Free Starter Guide

fudgy dark chocolate date frosting

Share this post:

Vegan Fudgy Dark Chocolate Frosting

chocolate cupcake frosting

A few weeks ago, Craig and I watched Forks Over Knives. I’m kinda food documentary obsessed, so I was totally into it. Actually, whenever I find myself slipping with my healthy food lifestyle, I like to pop on one of the gazillion food documentaries on Hulu and it really helps reaffirm my whole foods lifestyle.

Now, of course, all of those documentaries are propaganda—not journalism—and should approached as such. I like to take them with a grain of salt and do my own research before I go and change my diet to 100% kale juice and tree bark just because some guy said so in a voice over some B-roll of a happy family playing in a field of daisies. But even though I’m decidedly…skeptical…about the things that are said in these documentaries, they do always get me thinking.

chocolate cupcake frosting

If you haven’t seen or heard of Forks Over Knives, it’s basically selling what they call a “plant-based diet” (AKA: veganism) as a great way to live a healthy life. Included are lots of stories about folks who were sick (mostly with cardiac issues, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.) and when they transitioned to a whole foods, vegan diet, many of their diseases disappeared or at least diminished. Cool! Whatever works to get people healthier is totally awesome in my books.

But, personally, I still eat animal products, and don’t plan on changing that—even after watching FOK. That being said, what FOK did do for me is start to reevaluate some spots in my diet where I could maybe think about leaning more heavily on plants. If I’m being entirely honest, even though I’ve been trying to cut back on meat for years, I still use it (and other animal products) as the cornerstone of my meal planning. It takes a lot of effort and thought for me to make sure we have meatless meals in our menu each week. I guess that’s just engrained in my mind (and our culture here in the States). Sometimes, it’s still hard for me to feel like I’m eating a “real” meal when it’s meatless. And I’d much rather live a life where animal products are an accent in my diet rather than a main pillar. For me, when I eat that way, I feel my healthiest, strongest and my grocery budget is at its happiest.

chocolate cupcake frosting

So what does this have to do with chocolate cupcakes? Well, I was perusing the Forks Over Knives website to get some creative recipe ideas and stumbled onto this little dose of genius—Double Chocolate Cupcakes with Date Frosting. I was totally in disbelief that you could make frosting out of dates. It was the same feeling I had the first time I heard about banana soft serve. Mind. Blown. Maybe this is something that is common knowledge in vegan communities, but for this carnivore, date-based frosting is pretty much the most insane and awesome discovery on the planet. What other crazy cool secrets are you vegans hiding over on the cheese-free side? Share your wealth of creative plant-based goodies with the rest of us!

chocolate cupcakes frosting

I changed up the method and ingredients a little bit, but the end result was still an incredible, fudgy, frosting masterpiece! All made without a drop of refined sugar or dairy. This is no buttercream (drool.yum.) but it is an awesome alternative to your normal cake shop frosting. If you’ve ever made a ganache before, it’s almost the same consistency as that, and the flavor is 100% chocolatey-goodness. Considering it’s made with dates, you’d think it’d be a little gritty, but it actually turns out incredibly smooth, spreadable and creamy. I’m pretty much in love with this stuff!



fudgy dark chocolate date frosting

  • Author: Cassie Johnston
  • Prep Time: 3 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: About 2 cups of frosting 1x


Considering this fudgy dark chocolate date frosting is made with dates, you’d think it’d be a little gritty, but it actually turns out incredibly smooth, spreadable and creamy.



  • 2 cups Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt


  1. Place the dates in the basin of a blender, or in a tall, narrow container if using an immersion blender. Pour boiling water over dates and let sit for 10-15 minutes or until the dates are very soft.
  2. Blend water and dates on high until very, very smooth. Add in the cocoa, salt and vanilla and blend until well-mixed.
  3. Chill the frosting until completely cool (about 3 hours) before spreading on cupcakes.

  • Category: Dessert

Do you like food documentaries? Which one is your favorite?

Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wholefully. She's a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. She lives on a small hobby farm in Southern Indiana with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and 15 chickens.

Leave a Reply

34 Responses
  1. Shauna

    Your recipe says “1/2 unsweetened cocoa powder” with no measurement, FYI!

    I think this is awesome! I recently went to a raw foods restaurant with a friend and had the date and walnut brownie, which was amazing. It was very fudgey and delicious! I will have tomtrynthis frosting!

