Caramel icing from Sandra Lee

Sandra Lee was always one of my least favorite Food Network shows (I had particular disdain for the episode where she dressed the table in denim and diamonds). Then I saw the Food Network’s documentary on her and developed a new respect for what she does. She came from a broken family, so by default ended up having to look after her siblings at a young age. The money- and time-saving shortcuts on her show were inspired by those early years.

Anyway, I like to make cupcakes using a yellow cake box mix topped with her caramel rum icing, which is way easy and way yummy.


For the icing:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar 
  • 1/4 cup milk (I substituted half and half)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted (I used closer to 2 cups—taste it as you go along)
  • 1 teaspoon rum extract (I substituted 1 tablespoon dark rum)

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter with brown sugar and rum extract. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add milk and bring to a hard boil. Stirring constantly, until sugar is completely dissolved; about 2 minutes.

Let cool to room temperature and transfer to a medium bowl. Use an electric mixer on medium speed to beat in powdered sugar until smooth. If too thick, add a little milk. If too thin, add a little powdered sugar.

Using an offset spatula, evenly spread icing on top of each cake round. Stack and ice the top of the cake. You may have frosting leftover.



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