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Silver spoon stirring maple frosting in a glass bowl.

Easy Maple Fudge Frosting

  • Author: Jessie
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: About 2 cups 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian


This easy maple frosting has a rich, fudge-y texture - perfect for spice cake and pumpkin cake! A single recipe makes enough frosting for an 8-inch square sheet cake or 10-15 cupcakes. For a large sheet cake, you may want to double the recipe.


  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon maple extract (or imitation maple flavor)
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup hot water (nearly boiling. You may not need it all)


  1. Stir melted butter, maple extract, powdered sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl. The sugar will absorb the liquid and begin to clump - that's ok!
  2. Add one Tablespoon of hot water at a time, stirring between each addition, until frosting reaches a thick, smooth consistency (almost like thick cake batter). 
  3. Spread frosting onto cooled cake or cupcakes. Work quickly here - the frosting will set and harden as it cools. Let sit for an hour or so until the frosting sets, then serve and enjoy!


The water here should be quite hot - nearly boiling - for best results. We usually heat water to the highest setting in an electric tea kettle, but you can also heat it in a small saucepan on the stovetop or (carefully) in the microwave.

This frosting will thicken as it cools. If your frosting thickens too much before you're done frosting, zap it in the microwave (in a microwave-safe bowl) for a few seconds at a time, or stir in an extra splash of hot water to bring it back to a spreadable consistency. 

This frosting works best on cupcakes and sheet cakes. As it cools, the frosting will become more difficult to spread, so use it on low-maintenance cake styles like a sheet cake or cupcakes (rather than a layer cake) for best results. Because the consistency changes as it cools, we don't recommend piping this frosting with a pastry bag.

The color of this frosting will vary depending on the brand of your maple extract. Don't worry if it looks a little lighter or darker than the photos here - it will still taste great! 

For an easy (vegan) substitution, use melted coconut oil in place of the butter in this recipe.

Can I use pure maple syrup instead? Yes, but the frosting will have a much less pronounced maple flavor. Maple extract (or imitation maple) are much more concentrated than maple syrup, which is why we recommend them here! You can add an extra teaspoon or two of real maple syrup for more flavor, but avoid adding too much because it can alter the texture of the frosting and prevent it from setting.

For a thinner frosting, add a little more water to make it easier to dip and drizzle! We like to use a thinner consistency for donuts, scones, and cinnamon rolls. 

Use this frosting with our Easy Pumpkin Cupcakes or Apple Butter Spice Cake!

Keywords: cake, autumn, fall