      1. I do the same thing on my blog! It nice when people are looking out for you:) I’m making this frosting now. I gave up refined sugar and my sister said, “What are we going to do for your birthday cake?” All of the sites that are low carb and even vegan were calling for chocolate chips and I couldn’t use them. When I found this recipe, I was excited. I have to chill the frosting for 3 hours, but I got a taste of it and it was so good! Thanks for having this on here. I think I found the trick to still having a birthday cake! 😀

  2. Hannah

    I love forks over knives, also Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead was a good one about juicing. But, like you, I understand you have to take them as a sales pitch, realizing different things work for different people. I however, have jumped on the plant based wagon as a vegetarian. One of my favorite protein packed vegetarian meals are rice beans and kale with tahini salad dressing and nutritional yeast sprinkled on top. Also, if you have never tried Traders Joe’s raw creamy unsalted almond butter, you are missing out!

  3. I discovered your blog through pintrest a little bit ago, and just wanted to say I’ve loved every post so far. You have a new regular here, for sure. Can’t wait to try all the fun ideas I’m finding here!

  4. Meg

    I watch a lot of Food documentaries, a lot. Mostly for the same reason (hey! a little extra motivation and information never hurt anyone.) Last night I watched The Engine 2 Diet (same guy from FOK, but he goes to two homes and teaches people about a plant-based diet.) We eat animal products in my house, but I like to be informed about the way other people view diets and food and try to make better food choices for myself.

    The other documentary that I found REALLY interesting: Dive! It’s about dumpster diving. I don’t, and never will, dive into dumpsters for my food, but I respect people who choose to. This documentary was great and drastically changed my views on wasting food. It talks a lot about stores that donate all of their “old” food, and stores that refuse to and how much waste it creates. I absolutely recommend that you check it out.

    Non-food related documentary (and very, very sad): The Cove (as an animal lover, seriously do not attempt to watch it without tissues handy!)

  5. As a former long-term vegan (i’m veg now, mostly vegan) I still implement a lot of veganism into my life. I really love swapping eggs for pureed pumpkin (1 egg=1/4 c pumpkin) in chocolate recipes, like brownies. In cookies, especially chocolate ones, i’ve also noticed you can swap eggs for jam (2 eggs–>1/2 c jam/jelly). Green smoothies are forever in my life. I also love eating warmed quinoa rather than oats for breakfast, it’s delicious when you add pb and cocoa powder, or pub and fruit. It’s interesting though; if you’re vegan long time and then go back to the other side, you REALLY notice how much flavor simple ingredients like butter and eggs add to baked goods. I’ve noticed veganism really heightened my taste buds. Do you ever roast chickpeas as a snack? so delicious, crunchy and full of protein. I like marinating them in low sodium tamari, oj, sambal oolek or srirach, and a little nutritional yeast then baking them until they’re cruchy. Protein+fiber.

  6. Jenny

    My family eats about 3 meat-based dinners a week and the rest are meatless. (Breakfast is always meatless; lunches are a mix, since they are often based on leftovers or can include things like salami or prosciutto for a little flavor.) It was a big shift at first, but now it’s automatic. I can’t fathom going vegan, though: we rely heavily on eggs, cheese, and butter!

  7. Amy E

    I’m sorry, I had such a hard time reading your message today; not in a negative way. You abbreviated Forks Over Knives as FOK so everytime I read a sentence I read it as f*ck. As horrible as it was, it did make me smile. 🙂

  8. Michelle

    I’m so glad you wrote about this. I have a friend who has been screaming at me to watch this and I’ve felt a bit guilty for not getting it from the library yet. It’s good to have the perspective of watching it as marketing. You can only run after so many “miracle cures” before your head threatens to explode! I feel like I can watch it now and not feel so pressured about it.

  9. Your cupcakes look delish! I never would have thought to make chocolate frosting out of dates. I may just have to try that – and, ahem, ‘forget’ to tell my hunky farmguy what’s in the frosting. 😉

  10. I’m transitioning to vegan now because I find that it works the best for me (and I have weird feelings about eating animals anyway), but I fully support eating whatever makes you feel best!

