How to make chocolate icing

OK, you can buy ready-made chocolate icing in most shops and supermarkets. All you need to do is heat the packet together with its contents, then pour it out onto the cake or pastry. Very convenient indeed, but you can’t control what they put in there, so you’ll have to be content with ‘a mix of vegetable oils’ and ’emulgators’ among other ingredients showing on the packet. At least here in Slovakia. I don’t really know anyone who’d use the store-bought stuff to replace fresh, home-made chocolate icing. It’s easy and fun to do, doesn’t take long and, above all, it tastes much better than the mass-produced chocolate mix.

Managing chocolate icing has always been in the forefront of my Mum’s baking. If she didn’t like her icing, she wouldn’t be happy with the cake – no matter how delicious it was. So I learnt to make my own chocolate icing quite early in my baking life, although I’ve never been such a perfectionist as my Mum. I want to share with you today what she taught me, and hope my daughters will pick the advice when they feel like it.

Basically, you only need two ingredients to make chocolate icing – and that is:

  • 100 g chocolate (cooking or dark one)
  • 50 g margarine or shortening

I’ve been using these same measurements for all the desserts so far, whether it be Banana No-bake Minicakes, Creamy Banana No-bake Cake, Dobosh Cookies, or plenty others.  Not only does it yield enough chocolate icing to cover most desserts, but I’m very often left with a surplus. The good thing is that, once made, you can store the chocolate icing in the fridge, and reheat it whenever and whatever you need it for.

The choice of the right ingredients plays a crucial role if you want your cake/cookies look and taste good. For example, we in Slovakia almost always go for a regular cooking chocolate, which is available in all stores around the country. I used it for Banana No-bake Minicakes last Silvester:

No-bake Banana Minicakes
No-bake Banana Minicakes

However, when we were making Dobosh cookies with my daughter recently,  I had no cooking chocolate at home but a Slovak brand of dark chocolate. I was surprised how shiny and deep in colour our cookies came out when dipped in the icing:

They looked almost as immaculate as my Mum’s.

As for the margarine or shortening, again we have a special brand in Slovakia that works very well for icing, so that’s what most Slovak housewives use, including my family. I guess each country has its own selection of margarines and shortenings, so feel free to share your favourite ones in the comments.


Break the chocolate and the margarine/shortening into a small cooking pot and melt over a medium-low heat. You can do this by placing the pot straight on a cooker plate, or in a steam bath, as seen in the photos below:

Put aside to let cool a little.

Depending on the cake or pastry you want to coat, pour or spoon the icing over the top and smooth to achieve a nice finish.

Pour the hot chocolate icing all over the cake.
Pour the hot chocolate icing all over the cake.

In some cases, the recipe will call for dipping the individual cakes/cookies in the warm chocolate mixture:

And here are a few examples of what it may look like in the end:

What is your experience with chocolate icing and how do you make it?
I’d love to hear your suggestions and ideas.

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