Bittersweet Chocolate Frosting

The consistency of this frosting is neither too thick nor too thin; it is perfect for spreading. Though it is known as Hungarian Frosting, I call it Bittersweet because of its taste.

This is the frosting for Chocolate Gemini.


  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 cup (100 grams) powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons hot tap water
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


Ingredient Preparations

If you don’t have time to let the butter soften, fill a 11/2 to 2-quart stainless steel mixing bowl with hot tap water. Pour out the water, wipe the bowl dry and drop in the butter. Using a rubber spatula, mash the butter against the sides of the bowl until it is very soft, smooth and homogeneous (the consistency of mayonnaise). If the butter remains too cold or lumpy, suspend the bowl over a larger bowl filled with hot tap water for a few seconds. You don’t want to melt the butter, though the butter touching the sides and bottom of the bowl may begin to. This is no problem; stir quickly to distribute the heat.

If the butter is firm and cold from the beginning of this process, continue to expose it to the hot water and stir as necessary. Be patient; it will soon be smooth. Then set it aside.

Making the Frosting

Cut the chocolate into matchstick-size pieces and place them in a 2- or 3-quart stainless steel bowl that fits snugly over another mixing bowl half filled with hot tap water (120 degrees) to touch the bottom of the bowl of chocolate. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is smooth and liquid. (If necessary, replace hot water if it cools.) When the chocolate is melted, remove it from the water.

Pour the sugar into a triple sifter and sift it on top of the melted chocolate, without stirring. Add the hot water; then stir to combine with a rubber spatula. The mixture will thicken like chocolate paste. Add 1 egg and stir to combine before adding the other egg. (Stirring quickly to incorporate the egg is fine, but whisking is not recommended. It introduces too much air, thereby lightening the frosting’s rich dark color.) Stir in the vanilla.

Finishing the Frosting

Add about ½ cup of the chocolate mixture to the bowl of butter, stirring with a rubber spatula to combine until smooth. Add this mixture to the remaining chocolate, and stir until it is smooth and homogeneous. For best results, use as soon as you finish making it.