Last Updated on September 4, 2014 by

Hello, my new favorite sugary goodness. I had never heard of this delicious concoction until yesterday and it has definitely made it into my dessert recipe binder. (Yes, I have a special binder for dessert recipes. It’s my favorite food group!)

Penuche (pronounced \pa-noo-chee\) very much resembles the caramel frosting that my grandmother used to make. I have never been able to perfect that recipe, particularly the part where you wait until the precise moment that it’s just thin enough to pour over the cake and just thick enough to harden and actually stay on the cake. It seems to be one of the many special gifts that my maw maw had.Mawmaw and me

This recipe is just as tasty, requires fewer ingredients, and is fool-proof.penuche

I discovered this recipe by accident. The Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Mocha cake was ready to be frosted for an after-church treat when I realized that I didn’t have enough sugar for my frosting recipe. Well, actually I had enough sugar but then there wouldn’t have been enough sugar for sweet tea. Need I say more? Tomorrow is grocery shopping day so I make-do. I even made substitutions to the recipe below.

The last few pages of The Cake Mix Doctor book contain several recipes for frostings and glazes. I don’t think I’ve ever used any recipe in this book but I might after finding this one. This recipe makes 3 cups, has 4 ingredients, and takes 10 minutes to prepare.

1 cup packed light brown sugar

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter  (I used ½ stick salted and ½ stick unsalted—it was all I had)

¼ cup whole milk (I was out of milk so I used ¼ cup of hazelnut flavored coffee creamer that my neighbor had given me. Her hubby bought the wrong kind. We don’t use flavored creamer and I wasn’t sure what I would do with it. I think it was better than milk would have been!)

2 cups confectioners’ sugar,  sifted

  1. Combine brown sugar and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer and stir constantly until well combined.  Carefully pour in the milk, stirring, and bring mixture to a boil. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  2. Place the confectioners’ sugar in a large mixing bowl. Pour the hot brown sugar mixture over the confectioners’ sugar. Beat with an electric mixer on low until frosting is smooth and creamy.
  3. Use immediately on cake since it hardens quickly. If frosting hardens before you pour it on cake, reheat over low heat until it softens.

This recipe made just enough for a perfectly thick layer on a 9×13 cake. I would definitely double it if I were planning to use it on a layer cake. I think I would also make it in two separate batches since it hardens so quickly.


You might be tempted to eat it with a spoon straight out of the mixing bowl. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Have you heard of Penuche before? Let me know if you make it and how you like it!

3 thoughts on “Penuche, where have you been all my life?”

  1. Penuche is one of my fondest food memories from my childhood. My mother made it in it’s frosting, as well as, fudge varieties. I once asked her how to make the fudge, as I had been unsuccessful, she said “Same as the frosting only thicker”. Helpful. After years I have learned to do so. Your recipe brought back many fond memories and I will try yours as soon as possible. Can you have too many ways to make perfection? Thanks.

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