Homemade Chocolate Pudding Frosting from scratch is the easy way to frost all your favorite chocolate cake desserts!
You can make this easy Chocolate Pudding Frosting to go on any cake you want, especially a chocolate cake. My favorite pairing is with this Jack Daniels Cake, which I make for grown-up birthday parties, and add some sprinkles and candles to make it more festive. You can turn any cake into a birthday cake by adding sprinkles to match your party theme and a few candles to make it a bit more fun.
I just made a delicious homemade chocolate cake and used this frosting recipe to finish it and the two are made to go together! You will love this combo and your friends and family won’t believe that you made everything completely from scratch. Give it these two a try together.
Why We Love Chocolate Pudding Frosting
I like to have rich, smooth, and decadent chocolate frosting for my desserts, and nothing that comes out of a can provides that, so I use this easy recipe to make sure my frosting stands up to my specifically high standards. It spreads beautifully, is simple to make, keeps very well, and the color is simply perfect chocolate brown.
This frosting has serious ganache vibes, but with pudding instead of cream and chocolate. It still holds the glossy finish of a traditional chocolate ganache frosting. This chocolate frosting may have a pudding base, but it is so light and creamy once whipped with the butter, that it’s almost like a mousse!
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: Make sure to use unsweetened as you want the flavors and chemical interactions to be balanced in this recipe.
Whole Milk: Only whole milk will work to get the right fat content for consistency in this frosting recipe.
Unsalted Butter: We are adding salt to this frosting, so you don’t want to use salted butter and make the taste too strong.
Bittersweet Chocolate: Using the right chocolate in frosting makes a huge difference, and you want the flavor to be correct.
Salt: Salt amplifies the chocolate and sweet flavors making them perfectly paired and balanced.
There’s no instant pudding mix or Cool Whip in this recipe! Yup. No instant pudding frosting here.
Instead, you’ll be making a pudding mixture from scratch as the base for this frosting. It’s super easy and practically fool-proof. Don’t worry! Then beat everything until it’s SUPER fluffy and dreamy.
How to Make Pudding Frosting
WHISK dry ingredients for pudding together.
POUR in the wet ingredients and cook until thickened.
CHILL pudding in the fridge covered with plastic wrap.
MELT the chocolate to add to the chilled vanilla pudding, creamed butter, vanilla, and salt.
BEAT frosting until light and fluffy. Then frost your favorite cake recipe!
Tips & Tricks
- When complete this frosting recipe will make about 8 cups of fluffy frosting. That is a perfect amount to frost a two-layer 8-inch or 9-inch round cake or 24 cupcakes. You will have extra frosting if you’re using it on a 9-inch x 13-inch sheet cake
- The milk is cooked in this frosting and it is stabilized with sugar it is ok to leave at room temp once your cake is frosted for up to three days.
- This frosting will thicken and have a more firm ganache-type texture as opposed to the silky soft and whipped texture when it is at room temperature. If you chill the cake before serving give it about three to four hours to come up to room temp before serving. Do not let the frosted cake sit in a warm room or direct sunlight.
- This fluffy pudding frosting can be made ahead of time and chilled, then let it sit at room temp for at least an hour and re-whip before frosting your dessert.
What are the differences between frosting and icing?
I explain this difference as you need a knife or spatula to spread frosting and you can drip or pour icing. Usually, frostings are light and fluffy and thick, and the icing is going to be thinner and glossier.
If you were to make cinnamon rolls you could put either a thick cream cheese frosting on top and spread it with a spatula or you can drizzle a thin vanilla icing over the tops. You would get two very different textures and thicknesses with your topping choices.
What are the different kinds of frosting and icing?
- Buttercream Frosting: the main ingredients are butter and confectioner’s sugar whipped with a small amount of cream and flavoring (there are many types of Buttercream Frostings)
- Cooked Frosting: (like this one), as well as a traditional seven-minute frosting
- Whipped Cream Frosting: a base of whipped cream mixed with confectioners sugar for a simple and light frosting
- Ganache: simple but decadent frosting (and other uses) made of melted chocolate and cream
- There are also different types of icings, such as glazes and royal icing.
More delicious dessert recipes
- Lemon Raspberry Cake
- The Best Chocolate Pudding Cupcakes
- No-Bake Chocolate Lasagna
- Mom’s Best Ever Coconut Cake
- Pink Asti Cupcakes
The next time you need an easy and delicious chocolate frosting for a dessert I hope you try this one and then come back and tell me what you made and how you liked it!
Chocolate Pudding Frosting
- Whisk together the sugar, flour, and cocoa.
- Whisk the milk into the flour mixture and then transfer to a small saucepan.
- Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly for 4 to 6 minutes until it begins to boil. Once boiling, boil for 30 seconds only then remove from heat.
- Transfer the pudding mixture to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap touching the surface so it's completely covered. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Melt the chopped bittersweet chocolate at 30-second intervals in the microwave. Stir in between each heating until fully melted, then let cool.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute. (You can also do this in a large mixing bowl and a hand mixer.)
- Then add 1/3 of the pudding mixture to the butter and mix. Repeat until all the pudding has been added. Add the melted chocolate to the bowl and beat just until combined.
- Add the vanilla and salt, and mix on medium speed for 6 to 8 minutes. The frosting should be light and fluffy and light brown in color.