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Glossy Chocolate Icing

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Recipe adopted from Cuisine at Home magazine.  [Recipe makes 3 cups, or enough to ice a two-tiered 8-inch round cake].

A few weeks ago, my grandma asked me if I wanted a stack of cooking magazines (largely Cook's Illustrated) that her friend was getting rid of.  Of course I said yes, and I'm so glad that I did.  I've only managed to do a quick scan through each of the twenty or so magazines, but immediately one recipe in particular stood out to me:  old-fashioned chocolate cake with glossy chocolate icing.

For those of you who know me well know that desserts are my thing.  But with that being said, I've yet to post a recipe for a simple chocolate icing!  Madness, eh?  I've tried so many different recipes, but they haven't even come close to what I look for in an icing.  It has to be rich, smooth, and silky, unlike all of those buttercream-based recipes out there.  After almost four years since this site started, I can finally [proudly] post a chocolate icing that fits the bill perfectly.

[Side note:  If you're looking for a cake to go with this icing, I strongly recommend crazy cake, pictured above].


1 stick unsalted butter
10 1/2 ounces (~1 1/2 cups) sugar
3 3/4 ounces (1 1/4 cups) unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of kosher salt

1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat.  Whisk in the sugar, cocoa, and salt.  [Side note:  The mixture will be very thick; don't panic].  In a separate bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, sour cream, and instant coffee.  Slowly incorporate the cream mixture into the saucepan.  Continue whisking this mixture over medium-low heat for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the sugar has completely dissolved.  [Side note:  The heat should be just high enough to dissolve the sugar without bringing the icing to a boil].  Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla.  Let the icing cool for at least two hours, or until it's thick enough to ice a cake with.  If you're in a rush, the icing can be transferred to the refrigerator to speed up the process.

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  1. Hi T.J.- Could I use oil (like vegetable or canola) instead of the 1 stick of butter you think ? Thanks, Mel

    1. Mel - good question. I could be wrong, but I would think that using oil instead of butter would give you an icing that would never set up after cooling. The next best thing might be butter-flavored Crisco...which is vegetable oil-based. Let me know how it turns out if you give it a try :)