Sweet and creamy, this brown sugar frosting is delicious on almost any cake recipe. Made using dark brown sugar, this fluffy buttercream can be piped on cupcakes or spread between cake layers. One recipe makes 3½ cups of buttercream.

With a rich, caramel flavor, this brown sugar buttercream frosting is a delicious twist on an old favorite! Made using dark brown sugar, butter and confectioners’ sugar, this buttercream is on the sweeter side, so it’s great for those who love their frosting creamy and sweet!

The great thing about this frosting is that you can pair it with almost any cake recipe. Keep it simple with a basic yellow cake or classic chocolate cake, or pump this banana cake with this brown sugar buttercream.

Great for piping on cupcakes or spreading between cake layers, this delicious buttercream recipe is a fun way to jazz up your next baking project!

Light vs. dark brown sugar

Both light and dark brown sugar contain molasses, but dark brown sugar contains more. This means dark brown sugar has more moisture and a stronger flavor than light brown sugar.

The dark brown sugar helps give this frosting a rich, caramel flavor, so we suggest sticking with the dark sugar for best results.

Brown sugar buttercream recipe


  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
brown sugar buttercream cupcake

How to make brown sugar frosting

In a small saucepan, combine the dark brown sugar and the water. Bring it to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.

Once the sugar has dissolved, reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking for about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

Using a clean silicone spatula, stir in the salt.

Transfer the mixture to a heat-proof bowl, cover and let cool completely to room temperature (it should take about 3 hours).

In a large bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar syrup together until smooth.

Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything incorporates.

Once all the sugar has been added, continue beating until the buttercream is light and fluffy, about 1 to 2 more minutes.

Once fluffy, you’re ready to swirl, pipe and decorate!

Can I cool the syrup in the refrigerator?

If you’re in a rush and want to cool the sugar syrup faster, you can cool it in the refrigerator, but only to room temperature. If it’s left in the refrigerator for too long, it may harden and become unusable.

How to store brown sugar buttercream

This brown sugar frosting can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. It can also be frozen for up to 6 weeks.

When ready to use, let the buttercream slowly defrost in the refrigerator overnight, then bring it to room temperature. Rewhip before piping or decorating.

What is your favorite flavor of buttercream? Let us know in the comments below! And if you try this brown sugar buttercream recipe, let us know what you think by posting a picture on social media and tagging us @wiltoncakes.

brown sugar buttercream

Brown Sugar Buttercream Frosting Recipe

The sweet, rich flavor of brown sugar blended into a soft and fluffy buttercream frosting will take any dessert to the next level. Brown sugar frosting is easy to make and will add a new depth of delicious to any of your favorite layer cakes or cupcakes!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 25 minutes
Total Time 3 hours
Course Dessert
Servings 3 cups


  • Small Saucepan
  • Spatula
  • Heat-Proof Bowl
  • Electric Hand Mixer or Stand Mixer


  • 1 cup Dark Brown Sugar Firmly Packed
  • cup Water
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • 1 ½ cup Butter 3 sticks, softened
  • 3 cups Powdered Sugar (Confectioners'' Sugar)


  • In a small saucepan, combine dark brown sugar and water. Bring to a boil stirring constantly over medium-high heat, just until sugar dissolves.
  • Reduce heat to medium, cook 1 minute, then remove from heat. Using a clean spatula, stir in salt.
  • Transfer to a heat-proof bowl, cover and let cool completely to room temperature (about 2-3 hours).
  • In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar syrup until smooth.
  • Gradually add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down bottom and sides of bowl as necessary. Beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.


  • Syrup may be cooled in the refrigerator, but only to room temperature; if it is left refrigerated for too long, it may harden.
  • Butter should be softened, but not too warm. If butter is too warm, buttercream will be too soft and may separate.
Tried this recipe?Take a picture and tag us @WiltonCakes on Instagram