
      I’m happy to hear that you enjoy the taste – it’s one of our favorites from my Grandmother. This should actually be one of the very simplest icings. This is supposed to be a poured icing as I describe in my blog post. I recommend pouring it on the cake as in the pictures I show of the Chocolate Pound Cake. The icing will harden after it sits.
      I hope this helps! Thanks! xo

  7. This stuff is great!!! Pour it over ice cream. Yummy! But, be ready to serve, it melts the ice cream fast. Hot fudge sauce and its so much better than that jar kind. Boil it 6 minutes and you have fudge candy. But, you have to work quickly or it wont pour out of the pan. Love it!!!

    1. I’m so glad you like it Rachelle! I must say I’ve not tried this icing over ice cream – sounds decadent!!!
      You are correct, this poured icing firms up fast, so it is one that you have to move quickly to pour over your cakes or brownies, etc.
      I always loved “sampling” the pan for that bit of extra icing after pouring over the cake. It’s so delicious!
      Thanks so much! xo

  8. I have been searching for this recipe for AGES!!! My cousin made this when I was a child and she taught me how to make it, over the phone, but that was 40 years ago!! 😀 She’s passed on and I’ve struggled to find it. I know WHY I found it this time. This is a very special finish to a very special birthday cake I bake. Thank you SO VERY MUCH for sharing!!! 🙂 May you be doubly blessed!!!

    1. Aww, bless you too Kejtlin! This one of those delicious favorite recipes my Grandmother made. It was always the requested icing on my sister’s birthday cakes too. I hope you enjoy this for many years to come! Thanks so much for saying hello! xo

      1. Just made this for a butter rum cake. It is humid so i ran the air and used a candy thermometer. I cooked it a tad past soft ball which took 3 minutes after it began to boil. Then i beat it with a mixer an additional 5 minutes. As soon as it began to dull i poured it on and it turned out perfect!

  9. I plan to make this today and I’m a little worried about the consistency. I’ve made it before using my grandmother’s recipe, however she only estimated the amounts of the ingredients. She made it so many times that she didn’t need to measure. Anyway, it’s raining and humid in Villa Rica, Ga.. today! Will I need to boil longer than 1 minute? I have failed several times when making this in the past that I’m hesitant to try again. Sometimes it’s too hard and sometimes it’s sticky and doesn’t set. I know that once you start pouring it on the cake, there’s no turning back.

    1. Hi Cindy!
      It always turns out fine when I make it according to this recipe.
      My grandmother made this a lot too! So delicious!
      I hope you enjoy making – and eating – this icing. Thanks so much!

  10. This is the best recipe for chocolate icing/fudge that I have used for a very long time. I made coconut macaroon bars which were a little gooey when I put them in the pan. A couple days later I put a layer of this fudge on top. It was great.

  11. I tried this recipe this afternoon while baking with my 2 year old son (needless to say, there was loads of finger/spoon licking!!) It was a bit runny to begin with but i let it set a bit before pouring it and it was perfect. I’m just wondering if its possible to store and reuse the icing at a later date -I would guess by warming it slightly? I have left over and can’t bring myself to chuck it out!!! Thanks 🙂

  12. Your recipes are fantastic. You should open a cooking school and give lessons to newly weds. Didn’t know a thing about cooking when I got married (many yrs. ago) , it was a struggle. Have to get bananas and make your banana pudding with the meringue. Thanks for an enjoyable site.

  13. Thank you for this recipe! I have a dear young man next door that mows for me for nothing. I am senior have a hard time finding someone in my small town. I wanted to do something special for him so I made a fudge cake and this icing. It turned out perfect by the way. His eyes lit up like a firecracker when I gave it to him. I love doing for others, especially when they are doing for me. May all your days be blessed.

    1. Carol,
      What a sweet thing for you both to do! Sounds like you both are such a blessing to each other. So glad he liked the cake with the fudge icing! Thanks! xo

    1. I’ve never tried to use this as a filling for cookies, SweetBabu. You would just have to try it to see if it worked but would need to work fast since it hardens pretty quickly. Thanks!

  14. Hello Robyn,

    I am trying to make some cookies from my childhood that have a “fudge like” icing on them. I was wondering if you think this would pipe through a piping bag if I let it cool a bit?

  15. What temp is a “hard boil”? The same as a rolling boil or hard crack stage in candy making? My apologies for being a nuisance beginner, but I saw this question asked a while back and did not see it addressed. It looks to be an important part of this delicious recipe, though. Thanks in advance for any help you can give.

  16. I made this with Lactaid whole milk. Not setting, is this the reason? After adding butter and vanilla, can I re-boil it?

    1. This icing is one that is poured onto your cake. It should get thick and smooth (like mentioned in the recipe) and it should harden after it’s poured onto the cake. This icing is a different consistency than many other frostings. I don’t think the Lactaid milk would make a difference. If you need to heat it more to thicken, you can even after the butter and vanilla have been added. Hope this helps

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