Fluffy Brown Sugar Icing {Pat’s Recipes}

This amazing Fluffy Brown Sugar Icing is a vintage recipe! It's light and fluffy and tastes like a caramel marshmallow!

In this small quaint town, there are few people that you don’t run into on a daily basis. It’s been a culture shock, a climate shock, and definitely a culinary shock since moving to this northern Canadian burg. And while there are moments where I long for my urban desert home, there are also moments of sweet and utter bliss. One of those moments happened when I met Pat.

Pat is a sweet old lady who lives just a few houses down from me. She’s a fun witted grandma with a few stories to tell. She belongs to the same Church as I do, and when you have less than 30 members in your area, you get to know them really well. Pat’s husband passed away last July, and all of her children and grandchildren have long since moved away. She’s been having trouble getting around on her own these days, so she’s moving closer to her family. We have been assisting Pat in packing up her house and finding little treasures along the way.

Fluffy Brown Sugar Icing {Pat's Recipes}


We stumbled across an old trunk that was filled with love letters, hand-made baby blankets and booties, knick-knacks, and a plethora of hand written recipes. My heart began to beat faster as I ran my fingers through them, and I could see Pat become excited when I asked her about them. She hasn’t cooked much since her husband passed, and it was something she loved to do. She graciously gave me a stack of intriguing recipes and I couldn’t wait to dig in.

The first one that really caught my eye was this Fluffy Brown Sugar Icing.

Fluffy Brown Sugar Icing

What I love about old recipes is the way they are written.

Pat wrote: “drops like a hair from spoon” as to know when the brown sugar mixture is ready. It was interesting, and I had to see what she meant.

Plus… hello… FLUFFY BROWN SUGAR ICING!! How could you not want to know what that tastes like?!

Fluffy Brown Sugar Icing

Sure enough, the mixture of brown sugar, water and corn syrup becomes thick like a rich caramel and when dropped from a spoon makes tiny (even smaller than pictured) strands that resemble hair.

Then you: “Pour hot syrup in a thin stream into egg whites, beating constantly.”

I thought for sure this wouldn’t work. Maybe I am just really novice when it comes to egg whites, but I assumed pouring a hot liquid into them would almost immediately deflate them.

But no, it didn’t.

Fluffy Brown Sugar Icing

In fact, it held it’s shape and gained a glossy shine.

It was amazing, and the taste is stellar. It’s like a fluffy caramel marshmallow frosting.

Fluffy Brown Sugar Icing

I dipped many things into that Fluffy Brown Sugar Icing. Chocolate covered graham crackers, pretzels, and peaches. The peaches won in my book. My husband just rolled his eyes said, “Oh, now peaches need frosting?!”

But seriously, this icing would be amazing when paired with just about anything… even a spoon.

Thanks for letting me introduce you to Pat. I have several more recipes that I can’t wait to share with you!

{UPDATE: Here are some more of Pat’s Recipes: Cherry Nut Bread and Very Nice Chocolate Frosting}

NEW!! Watch this short video to see how the Fluffy Brown Sugar Icing is made!

Make sure you don’t miss a thing! Follow I Wash You Dry here:

A mason jar filled with Fluffy Brown Sugar Icing
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4.76 from 25 votes

Fluffy Brown Sugar Icing {Pat’s Recipes}

Fluffy frosting that tastes like brown sugar caramel heaven.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6
Calories: 234 kcal
Author: Shawn


  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 tsp vanilla


  • Mix brown sugar, water and corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil. (Be careful, as it will rise, so make sure the sides of your pan are taller). Let it boil at medium to medium high until the syrup drops like a hair from spoon (approximately 10 minutes). Remove from burner and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, beat egg whites until stiff.
  • SLOWLY pour the hot syrup in a THIN stream into egg whites, beating constantly. Beat until icing holds peaks, then blend in vanilla.
  • Let cool to room temp, then store covered in the fridge until ready to use.
  • Enjoy!
*The egg whites are cooked when the hot sugar syrup is slowly streamed into them. So no worries about raw egg whites! 🙂


Calories: 234kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 62mg | Potassium: 81mg | Sugar: 58g | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 1mg
Keywords: Brown Sugar, cake icing, corn syrup, egg whites
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About the author

Shawn is the Owner and Creator of I Wash You Dry. She loves to create and share simple, family-friendly recipes. Mom to 5 adorable children and dwells in the desert of Southern Utah.
504 Responses
  1. Carolyn

    I’ve been using this recipe for many years. To make a smaller amount just half the recipe.
    I beat the syrup in until the frosting forms a peak.
    This frosting works well when topped with coconut.

  2. Marie

    This frosting is amazing, but I don’t know how long to beat it for after I put in the hot syrup….would you know approximately how many minutes it would need to be beaten for….when I made it it came out way too soft….but I still eat the whole thing thank you

    1. Shawn

      If your frosting is a little too soft, it sounds like your egg whites weren’t as stiff as they should have been before adding in the syrup.

