This Dark Chocolate Crémeux frosting is easily the best chocolate frosting I’ve ever made. It’s super smooth, incredibly creamy, and deliciously fudgy. And the best thing? It has an INTENSE chocolate flavor!
I thought I’d do a special post on that delicious dark chocolate crémeux frosting I’ve used in that AMAZING Chocolate Espresso Cake I told you about, because it’s a little different than most frostings.
Most frostings are made with a lot of sugar and butter, and this one is made with homemade custard and a LOT of chocolate. Obviously, all that chocolate is what gives this frosting its intense chocolate flavor. Seriously, this stuff tastes JUST like a good quality chocolate bar. It’s the best!
Personally, I’d never heard about chocolate crémeux until I watched a Youtube video that featured Proof Bakery’s Chocolate Espresso Cake. After some Googling, I learned that crémeux is the French word for ‘creamy’, and that it’s used to refer to a wide variety of different creamy fillings and sauces, like lemon crémeux and chocolate crémeux.
So. Creamy is the word here 🙂
I’m not sure whether this frosting is an actual crémeux, because most recipes I’ve seen online don’t use cornstarch and I added a little cornstarch to the crémeux to make it a little thicker, but it sure is creamy!
And dense, fudgy, smooth, and delicious.
In Proof Bakery, they use a milk chocolate version on their chocolate espresso cake. But as I’m a dark chocolate kind of girl, I adapted their recipe to make a dark chocolate version.
Proof’s recipe for milk chocolate crémeux didn’t work for me, by the way. The Proof recipe calls for heavy cream, but I can’t get that in my area, so I used whipping cream instead. But since whipping cream has a lower fat content, the resulting crémeux didn’t set up thick enough to use as a frosting.
To fix it, I used whole milk instead of low-fat milk and added some butter to compensate for the whipping cream’s lower fat content. Now, the recipe totally works! This crémeux is gorgeously thick, like good frosting should be.
It even pipes beautifully! ↑
So what do you need to make this deliciousness?
First of all, egg yolks, for the custard. And yes, those are a lot of yolks up there. Nine, actually. That’s a lot, but this frosting is SO WORTH IT!
But hang on. The batch pictured in the photos is enough to frost and fill a 3-layer 18-cm/7-inch cake. You can find the ingredient list for that monster batch in my recipe for Chocolate Espresso Cake.
However, in the recipe included below, I adjusted the amounts of ingredients to make about half a batch, which will give you enough crémeux to frost 6-8 cupcakes, or to serve 4 people a delicious, decadent dessert (just serve the crémeux on its own in a pretty bowl with a spoon!).
So for half a batch of this stuff, you’ll need:
- just 4 egg yolks (sounds better, right?)
- whipping cream
- whole milk
- unsalted butter
- granulated sugar
- and chocolate
The chocolate I used was 58% cocoa solids, but you can also use milk chocolate.
Another thing you may want to use is a digital sugar thermometer.
To make the custard, cream and milk and heated over low heat until the mixture reaches scalding point. In the meantime, yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and a splash of the cream mixture are whisked until frothy. Once the cream mixture is hot, it’s whisked into the yolk mixture.
The mixture is then poured back into the pan and heated over low heat until the bubbles disappear and the mixture thickens, which happens at around 82-83°C/180-183°F.
Technically, you don’t need to use a sugar thermometer. You can just remove the custard from the heat once it has thickened. But if you don’t make custard a lot, or just want to make sure it reaches the right temperature, a digital sugar thermometer is a handy little tool.
Once the custard is cooked, pour it into a bowl with the chopped chocolate and butter. The hot custard will melt the chocolate and you’re left with this warm, velvety chocolate sauce.
Cover it with plastic wrap, allow to cool to room temperature, place it in the fridge overnight to set, and the next day you’ll have the most delicious chocolate frosting in the world!
Pipe pretty swirls of it on top of vanilla cupcakes for an amazing chocolate-vanilla cupcake, or use chocolate cupcakes to make double chocolate cupcakes. Or make the Chocolate Espresso Cake, of course!
But no matter how you serve it, this stuff is good.
If you like this recipe, click here to subscribe to my mailing list and receive a FREE eCookbook (which includes the BEST recipe for Nutella frosting), share this post with your chocolate-loving friends, and scroll down for a nice pin to save the recipe for later 😉
Have a great weekend!
- 145g (or 5.1 ounces) dark chocolate, I used chocolate with 58% cocoa solids
- 10g (or 2 teaspoons) unsalted butter
- 100g (or ⅓ cup + 4 teaspoons) whole milk
- 155g (or ½ cup + 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon) whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 31g (or 2 tablespoons + 1½ teaspoon) granulated sugar
- 4 large egg yolks (about 68-72g)
- Finely chop the chocolate and place in a medium-sized bowl with the butter. Set a strainer over the bowl and set aside.
- Combine milk and cream in a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together sugar and cornstarch. Add a splash of the milk mixture and whisk until smooth. Add the egg yolks and whisk until foamy.
- Place the milk mixture in the pan over low heat, stirring with a spatula, and allow to just come to a simmer. Slowly drizzle the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Once all of the milk mixture has been added, pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan.
- Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a spatula, until the mixture thickens and a thermometer inserted registers 82-83°C/180-183°F. Immediately remove from heat and pour into the strainer over the chocolate and butter in the bowl. Discard any curdled bits.
- Allow to sit for a minute, then stir the custard into the chocolate until the chocolate and butter have melted and the crémeux is an even color.
- Cover the surface of the crémeux with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic directly onto the surface of the crémeux with your hand, and refrigerate for one day to give the crémeux time to set up. The crémeux will keep, covered and refrigerated, up to 3 days.