Brown Sugar Buttercream

This Post May Contain Affiliate Links. Please Read Our Disclosure Policy.

If you’re looking for a perfect buttercream frosting to top your Fall cupcakes with then this is it. Creamy vanilla buttercream frosting gets even better when you add brown sugar to the mix. This brown sugar buttercream frosting is silky smooth and delicious!

cupcake topped with brown sugar buttercream and a piping bag next to it


 

Brown sugar buttercream has been on my list of buttercream recipes to make for awhile now. You know we are big fans of buttercream frosting around here. 

So why not stir brown sugar into a vanilla buttercream recipe and make it even better? 

Oh yes. Brown sugar isn’t just for chocolate chip cookies. I decided to use this buttercream on these Apple Cider Cupcakes

The best part of this buttercream is how easy it is to make because it’s an American buttercream. 

Here is a little Buttercream education for you…

What Is American Icing?

American icing or american buttercream (ABC) is probably that buttercream you had at that last kid’s birthday party you went too. Or that kind you grew up on.

Sometimes it gets a bad rep for being too sweet. Or grainy. Ugh. But I promise you this recipe is not. American buttercream is one of the beaten butter types of buttercream. Flour buttercream (or ermine frosting) and German buttercream also fall into this category. This type of buttercream is made by first beating the butter and then adding in a sweet base. In this case, powdered sugar.

What Are The Main Types Of Buttercream Frosting?

There are 6 main types of buttercreams and they fall into two categories – creamed butter and cubed butter. In fact, if you want to learn how to make all 6 buttercreams, and master making frosting once and for all be sure to check out my Buttercream Basics Guide

American buttercream falls into the creamed butter category is by far the easiest of all the buttercreams to make. German buttercream or Flour buttercream (ermine frosting) are two more creamed butter buttercreams similar to American buttercream. A little more involved but less sweet.

Unlike the cubed butter method of buttercreams- like Swiss Meringue buttercream, Italian meringue buttercream and French buttercream.

You can read more about the The Ultimate Guide To Different Types Of Frosting here.

Here Is A Breakdown Of American Buttercream:

Taste: This is the sweetest out of all the frostings. Can be a little too sweet for some people, but this is the classic type of buttercream most people are familiar with and grew up on.
Texture: Sometimes can be a bit grainy or greasy if not done properly.
Difficulty Level: The easiest to make out of all the buttercreams.
Pros: Easy to make. Kids (and most adults!) love it. Doesn’t require any special equipment to make. Easy to pipe and color.
Cons: Tends to be a bit too sweet. Doesn’t hold up well in warm conditions.

If you make this brown sugar frosting for a cake or cupcakes and refrigerate before you are ready to use it you will need to put it back in your mixer again and mix it until the frosting becomes light and fluffy again. The same thing goes once you frosted your baked goods, you want to always bring them to  room temperature before serving.

How Do You Make Brown Sugar Buttercream Frosting?

So simple, you ready? Ok here is a step by step photo tutorial of how to make this buttercream.

Step 1: Cream The Butter And Brown Sugar

Be sure to use unsalted softened butter. If you forgot to take your butter out ahead of time, here are 3 quick ways to soften your butter quickly. And always use quality butter and pure vanilla extract.

Heather’s Baking Tip

Some readers have mentioned that this buttercream can be a bit “gritty” which is normal due to the brown sugar. However, if you want a smoother buttercream try popping the brown sugar into your food processor first to break it down a bit before creaming with the butter.

sticks of butter and a cup of brown sugar

Step 2: Sift Your Powdered Sugar

I’ve made this buttercream before without sifting, and as long as I have used softened butter and cream long enough I have zero lumps. So if you want to skip the sifting. Go for it. 
powdered sugar being sifted

Step 3: Add Heavy Cream And Vanilla.

You can use milk or half-and-half but I prefer the richness of heavy cream. And don’t skimp on pure vanilla extract and use imitation. Since this is not baked, you will notice!
vanilla being added to a bowl of buttercream

Step 6: Mix until light and fluffy!

You want to do this for 8 minutes. Yup 8! But it’s worth it 🙂

bowl of brown sugar buttercream

Step 7: Frost and enjoy.

I used my perfect vanilla cupcake recipe for these. But it works great on these easy one bowl chocolate cupcakes as well. If you need some help baking the perfect cupcakes here are 15 tips to help you bake them a like a pro.

And if you need help frosting, then check out this post on how to frost the perfect cupcake (+ video!). 

