Brown Sugar Frosting

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Chocolate Devil's Food Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting

There are some things in life that are just meant to go together. Chocolate cake and brown sugar frosting (aka caramel icing) are two of those things. They stand out as beacons of my childhood, akin to holding my dad's hand as we walked through the pasture to herd the cows  for milking, or snuggling tightly against my mom's side during a rip-roaring Ohio thunderstorm or sitting down to a bowl of noodles cooked in milk and doused with browned butter.
Inseparable, in my opinion.

Recently, I have discovered the amazing Violet Bakery Cookbook by Claire Ptak from London and have been baking my way through her delicious recipes. Yesterday, I made her Chocolate Devil's Food cake, which was divine, but instead of using her Salted Caramel Icing, I used my mother's recipe for brown sugar frosting.  The result was incredible.

I'm saving the cake recipe to feature when I do a story on Claire - of how she went from being a pastry chef for Chez Panisse in California to starting her own little bakery in East London.  But I'm sharing the recipe for my mama's frosting.  Use it with your favorite chocolate cake, and by all means, scrape the bottom of the pan and lick the spoon when you're done.

Brown Sugar Frosting

1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup milk
2 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt

Melt the butter in a saucepan on medium heat until just beginning to bubble. Stir in the brown sugar.  Cook and stir over low heat for two minutes. Add the milk and continue stirring until it just begins to boil. Remove from heat, stir in the salt, and cool to lukewarm. Put into a mixing bowl of a stand mixer and add confectioner's sugar and vanilla while beating on low. Then beat on high for about two minutes. Adjust spreading consistency with adding a bit more milk or cream (I usually add about 1/8 cup) as needed. Spread over cake immediately.


  1. These are really mouth watering, simple, and must try recipe. I really loved this very much. Thank you so much for sharing this here. I will definitely try these recipes this weekend for sure and will sure my opinion about this very soon. Keep posting such healthier and must try recipes.

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  3. Meringues are so good to use as a decor in the dining table. I tried to make them before but the shape was all wrong and it ended very unpleasant to look at. This year for my sisters wedding I want to make her these, although I'm not quite sure how it will turn out. I will try to do exactly as what is written here in this recipe and hopefully I'll be able to successfully do it this time.

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