Burnt Sugar Icing Recipe - Allrecipes.com
  • READY IN 15 mins

Burnt Sugar Icing

Recipe by  

"This great burnt sugar icing recipe is from my husband's grandmother. It is delicious spread on your favorite cake or cupcakes."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 1 cup Change Servings
  • COOK

    15 mins

    15 mins


  1. Over a low heat, pour 1/2 cup sugar into a heavy pan. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon for 8 to 10 minutes; or until it is caramelized (light brown colored).
  2. Pour the boiling water into the caramelized sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the butter, milk, salt and remaining sugar. Boil the mixture until it reaches soft ball stage, approximately 236 degrees F (115 degrees C). Cool the mixture to room temperature. When the mixture has cooled, stir in the vanilla extract.
  3. With an electric mixer, beat the mixture until it is thick and creamy. Spread on cake.
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Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Sep 14, 2005

My recipe for Burnt sugar Icing is very similar as this one. For those who want to try this in the future, and read the latter reviews, the seizing up of the caramel is normal. You have to bring it back to a boil and redissolve the caranel, then continue with the recipe. Also add a tablespoon of light corn syrup with the milk and sugar to help with early crystalization, which leads to graininess. I like this recipe better than what most people consider caramel icing, which is really penuche. (nothing against penuche, that is yummy also) This technique has a true caramel flavor. Hope this helps everyone. ;-)

Most Helpful Critical Review
Oct 09, 2003

This was a disaster. I followed the directions EXACTLY and when I added the 1/4 cup boiling water, the sugar immediately clumped together, became rock hard and stuck to the pan. Don't know the trick to this but I wouldn't try it again.


16 Ratings

Apr 23, 2003

This is a old family favorite...The recipe was lost for years after a great aunt death..I'm thrilled to have it again!

Jun 24, 2007

part of the secret to this recipe is to use a cast iron skillet! It regulates heat better than regular pans.

Jan 02, 2008

I didn't realize how much work frosting is before engaging in this recipe. It took me more than 15 minutes to make, and I ended up with a rather thick mixture. Don't know what I did wrong, but probably didn't know when to stop boiling. We all really enjoyed the result, though, and I am calling it one of my favorites. Four stars because it took more than 15 minutes to make--cutting into my nap time! :)

Dec 15, 2003

My mother used this icing for her irish potato cake and I lost it. I'm so glad to have found it again. This community is great!

Aug 11, 2007

This is a time consuming recipe, but the instructions were simple to understand. The icing was FABULOUS! It did set up when I added the boiling water, but after about 15 minutes it was liquid again. After cooling I popped it back in the mixer for a few minutes and it looked just like my grandmother's caramel icing. Tastes like it too. The only bad thing is that my toddler picked that moment to get hurt so I walked away from the icing. Upon my return it was already set up in the bowl. After a minute in the microwave it was able to spread it on the cake and it set right back up. Excellent recipe! I doubled it with no problems whatsoever and the only change I made was a little extra salt because it tasted really sweet... possibly from doubling the recipe though. Thumbs up! I'll try this one again!

Feb 15, 2005

It sounded interesting, but this was awful - like a previous reviewer, my sugar seized up as soon as I added the boiling water. I thought adding the other ingredients (ie more liquid) would alleviate the problem, but the whole thing become one huge hard rock! I now have brittle instead of icing. I think the trick is not to over-caramelize the sugar - add the water BEFORE the sugar melts and recrystalizes. Once the crystals form, you're in trouble.


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  • Calories
  • 456 kcal
  • 23%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 101.5 g
  • 33%
  • Cholesterol
  • 18 mg
  • 6%
  • Fat
  • 6.4 g
  • 10%
  • Fiber
  • 0 g
  • 0%
  • Protein
  • 1.1 g
  • 2%
  • Sodium
  • 126 mg
  • 5%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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