Brown Sugar Icing

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Brown sugar is the star of the show in this homemade Brown Sugar Icing with notes of caramel and molasses mingling in this pourable, dreamy frosting.

Overhead close-up shot of buttermilk icing in a glass dish with a silver whisk

Brown Sugar Icing

This brown sugar icing was super easy to whip together, and it turned a regular sheet cake into something memorable. Don’t be intimidated by the need to boil the brown sugar; just stir constantly and everything will turn out great!

This frosting would be tasty over cupcakes, cookies, or even served warm with pancakes or waffles for a Saturday morning feast. If you love the caramelized flavors of brown sugar and butter, then you have got to give this one a try.

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Overhead vertical shot of sliced cake with buttermilk icing

This recipe makes enough frosting to cover a cake in a 9×13 pan (approximately 16 servings). If you are baking a smaller cake (e.g. an 8×8 pan), you’ll only need half as much.

You can adjust the ingredient list within the recipe card by simply adjusting the serving amounts to reflect the desired amount. For a half batch, set the servings to 8.

Overhead shot of brown sugar and butter in a saucepan

Old Fashioned Caramel Icing

It’s possible that you have fond memories of your grandmother whipping a batch of frosting quite similar to this old fashioned caramel icing. This topping for baked goods always carries a double helping of nostalgia.

I know how that magic is created now with simple ingredients, heat, and time. But, the transformation of ingredients to baked goods still reminds me of the wonder I felt, watching my grandmother produce such incredible goodies.

Overhead shot of melted butter and brown sugar in saucepan with silver whisk

Buttermilk Icing

You’ll need the following ingredients to make this recipe:

  • butter
  • light brown sugar
  • buttermilk
  • vanilla extract
  • powdered sugar
Overhead shot of buttermilk mid-pour over saucepan with melted butter and brown sugar

While your cake is baking, combine the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Then, whisk to combine and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to low before adding the buttermilk. Then, whisk again until combined. Then, remove from the heat entirely. Add the vanilla and start adding the powdered sugar.

Overhead shot of butter, brown sugar, and buttermilk in saucepan being stirred by a silver whisk

Whisk again until everything is nice and smooth. Sometimes, adding in the powdered sugar a bit at a time can help keep things manageable to get the right consistency.

Pour the warm frosting over the cake while it is still warm from the oven. Spread gently with a spatula, as needed to cover the cake.

Overhead shot of melted butter, brown sugar, buttermilk, and powdered sugar in a saucepan

Homemade Frosting Recipes

Looking for more incredible homemade frosting recipes?

Incredibly moist, soft chocolate cake topped with a fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth Peanut Butter Frosting is a dessert worthy of the most special occasions.

Vertical shot of buttermilk icing dripping from a silver whisk into a liquid measuring cup; in the background, a blue and green floral print hand towel

Dulce de Leche Cupcakes are a delicious combination of soft caramel cake topped with creamy dulce de leche frosting to satisfy all your sweet caramel cravings.

Perfect for pineapple and coconut lovers alike, Pineapple Cake with Coconut Frosting is full of pineapple flavor and just a hint of coconut, layered with creamy coconut cream cheese frosting and sprinkled with toasted coconut. 

Vertical shot of buttermilk icing mid-pour over a cake in the pan

While a good fudgy brownie is hard to beat, Strawberry Frosted Brownies are a fun twist on the classic dessert. And, you’ve got to try fluffy Key Lime Cupcakes with a graham cracker crust, topped with smooth lime cream cheese frosting.

These old-fashioned Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting are big and soft, just like your favorite bakery-style pumpkin cookies. This is a classic fall cookie recipe.

Vertical shot of cake with buttermilk icing mid-serve

This fantastic whipped Cocoa Buttercream Frosting recipe requires just 5 ingredients. With barely ten minutes of effort, you’ll have enough rich, fluffy chocolate frosting to top a dozen cupcakes.

Fluffy Blackberry Buttercream Frosting piped high over a soft, vanilla cupcake tastes like spring has arrived. The sweet and slightly tangy frosting perfectly complements the vanilla base, creating a light and colorful combination.

Vertical shot of a slice of cake with buttermilk icing, served on a small blue plate; in the background, the remaining cake and a blue and green floral pattern hand towel
Vertical shot of buttermilk icing dripping from a silver whisk into a liquid measuring cup; in the background, a blue and green floral print hand towel

Brown Sugar Icing

5 from 1 vote
Brown sugar is the star of the show in this homemade icing with deep notes of caramel and molasses, mingling in this pourable, dreamy frosting.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 16

Ingredients 

  • cup butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1⅔ cups powdered sugar

Instructions

  • While your cake is baking, combine the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk to combine and bring to a boil. Then, reduce to low heat and add the buttermilk. Whisk again until combined.
  • Remove from the heat and add the vanilla and powdered sugar. Whisk again until smooth. Pour the warm frosting over the cake while the cake is still warm from the oven. Spread gently with a spatula, as needed, to cover the cake.

Notes

This is enough frosting for a 9×13 cake, approximately 16 servings. If you are making a smaller cake (i.e. an 8×8 cake) you’ll only need half of the frosting. You can adjust the ingredient amounts by adjusting the serving amounts higher or lower in the recipe card. For a half batch, set the servings to 8.

Nutrition

Calories: 139kcal · Carbohydrates: 26g · Protein: 0.2g · Fat: 4g · Saturated Fat: 3g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g · Monounsaturated Fat: 1g · Trans Fat: 0.2g · Cholesterol: 11mg · Sodium: 40mg · Potassium: 27mg · Sugar: 26g · Vitamin A: 126IU · Calcium: 18mg · Iron: 0.1mg
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Vertical shot of buttermilk icing mid-pour over a cake in the pan

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