My new coworker Molly celebrated her birthday last week, so I brought in cupcakes to celebrate the occasion, and I’m happy to say, they were very well-received. It probably goes without saying that it gets a little confusing having Holly and Molly in the same office…across an aisle from each other. We get called each other’s name several times a day. On top of it all, there’s another Holly on our event planning committee, so I’m constantly thinking people are talking to me when they’re not. It gets awkward sometimes. Oh well…on to the cupcakes!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – brown sugar is so under-appreciated. It’s the amazing secret ingredient no one ever notices. I appreciate you, brown sugar. The smell, the taste, all of it. This brown sugar frosting recipe takes a little more preparation than your average vanilla buttercream, but it’s oh so worth it. I paired it with some standard spice cake, but it would be delicious with brown sugar cupcakes or even classic vanilla cupcakes.
Ingredients (frosts 15-18 cupcakes):
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup dark brown sugar (can substitute light brown sugar)
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 tsp heavy whipping cream
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Melt the butter in a saucepan on the stove, stirring with a whisk. Use a whisk, not a spatula to stir throughout. Once melted, stir in the brown sugar on medium heat and stir continuously until it bubbles a bit on the sides. Pour in the milk and cream (you can forgo the cream and use more milk). Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat after 1-2 minutes and let cool on the stove before moving to the fridge to cool further. At this point, it should be very dark and fluid. The more it cools, the thicker it will get.
Once cooled, it will have a consistency more like cream. Move the brown sugar mixture to a mixing bowl, and whisk in the powdered sugar, mixing until smooth. Add the vanilla and continue to mix until the frosting is light and creamy. It won’t be fluffy like your average buttercream. Instead it will be very smooth. Pipe the brown sugar frosting onto cooled cupcakes (I definitely recommend spice cake). Top with a sprinkle of brown sugar and enjoy!