Easy Penuche Frosting

Cupcakes with penuche frosting

The Spruce / Diana Rattray

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 16 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
150 Calories
6g Fat
25g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 150
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 7%
Saturated Fat 4g 18%
Cholesterol 16mg 5%
Sodium 51mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 25g 9%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 25g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 16mg 1%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 22mg 0%
*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.)

Penuche (pronounced pen-OO-chee) frosting is made from brown sugar, butter, milk, and confectioners' sugar. It's a little different from buttercream because it uses those two different kinds of sugar, but it's worth experimenting with because it makes for a rich, creamy frosting.

This easy penuche frosting is cooked on the stovetop for just a few minutes. The frosting is fabulous on a butter pecan cake or spice cake, as it imparts a bit of a caramel flavor and has a fudgy texture. Indeed, penuche is also a type of fudge; the frosting is another way to deliver that decadent, fudgy brown sugar flavor.

Spread it on these butternut squash cupcakes or brown sugar cupcakes. If the frosting is too firm, add a little hot water. To smooth the frosting, dip your spatula or knife in hot water as you spread.


Steps to Make It

  1. In a saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Add the brown sugar. Bring to a boil and lower heat to medium-low. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

  2. Add the milk and bring back to a boil, stirring constantly.

  3. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool to lukewarm.

  4. Gradually add sifted confectioners' sugar while beating until thick enough to spread. If it's too thick, add a little hot water.

  5. Makes enough frosting to cover the top and sides of a 2-layer cake or a 13 x 9-inch cake.


Penuche frosting is especially good on any cake when you want a hint of caramel-like flavor, and it also takes well to being sprinkled with chopped walnuts or pecans. Try it on the following cakes if you are looking to frost them with something a little different:

How to Store Penuche Frosting

This frosting will harden if it's refrigerated. If you need to make it ahead of time, you can. Just keep it covered in the refrigerator until ready to use, and let it come to room temperature before frosting your cake. If it's still not spreadable, stir in a little bit of hot water until it reaches the desired consistency.

Similarly, if you have leftover penuche frosting, it should keep for up to a week, covered, in the refrigerator. You can keep it longer in the freezer in a zip-close bag or airtight container for up to three months.

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