      1. Charlene

        Disaster from the start! Never thickened to ” hair” consistency, never fluffed up and just crusted the bowl with hard thick layer of gunk…wasted ingredients!

        1. Hi Charlene, I’m so sorry you had a fail with this recipe. From what you’re saying it sounds like you overcooked your sugar mixture. The sugar will still be very liquid, but when dropped from the spoon it’ll cool and become whispy like hair. I hope you give it another try because it really is delicious!

  3. Moira

    5 stars
    My only regret is that I made the full amount. I have way too much of this and now I have to eat it. I omitted the corn syrup because that sounds way too sweet and substituted vanilla for caramel and almond. Filled macarons with it, great frosting! Will probably turn the rest into buttercream so I can store it for later.

  4. Sarah

    So at its core this is an Italian meringue, that’s all. Throw out all time measurements because all stoves burn differently. It needs to be brought to 240 f and any higher will turn into the hard crack stage. That aside this looks amazing and I’ll be trying this today but I’ll be turning it in in to buttercream by adding brown butter
    After the meringue has cooled. Thank you for this amazing idea

  5. Scott

    1 star
    Not sure what I did wrong, but boiling the brown sugar mixture for 10 minutes over medium to medium high heat? The mixture was burnt at 5 minutes. Stove goes 1 – 10, 10 being high heat. I set it between 6-7. Did I have the heat too high?

    1. Shawn

      Hi Scott. You definitely cooked it too long and most likely too high if it ended up burning. Since everyone’s stove top cooks at a different capacity, it’s a suggested and approximate time. You’re looking for the mixture to be stringy when it’s dropped from the spoon. When boiling sugar you have to really keep an eye on it because it can go from perfect to burnt in a matter of seconds.

      1. Scott - the Bald Baker

        I got it, this time.
        I halved the recipe on both attempts. I didn’t make cupcakes or anything, to frost, so who needs 6 cups of frosting sitting around (to eat)?
        Any way, here’s what I ended up doing:
        1. I brought the mixture to a boil at medium heat (5-6 on stove knob). Took about 2 minutes.
        2. Turned the heat down to about 1 (on the knob) to barely boiling and let it boil until I got about an inch to inch 1/4 “hair” dripping off of the spoon.
        3. Removed it from the heat.
        4. Whisked the egg whites about a minute (stand mixer, so this part is fast).
        5. Poured the hot mixture into the whipped eggs VERY slowly while mixer is on high. This probably took 2-3 minutes.
        6. Whipped on high until still peaks formed – maybe 2 minutes.
        7. Added the vanilla and whipped again for maybe 30 seconds.

        This fluffy brown sugar frosting VS. fluffy white frosting.

        Fluffy brown isn’t nearly as sweet as the fluffy white. If you want/need more sweetness, use fluffy white.

        Fluffy brown isn’t quite as sticky as the fluffy white.

        Fluffy white tastes more marshmallowy (is that a word?) than the fluffy brown.

        Fluffy brown is stiffer and in my opinion will pipe better.

        The fluffy white lasted 3 days in an air tight container on the counter before is started to soften up.

        Not sure about the fluffy brown, I just finished it

    2. Tiana Tam

      Yes, I put mine at 5 but honestly you should be able to tell by the smell that it’s starting to burn. That had to have smelt horrible. Plus I would never ever leave sugar alone on the stove top. Im not a cook by any means, I’ve learned these lessons the very hard way. Sugar burns REALLY fast. I was so proud of myself the first time I made this it actually worked. My only thing was everytime I went to use it there was liquid on there bottom so I needed to mix it back up everytime, almost like separating but not that bad.

    3. Carolyn

      The way I judge when it is done is by dipping a fork in the syrup. When a fine thread about 6-10 inches drops from the fork it is ready to put into the frothy egg whites. Then beat until it becomes thick or forms peaks.

  6. Rose

    5 stars
    Oh my!!!!!! This is delicious!!!! I was looking for a quick and easy frosting to top a cake and this is it. Mind you that this was the first time I even tried to do an egg white frosting.

    I didn’t have vanilla extract at home, but I did have almond extract and it ended up spectacular!!

    Will be using it for my daughters birthday cake in two weeks.


  7. heath

    3 stars
    This recipe is actually an Italian Meringue and is Not a buttercream, unless you add butter, which then would be an Italian Meringue Buttercream. (BTW, French Buttercream is made with Egg Yolks instead of Egg Whites.) It’s incredibly important to use a thermometer to make sure the sugar syrup reaches the appropriate “Hard Ball” temperature (250 degrees F), otherwise you’re very unlikely to hit the appropriate temperature just eyeballing it, which won’t pasteurize the raw eggs appropriately, and your meringue won’t have the correct consistency either (resulting in gritty textures, soupy-ness, separation, etc).