    For me, when I was switching to a plant-based diet, it did take a lot of work. I’m also recovering from disordered eating, so I had to take a step back and stop defining certain foods as “bad” for no reason, like bananas, potatoes, corn, etc. Defining a whole plant food as bad meant I was more likely to rely on junk food… I know, it doesn’t make any sense. But now, as long as it’s a real food, I eat it guilt-free, and that has really helped me personally.

    One of my favorite websites for vegan recipes that are accessible (key word here!) is Oh She Glows ( I make her recipes all the time, check it out! I also pin a lot of food on my Pinterest board here if you are interested:

    The black bean and potato nacho plate I pinned recently was SO good…!

  11. This sounds amazing!! I’ve been searching for a healthy fudgy chocolate frosting recipe for years, but I haven’t been able to find anything. Your looks so rich and decadent; I love it! I already posted it on Pinterest so I remember to try it out on some cupcakes soon. (If I don’t eat the entire bowl of frosting with a spoon instead!)

  12. Michele

    I just wanted to let you know that I tried the Date Frosting and it was really, really good! I spread it over black bean brownies (not the flourless ones on your website) and took them to work for my resident ‘guinea pigs’ to try. They were ALL amazed at how chocolatey the frosting was and how moist and fudgy the brownies were. Thanks for a great recipe! It was straight forward and easy and turned out great 🙂 Now I just have to figure out how to use the leftovers…..

    1. Cassie

      Hmmm, maybe, although I haven’t tried it. I think your biggest issue might be that you have chunks of dates still floating in the end product. It’ll still be delicious, just a little chunky. If you try it out, let me know!

  13. Liz

    Made it. Loved it. Being addicted to creaminess, I might try reducing the cocoa powder next time, soaking the dates in almond milk and then melting a bit of unsweetened chocolate with the almond milk before mixing with the dates. But that’s a great deal more complicated and your simple recipe was simply great!

  14. madison

    On the cheese side: cashew cheese. Cultured with rejuvelac (check out book and recipes online: artisan vegan cheese) it requires a few steps but if you’re up to the challenge you will be rewarded!

  15. Oh my gosh. This is like magic. I am so so happy I found this recipe!! Dates are like my favorite this on this earth (literally, I eat them every single day of my life. they are the only food I ever legitimately crave. It’s kind of strange, but awesome.)
    I will totally be making this soon!
    Pinned. 🙂

  16. I have just made this to go with my vegan chocolate cake, and I LOVE IT!! my boyfriend didn’t even realise it was any different to a normal cake, love love love this recipe! thanks for sharing!

  17. Severine

    I just tried your frosting recipe on a yellow birthday cake and it tastes amazing! I appreciate not having to add more sugar while keeping the sweetness. Thanks!

  18. ruth

    Found this fabulous recipe on pinterest. Made straight away as I promised a vegan friend at work to bake him a cake for his leaving do. I can’t believe how good this turned out! In the back of my mind I thought ‘well, he can’t say I haven’t tried’. Will definitely make this again for non vegans who are watching their waistline 🙂

  19. may

    I am transitioning to plant based and I don’t consider what I eat to be ” tree bark ” :(( I eat abundant fibrous foods and I don’t even like salads ( some of them can be just literally romaine lettuce piled on top of fat 🙁 )
    i really like their recipes though and this was a nice little spin on the Forks Over Knives website recipe for Fudgy Date Frosting

  20. Erin

    You weren’t lying when you said “fudgy!” I made this to top another cupcake recipe, and I pulled it out tonight after making it yesterday. I took a quick swipe from the lid of the personal blender jar I’d used to make it to taste it. No lie: Tastes like really rich chocolate pudding. I had a small amount left over after topping the cupcakes and dipped an apple in it — perfect snack.

  21. Zoë Barefoot

    So I just used this icing recipie for a triple layer cake that’s completely allergy friendly for a baby shower and it came out perfect thank you so much!

Starter Guide

The free Living Wholefully Starter Guide is packed full of tips, tricks, recipes, and a 14-day meal plan to get you started on the road to vibrant health.

New here?

Welcome to Wholefully! Our goal is to empower you to take control of your own health. Let us show you the holistic wellness tools you need to nourish your body and uplift your mind.

Let's Get Started →

Meet Cassie
Meet Your Host

Hello. I’m Cassie, and I’m excited you are here!

I'm a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. Come along as I explore good food, holistic wellness, natural homekeeping, gardening, and all the other things that bring me joy!

Learn More →

Learn the Basics