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This Smooth Brown Sugar Buttercream Frosting is sweet, creamy, and absolutely delicious! Soft brown sugar is perfectly mixed into the frosting with no grainy texture making it perfect for frosting your favorite cakes and cupcakes!
When I was in pastry school, I absolutely loved working with brown sugar! Brown sugar is different than white or confectioners sugar because it has molasses added to it. It’s what gives it the brown color!
It also adds more moisture than white sugar and has a light natural caramel-like flavor that makes it perfect for homemade buttercream frosting!
You can use this frosting to top chocolate cake, vanilla cupcakes, or even caramel chocolate chip cookies!
If you need more frostings, be sure to make my other buttercream frosting flavors like strawberry buttercream, lemon buttercream, raspberry buttercream, and coffee buttercream frosting.
WHY YOU SHOULD MAKE THIS RECIPE
- This is a totally smooth frosting with no grainy texture!
- The brown sugar gives the frosting a light natural caramel flavor.
- It’s perfect for topping cakes, cupcakes, or cookies.
- You can even use it as a filling for cakes and cupcakes!
- Use light or dark brown sugar to intensify or lighten the flavor.
- Brown Sugar – You can use either light or dark brown sugar to make this frosting depending on how you like the taste.
- Water – Used to make the brown sugar simple syrup to give it a pourable consistency.
- Unsalted Butter – Makes up the base of the buttercream offering a rich and buttery flavor.
- Confectioners Sugar – Along with the brown sugar, confectioners sugar sweetens the frosting and blends in with the butter nice and smoothly.
- Salt – Helps balance the sweetness of all the sugar in the frosting.
- Milk – Helps thin out the frosting to a spreadable consistency while keeping it creamy.
HOW TO MAKE BROWN SUGAR BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
- Create brown sugar simple syrup: In a small saucepan over medium heat add the brown sugar and water. Mix slowly and stir as the sugar melts. Stir for 3-4 minutes until all the brown sugar has dissolved. Let cool or place in the fridge for 20 minutes. Do not skip the cooling process.
- Cream the butter and sugar together: Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer and add the paddle attachment. Bring the mixer to low speed and gradually increase to medium as the sugar begins to emulsify. After mixing for one minute, scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.
- Add in the brown sugar syrup: To the mixture, add in the brown sugar syrup, then mix again on medium for 1-2 minutes until everything is fully mixed.
- Add in the salt and milk: To the mixing bowl, add in the salt and milk and mix for 30 seconds or until the milk and salt are fully mixed in. Use immediately or store.
TIPS FOR RECIPE SUCCESS
- Before adding the brown sugar syrup to the frosting mixture, make sure it is completely cooled as hot liquid could melt the butter and cause the frosting to not set up.
- Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl often to make sure all the ingredients are evenly mixed in.
- If you like your frosting thicker, add less milk. If you like it thinner, add more milk 2 teaspoons at a time until you reach the desired consistency.
- This recipe makes enough to frost 12-14 cupcakes or one 8″ 2 layer cake.
- Double the recipe if you need to frost a two-layer cake or 24 cupcakes.
- This recipe pipes well using piping bags and a star tip!
STORAGE AND FREEZING
Storing: To store outside of the fridge, keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week. If storing in the fridge, keep it in an airtight container and bring it to room temperature before using it as it will thicken slightly.
Freezing: Buttercream can be frozen for up to three months if stored in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag with as much air removed as possible. Thaw overnight in the fridge and re-whip with a mixer before using.
Can I use soft brown sugar to make buttercream frosting?
Yes! You will melt the brown sugar down with water to create a simple syrup and then add it to creamed butter and powdered sugar.
How do you make brown sugar buttercream less grainy?
To make it less grainy you’ll melt the brown sugar with water to make a syrup. Since the sugar will melt there will be no grain!
What’s the difference between light and dark brown sugar?
Light brown sugar has more molasses than dark brown sugar which gives it a deeper flavor. You can use either one in this recipe depending on what you like the flavor to be.
Do you need to make a simple syrup with brown sugar to make this frosting?
Yes, this is what will help dissolve the brown sugar so it’s not grainy and crunchy in the frosting but still has a rich brown sugar flavor.
WAYS TO ENJOY
Brown sugar frosting has a versatile flavor and can be paired with many desserts. Try these fun ways to enjoy brown sugar frosting.
- Pipe on the top of Hot Chocolate Cupcakes.
- Use it to fill and frost a 6 Inch Chocolate Cake.
- Make decadent Chocolate Brownie Cookie sandwiches.
- Bring these One Bowl Brownies over the top with a thick layer of frosting.
Smooth Brown Sugar Buttercream Frosting (No Grain!)
- ¾ cup brown sugar light or dark, (160g)
- ¼ cup water
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened, (226g)
- 3 cups confectioners sugar (340g)
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 tsp milk
- In a small saucepan over medium heat add the ¾ cup brown sugar and ¼ cup water.
- Mix slowly and stir as the sugar melts. Stir for 3-4 minutes until all the sugar has dissolved. Let cool or place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
- In the bowl of a hand or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the 1 cup butter and 3 cups confectioners sugar on low speed moving up to medium as the sugar mixes in.
- Continue to mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Stop and scrape down the sides.
- Add in the brown sugar syrup and mix again on medium speed for 1-2 minutes.
- Slow the mixer down to low and add in the salt and milk. Mix again for 30 seconds.
- Use to frost cakes and cupcakes.
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