    1. Tiana Tam

      5 stars
      I was going through the comments and saw yours. Where does anyone call it a buttercream? Her receipe isn’t made with yolks or butter because it’s not buttercream. And I made it exactly how she said, the first time ever making this , did not use a thermometer(dumb sorry) and it came out perfect. I got so many compliments I was so proud of myself.
      So don’t know what you’re talking about buddy

  8. Shalynn

    I tried making the syrup and it just hardened so fast! I’m not much of a cook but I swear I followed the recipe. I have hard caramel

    1. Shawn

      Hmm… I’m not sure how well it would travel. My gut reaction would be that as long as it’s chilled it should be ok, but on the travel day… I’m not sure how well it would hold up.

  9. Brooke

    Would love to know what I did wrong??? Just made this and got a bowl full of soup, would not thicken up and turn into a fluffy frosting, I followed everything the recipe said to do and it just didn’t work!!

    1. Shawn

      This is probably due to your egg whites not getting beaten enough or you might have had some egg yolk get in there. Also any oily residue left in your mixing bowl could prevent the egg whites from being beaten properly. Sorry you didn’t get the best results. Those pesky egg whites can be difficult sometimes!

        1. Aimée

          You just need another type of sugar to mix with the glucose to prevent crystallization. It would alter the flavor a bit, but you could use honey or maple syrup.

  10. Nancy Snyder

    Here is a little tip for you. Add a pound of butter to your brown sugar icing and you will get an amazing French buttercream. The first part of this recipe with the sugar and egg whites is Italian Meringue, so by adding butter, you get French Buttercream which is truly amazing.
    Also, you will know when your sugar is ready when you can blow a bubble with the sugar….just find a metal utensil with a hole in the end and at 242 or firm ball stage, you can blow a bubble (or sting hair)
    I have made Italian Meringue with sugar, syrup, maple syrup…the results are the same if you reach 242 F.

  11. Joyce

    Hi, could you replace the corn syrup with something like golden syrup or maple syrup? Corn syrup is very hard to find over here. Thanks

    1. Cheryl

      Hi Joyce,
      It is my understanding that Golden Syrup is the closest equivalent you have to our corn syrup and it’s very often used in recipes calling for corn syrup. So yes, you should be able to use it and it should turn out great.

  12. Val

    Shut the front door! This frosting is amazingly beautiful! My friend asked me to bake her daughter a dairy free cake. I made depression chocolate cake and tried this icing. So glad I did. It’s glossy, smooth, beautiful and tasty! Thank you!

  13. Jill L Fauth

    Followed the recipe, and indeed it made the most tasty frosting. It is a new favorite. I was getting tired of buttercream frosting and this is just divine and quick to boot!

  14. Darlene

    I have made this recipe several times now but NEVER use more than 2 eggs whites (lg or ex-lg). My frosting is far more creamy, thick, and far more caramel taste with only 2 egg whites.
    It is very important not to stir the sides of the pot while it boils. This will prevent the frosting from going sugary the following day.
    Shawn thank you for sharing this delicious recipe. Your boiled icing recipe is the best I have found. This is perfect.
    Thank you, Darlene
    (Nova Scotia)

  15. Megan

    I tried this and did it twice but it never fluffed up it thinned out. Now it’s mush. What can I do to fix it? To maybe make it thicker at this point it’s oversized and won’t do anything

    1. Shawn

      Are you referring to your egg whites that didn’t fluff up? It can take time to whip some air into them, just keep going until soft peaks form… but not too long or it will fall flat when you add the sugar. Hope this helps!

  16. Vicky

    Hi Shawn,
    I saw this recipe posted on Pinterest and saved it immediately. My Mom made a scrumptious cake and this is the frosting she used. I’ve never known the recipe but when I read this one had brown sugar in it I knew this was the one I was looking for. I’m wondering if Pat put this on a specific cake? Are you able to ask her? I would sure appreciate it. I was a child when we had it.
    Thank you very much.

    1. Shawn

      Hi Vicky, I’m so glad you found the recipe! Pat has passed away, but when she was alive, she did tell me that she would put this icing on a chocolate or spice cake. I hope you enjoy it!

  17. Yna Mendoza

    Hey there! How much frosting does this recipe yield? And is there an exact temperature I need to boil my sugar mixture to? Thanks a lot!

  18. Lillian

    Hi Shawn,

    I had this recipe pinned on Pinterest for years and I finally got the courage to do it! It came out great. It tastes like brown sugar Fluff. I used it to frost a yellow cake and it was a great combination. Kids loved it! Thank you.

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Shawn Syphus

Hi, I’m Shawn and I’m a busy mom of five; pretending to live on a budget. I love to cook, and explore new recipes, but they have to be quick and easy with as few dishes as possible.

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