Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

This delicious cream cheese frosting with caramel-y notes from brown sugar, will put your carrot or spice cakes over the top for deliciousness.

Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting


  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened to cool room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to cool room temperature
  • 3/4 cup fresh light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, plus more if needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon molasses*

* A little bit of molasses helps to intensify the brown sugar flavor. If you don't have it you can skip it, but if you do have it, adding it is highly recommended.


  1. Place the butter, cream cheese and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat for 1-2 minutes at medium speed. If necessary, scrape the sides of the bowl and the beater, then beat a little longer. Let this mixture sit for 5 minutes, to allow the brown sugar to absorb into the wet ingredients (this is to avoid grittiness).
  2. Add the confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract and molasses (if using) and beat until smooth and creamy, scraping the beater and sides of the bowl periodically.
  3. If frosting seems too stiff, add milk or cream, 1 teaspoon at a time; if too soft, add more powdered sugar a little at a time, until it reaches the desired consistency.
  4. When you have reached the consistency you like, beat on high speed for one full minute.

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