Mama’s Penuche Frosting

I post this recipe in victory. I almost had to tear the vintage cookbook that this lovely caramel-scented frosting originally appeared in out of my mother’s hands for she has long treasured her Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook. Don’t think I’m a terrible person, Mama found herself the newest and latest version to have in her collection and she actually happily gave me this cookbook…with strict instructions to be careful with it, of course.

I always associate this frosting with my Mama because every time she makes a spice cake, she also makes this frosting and dang is it ever good. With it’s lovely caramel flavor and dense texture, this frosting is the absolute perfect compliment to a spice cake.

My Mama has always said that this frosting can be tricky and I can see how she is right in that. I found that I was very impatient with the frosting, I wanted it to cool quickly so I could add the confectioner’s sugar and get to icing my cake but it is important that you wait till your mixture has cooled slightly or the frosting simply won’t work.

And speaking of work, Mama says that it is of the utmost importance that you work quickly or the frosting will set up on you before you are ready. As such, this frosting is the perfect topping for a sheet cake but not so great for a layer cake or cupcakes because it really does set up quickly and is not really an icing you can play around with.

Penuche Frosting (adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook)

Frosts one 9×13 inch cake

½ cup unsalted butter

1 cup brown sugar

¼ cup milk, warmed

2 ½ to 3 ¼ cup icing sugar

In a medium saucepan, combine butter and brown sugar and bring to boil. Cook till slightly thickened, two to four minutes. Allow to cool 15 minutes.

With a wooden spoon or spatula, beat the warm milk into the frosting. Add icing sugar, ½ cup at a time, beating the mixture smooth after each addition till the frosting is a spreadable consistency.

Pour onto the sheet cake and smooth with an off-set spatula being sure to work quickly. Allow to set at least 15 minutes before cutting.

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