Browned Buttercream Frosting


Browned Buttercream Frosting is the perfect topping for your cake.

Bourbon-Chocolate Cake with Browned Buttercream
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop styling: Lydia Pursell
Active Time:
15 mins
Stand Time:
15 mins
Chill Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
1 hrs 30 mins

Browned butter and bourbon. What could be better? This divine flavor combination graces our Browned Butter Frosting, the perfect accompaniment to our Bourbon-Chocolate Cake. Sure, we can't resist a perfectly fluffy cake, but in this recipe, the frosting is truly the star of the show. The rich, nutty browned butter helps the oaky bourbon truly shine. Since you'll really be able to taste the bourbon in this frosting, go ahead and use your best spirits (we promise, it'll be worth it).

We like to use salted butter in this recipe, which enhances the flavors of the bourbon and browned butter, but unsalted butter will work as well. Once your browned butter has achieved a deep, nutty color, pour it immediately into a bowl to stop the browning process (if left in the hot saucepan, it will continue to darken). You'll want to stir the browned butter as it chills in the fridge: This prevents the solids and liquids from solidifying as separate layers, ensuring that you will achieve a smooth buttercream.

This Browned Butter Frosting is so good that we could eat it all by itself (and that's saying something). But paired with Bourbon-Chocolate Cake, it's a combination that can't be beat.


  • 2 cups butter

  • 6 cups unsifted powdered sugar

  • ¼ cup (2 oz.) bourbon

  • 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream

  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium, stirring often, until butter is fragrant and golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat; immediately pour butter into a small heatproof bowl. Let stand 15 minutes. Cover; chill until butter is cool and almost firm, about 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

  2. Beat chilled brown butter with a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed until fluffy, 3 minutes. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating on low speed until well blended and smooth, 2 minutes. Stir together bourbon, cream, and vanilla in a bowl. Add to butter mixture; beat until smooth, 2 minutes.

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