Cream Cheese Frosting with Brown Butter and Bourbon

This frosting pairs perfectly with banana, carrot, and spice cakes. Browning the butter gives it a deep, nutty flavor. As with many buttercreams, you may need slightly more or less sugar to reach your desired consistency.

Original recipe makes 1 batch: enough for a 2- or 3-layer cake


3/4 cup butter, divided
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/2 fluid ounce bourbon whiskey
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream

  • PREP

    25 mins

  • COOK

    15 mins


    40 mins


  1. Melt 1/2 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally and cook until the milk solids turn brown and give off a nutty fragrance, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Combine the remaining 1/4 butter and cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Pour the browned butter into the mixing bowl and set aside for about three minutes, letting the warm butter soften the cream cheese and cold butter. Scrape the black seeds from the vanilla bean and add them to the bowl. Add the bourbon and mix on low speed until smooth.
  3. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar and cream, alternating between the two, until the proper consistency is reached. If the frosting is too soft for decorating, refrigerate it for about half an hour before using.


Calories: 339 kcal
Carbohydrates: 41.6 g
Cholesterol: 54 mg
Fat: 19 g
Fiber: 0 g
Protein: 1.6 g
Sodium: 138 mg