I have had this recipe for over 30 years. Cream may be substituted for the milk for added richness.

Recipe Summary

prep:
10 mins
cook:
5 mins
total:
15 mins
Servings:
12
Yield:
1 - 8 or 9 inch layer
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Ingredients

12
Original recipe yields 12 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, and mix in 3 tablespoons milk and brown sugar. Boil vigorously for 1 minute.

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  • Remove from heat, and beat in 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar. Cool slightly, and beat in the vanilla and remaining 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar. Add more milk if the mixture is too thick.

Nutrition Facts

93 calories; protein 0.2g; carbohydrates 19.2g 6% DV; fat 2g 3% DV; cholesterol 5.4mg 2% DV; sodium 17.9mg 1% DV. Full Nutrition

Reviews (248)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
02/18/2003
A really great frosting. I used half and half and it was excellent. I had to keep adding half and half to make it spreadable, but since it was so delicious, I didn't mind. :&) Read More
(180)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
01/27/2011
Not enough liquid added 2 tablespoons more milk (I used evaporated milk) for added richness, found the texture to be grainy and not nearly enough to frost a cake, would have to triple this to have enough for a full size cake. Because of this am only rating 3 stars, I never change a recipe I make it like it says the first time to truly give a honest rating otherwise why not just submit your own recipe?? Read More
(24)
304 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 212
  • 4 star values: 61
  • 3 star values: 15
  • 2 star values: 11
  • 1 star values: 5
Rating: 5 stars
02/18/2003
A really great frosting. I used half and half and it was excellent. I had to keep adding half and half to make it spreadable, but since it was so delicious, I didn't mind. :&) Read More
(180)
Rating: 4 stars
11/05/2003
I recently had a request from my boyfriend's step father to make him the kind of devil's food cake with caramel frosting his grandma used to make. I had absolutely NO IDEA where to start. I found a dfc recipe in Bon Appetit, and used this frosting. I doubled the recipe for a double layer cake. RAVE reviews. Thanks so much! I made one modification, however. It didn't taste "caramelly" enough to me initially - just sugary from all of the powdered sugar. So I tripled the butter/brown sugar/milk portion of the recipe. Turned out fabulous. True to everyone's word it stiffens up very quickly. But nothing a few seconds in the micro didn't fix. Read More
(165)
Rating: 5 stars
08/11/2003
This is an excellent frosting recipe. I like a frosting this is a little creamier, so I added appx. 3 tbsps. of marshmallow creme after all the ingredients were combined. To use the frosting on a bundt cake, I added a little more cream to make it of a consistency that it could be poured on the cake. Read More
(129)
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Rating: 5 stars
02/27/2009
I can't say how this would be as a frosting for a layer or sheet cake because I didn't use it that way. What I can say however is if you use about half the powdered sugar called for and a little extra cream till desired consistency this works beautifully as a glaze. I used it as a caramel glaze for apple muffins (1/2 recipe was just right for 12) and it was perfect--exactly what I was looking for! When hubs came home from work I had him taste a little dab of it for his opinion and he instantly knew it was caramel and thought it was very good! Smooth not grainy with a beautiful caramel color. I'll remember to use this again in just the same way for a great caramel icing for muffins or coffeecakes. It does however dry hard so I'm not so sure I would like it as a cake frosting... Read More
(55)
Rating: 5 stars
01/25/2007
This was so easy to make! I used it as a filling in a layer cake. When mixing in the powdered sugar I put it on the burner that was still hot when it seemed like it would stiffen up before I had the chance to incorporate all the powdered sugar. It is a hard frosting- not a creamy one. If you want creamy try another recipe! Read More
(42)
Rating: 5 stars
01/26/2006
I have made this several time for my Great Aunt and she has given it her 2 thumbs up and even wanted to use my thumbs for a 4 thumbs up. Grant you I made the same mistake as other when I first made it (not reading the yield area). It plainly states " Original recipe yield: 1 - 8 or 9 inch layer" And that is what I got was one layer worth. With that said tho it was my fault and not the submitters. I now triple it for a 3 layer cake. I did not have any of the other problem as stated by others. It was not runny not did it crack on me but all that has to do with timing tho. You must vigorotsly boil this to have a good turn out. It does ser quickly therefor it is to be poured and not spread on. Read More
(36)
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Rating: 5 stars
09/27/2005
Excellent! Very easy to make and it tastes sooooo good. I wanted to make a pourable frosting so I only added the first 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. I also had to add some extra milk because after it cooled a bit it turned into a big glob. I put it on a apple bundt cake a perfect combination. Thanks for the recipe. I definately will be using this again on many different things. Read More
(28)
Rating: 5 stars
12/23/2005
I was never a huge fan of Carmel cake until I tried this recipe. The cooling of the cake and the making of the frosting must be timed perfectly. YOU HAVE TO BE REALLY QUICK SPREADING THIS ICING WHILE WHILE IT'S HOT. ICING DRIES VERY FAST Read More
(27)
Rating: 3 stars
01/27/2011
Not enough liquid added 2 tablespoons more milk (I used evaporated milk) for added richness, found the texture to be grainy and not nearly enough to frost a cake, would have to triple this to have enough for a full size cake. Because of this am only rating 3 stars, I never change a recipe I make it like it says the first time to truly give a honest rating otherwise why not just submit your own recipe?? Read More
(24)