7-Minute Brown Sugar Frosting

7-Minute Brown Sugar Frosting

The Spruce / Ana Zelic

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 10 mins
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1099 Calories
0g Fat
270g Carbs
8g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 1099
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 346mg 15%
Total Carbohydrate 270g 98%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 267g
Protein 8g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 236mg 18%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 484mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Seven-minute frosting is a classic recipe that appeared in newspapers in the United States and Canada as early as 1912, though it's most often associated with reprinted versions made famous in the 1920s and 30s. Apparently, it was around that time that it picked up its name, but due to the double boiler technique it was also known as "boiled frosting." Fluffy, creamy, and above all delicious and easy-to-make, our recipe with brown sugar will yield a delicious off-white frosting in just seven minutes. The decadent marshmallowy concoction is perfect to top any cake of your liking, but also great on cupcakes or other baked treats, as it has a gentle flavor the won't overpower other ingredients you want to highlight, giving your homemade desserts a charming old-fashioned spin.

This frosting is made with egg whites and brown sugar, along with vanilla. You'll need a double boiler, and to follow the recipe to the T, as this is a fool-proof recipe when done as-is. Carve seven minutes out of your day, measure the ingredients, follow the instructions, and enjoy the easiest most delicious creamy icing you've ever had. In seven minutes.

Its warm, caramel-like flavor has the perfect amount of sweetness, great on nut-flavored cupcakes, spiced cakes, or walnut or pumpkin bakes. Fantastic on fruity cakes such as pineapple cake or on top of a tangy passion fruit tart, its 's also lovely on gingersnap cookies, brownies, or as filling on nut-butter sandwiches or s'mores. This recipe makes enough frosting to cover a 9 x 12-inch cake, or two 9-inch cake layers, or a dozen cupcakes. You'll find it best to spread the frosting while it's still warm, but have the cake cool so the frosting won't melt.


  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar

  • 2 large egg whites

  • 6 tablespoons water

  • 1 dash salt

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    7-Minute Brown Sugar Frosting ingredients

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

  2. Bring 1 to 2 inches of water to boil in the bottom part of a double boiler.

    Heat 1 to 2 inches of water in the bottom part of the double boiler

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

  3. Add the brown sugar, egg whites, water, and salt to the top part of the double boiler. Place the double boiler over the boiling water. The boiling water should not come into contact with the bottom part of the bowl with the ingredients, as the additional heat might result in a grainy frosting.

    In the top of a double boiler, add the brown sugar, egg whites, water, and salt

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

  4. Beat the sugar and egg mixture with an electric beater until the frosting thickens. This should take about 5 to 7 minutes. The frosting should hold its shape when dropped from the beater.

    Beat the sugar and egg mixture with an electric beater

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

  5. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

    Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

  6. Continue beating until the frosting is thick enough to spread on your favorite cake.

    Continue beating until the frosting is thick

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

  7. Enjoy!

Isn't Cream of Tartar Necessary for Whipping Egg Whites?

Cream of tartar is a by-product of winemaking, and it's a powder, despite its name. It has been used for decades in baking to stabilize egg whites, as it helps trap the air bubbles in the frosting and makes them more sturdy, allowing the icing to hold its shape easily. So if you want a doubly fluffy icing, go ahead and add 1/4 teaspoon of it. However, the recipe as we present it makes a wonderful frosting, so adding cream of tartar is ultimately up to you because it's not a common ingredient in most pantries; you can leave it out and the result will be equally delicious.