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Brown Sugar Caramel Frosting (Penuche Frosting)


A rich caramel frosting with warm notes perfect for pairing with cakes and cupcakes.


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cream (or milk)
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar


  1. Heat butter, brown sugar, cream, and salt in a pot until melted and combined. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a mixing bowl. Let cool to luke warm (about 10 minutes) and then beat in powdered sugar and vanilla. Adjust consistency by adding more powdered sugar to thicken, or more cream or milk (little by little) to thin. Use immediately as frosting will thicken upon standing.


  • This frosting is quite sweet so I prefer to use salted butter and add that extra 1/4 teaspoon I call for in the recipe. I tend to like things a little heavy on the salt, so if you’re sensitive to that at all, feel free to use unsalted butter, or omit the 1/4 teaspoon additional salt (or add it to taste at the very end.)