You can also learn how to master all 6 buttercreams in my Buttercream Basics Guide!

cupcake with brown sugar buttercream on a small cupcake stand

Tips For Making This Brown Sugar Buttercream Frosting Recipe:

  • Use softened butter to achieve the best consistency. You can soften your butter quickly if you forget to take it out ahead of time. Click here for 3 ways to soften your butter quickly
  • To ensure no lumps, you can sift the powdered sugar. I find because of the long mixing time that I don’t need to sift it. 
  • Be sure to scrape down the bowl from time to time so it’s all being incorporated. 
  • Make sure to whip this buttercream for a full 8  minutes to get a light airy fluffy consistency. If you are using a hand mixer this will take longer.

Will Buttercream Melt At Room Temperature?

Your buttercream if left at room temperature will be fine and not melt. In fact if you frost a cake with it, it will form an outer crust while still being soft in the middle and keeping the cake fresh. 

If it’s too hot or humid though the buttercream will melt, so best to store in the refrigerator.

Can I Make Buttercream In Advance?

You can also store this in your fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer as well for up to 3 months. When ready to use, allow it to thaw then re-whip until it’s light and fluffy again!

If you love this tutorial, then let me know by leaving me a comment and star rating below! And if you want to learn more, then you be sure to check out my Buttercream Basics Guide where you will learn how to master 6 buttercream recipes, how to fill a piping bag, customize a vanilla buttercream, and so much more!

cupcake topped with brown sugar buttercream frosting

How Many Cupcakes Or Cake Will This Brown Sugar Buttercream Frosting Cover?

  • For Cupcakes – This recipe will generously frost 12 cupcakes. I like to pipe a pretty tall amount of frosting on each cupcake.  So if you don’t use as much as I do as in the photos, then you might get more frosted (around 24 cupcakes). For help on decorating cupcakes, be sure to check out my The Ultimate Guide To Baking Cupcakes At Home and The Ultimate Guide To Making The Best Buttercream Icing.
  • For Cake – This frosting will cover a 9 x 13 sheet cake or a 2 layer 8-inch. For a larger cake like a 9-inch cake I’d make a double batch.

Does Brown Sugar Frosting Need To Be Refrigerated?

This frosting will be safe at room temperature for 2-3 days. Any longer than that and I recommend you refrigerate the buttercream frosting up to 5 days.

The buttercream frosting can also be frozen up to 3 months.

More Buttercream Recipes

If you like this recipe let me know by leaving me a comment and star rating below!

Brown Sugar Buttercream

A creamy vanilla buttercream frosting recipe gets even better when brown sugar is added!
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 12 cupcakes
Calories: 311kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 sticks (283 g, 1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter softened
  • 1/2 cup (107 g) packed light brown sugar *see note
  • 2 1/2 cups (313 g) confectioners sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Combine the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer.
  • Add the confectioners sugar (1/2 cup to 1 cup at a time) and mix on low speed at first, then increase the speed until combined.
  • Add in your heavy cream, salt, and vanilla extract, and mix on medium to high speed for 8 minutes until light and creamy.
  • If not using immediately, store in a container in the refrigerator until ready to use, mix again until light and fluffy.

Notes

  • Brown Sugar: This buttercream can be slightly gritty due to the brown sugar. I personally like the little bit of crunch, but if you want a smoother buttercream put your brown sugar in the food processor. Another reader said they warmed the heavy cream and brown sugar together first to dissolve the brown sugar and then let it cool before adding to the butter (make sure it’s cooled so it doesn’t melt the butter). 
  • Storage: This frosting will be safe at room temperature for 2-3 days. Any longer than that and I recommend you refrigerate the buttercream frosting up to 5 days. The buttercream frosting can also be frozen up to 3 months. Before serving your cakes or cupcakes with this frosting, be sure to bring the frosting to room temperature due to the butter in the frosting.
  • For Cupcakes – This recipe will generously frost 12 cupcakes. I like to pipe a pretty tall amount of frosting on each cupcake.  So if you don’t use as much as I do as in the photos, then you might get more frosted (around 24 cupcakes). For help on decorating cupcakes, be sure to check out my The Ultimate Guide To Baking Cupcakes At Home and The Ultimate Guide To Making The Best Buttercream Icing.
  • For Cake – This frosting will cover a 9 x 13 sheet cake a 2 layer 8-inch. For a larger cake I’d make a double batch.

Nutrition

Calories: 311kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 31mg | Potassium: 21mg | Sugar: 33g | Vitamin A: 625IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @BostonGirlBakes or tag #BostonGirlBakes!

 



 

2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I was worried that the brown sugar would leave the icing grainy so I combined the cream with the brown sugar and warmed them in the microwave until the sugar dissolved. I also used salted butter and omitted the salt in the recipe. Turned out amazing!!! Tastes wonderful and whipped up wonderfully!

    1. aw that’s awesome Kellie!! Glad you loved it and great tip on dissolving the sugar. I’ll be sure to add that to the recipe for other readers as well to try

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More You'll Love!