Thursday, June 22, 2017

Brown Sugar Ermine Frosting

I'm soooo excited about this frosting! I've tried brown sugar in American Buttercream, but, as you might guess, it always stays a bit grainy. Grainy frosting = no good! I've been brainstorming some ways to make a brown sugar frosting that would be smoooth, and my first thought was Italian Meringue Buttercream. The problem with that is I use a lot of meringue type (marshmallow fluff) finishes on my cakes, and I don't want to give people a meringue overload. 


My solution to this was a brown sugar ermine frosting! The brown sugar is cooked with flour, milk, and a tad of salt. It completely dissolves, and that solves the grainyness issue. After cooking and cooling the flour/sugar mixture, you cool it completely. I made mine the day before. 

The next day, I whipped up some butter, added in the cooked mixture, whipped some more, and the result was a silky, smooth brown sugar frosting! Yippee! I love the flavor of the molasses, and I paired it with a cinnamon cake. I hope you make this and love it as much as I do. 

enough for a 3 layer 8 inch round cake, plus some decorations*

70g flour
400g light brown sugar
1/2tsp salt
480g whole milk
452g unsalted butter, cool room temperature 
1/2tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

In a large saucepan off the heat, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, and salt. Whisk in the milk. 

Cook mixture over medium-low heat while whisking. The sugar should dissolve and the mixture will become homogeneous. It will come to a simmer, but, if needed, turn the heat down to prevent a rapid boil. Keep whisking until the mixture has thickened to the consistency of gravy. 

Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla, and transfer to a bowl. Press plastic wrap on to the surface of the cooked sugar mixture and smooth plastic wrap around the edges of the bowl. This will prevent a skin from forming. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.**

Once the sugar mixture has completely cooled, put your butter in to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Whip up the butter slightly. It doesn't have to be truly creamed, but lightened up a bit. 

Add the sugar mixture to the butter one spoonful at a time. Turn the mixer on medium-high each time to fully incorporate the sugar and to add air in to the mixture. Once all of the sugar is in, turn the mixer on high for about 30 seconds. The frosting should be smooth with a texture similar to thick whipped cream. 

Take the bowl off of the mixer and stir gently with a spoon or spatula. Just a few stirs through will help release any large bubbles. 

Use immediately, or chill in the refrigerator. To use chilled frosting, allow it to come to room temperature and whip it up again before using. 

*The photos in this post are of a 6" naked cake, but the recipe is for a fully frosted 8" cake. 

**Do not preceded until your sugar mixture has fully cooled. If it is even slightly warm, you will make a bowl of gloopy mess. 

***If the frosting is too soft to pipe, pop it in the fridge for about 15 minutes. It should firm up enough to be more manageable. 

****Store frosted cake in the refrigerator. Remove ~1 hour before serving. 


  1. Hi Amanda - made the buttercream this am to frost some chocolate cupcakes. It is great! I made the base last night and refrigerated it - let come to roomish-temp with the butter and then combined. I was a little nervous as it separated at first, but a little beating with the whisk yielded a fluffy, smooth frosting. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

    1. Yay! Thank you so much for making it, and for writing! Yes, that moment when it looks a bit split is concerning. Glad it came together to a sweet end. :)

  2. This looks great! Is there a recipe for cinnamon cake on your site or did I miss it?

  3. This looks great! Is there a recipe for cinnamon cake on your site or did I miss it?

  4. Thank you! No, I haven't posted one...I can put it on my list of "to-post" recipes. Thanks for swinging by. :)

  5. Hi, Amanda,
    I made this frosting for a cinnamon sponge cake and the combination was fantastic. It's a brilliant solution to the age old problem of dissolving the sugar. The result was very good, the application to the cake was marvelously adequate. Practice will make perfect, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this.

    1. Wonderful! Thank you so much for making the recipe! Bon appetit!