Don't Be Afraid To Swap Sugar With Molasses In Buttercream Frosting

cupcakes with buttercream frosting
cupcakes with buttercream frosting - Truffles and Trends/Shutterstock

In its most traditional form, buttercream frosting is as sweet as can be. A classic vanilla buttercream frosting consists of butter, milk or cream, vanilla, salt, and powdered sugar, all beaten together in a mixer. It's the latter ingredient, however, that's responsible for the frosting's sweetness -- and it's a crucial addition, though it can be replaced or paired with another sweet ingredient. Molasses acts as a great sugar alternative, not only because it matches powdered sugar's sweetness, but also because it brings a new dimension of flavor to an otherwise simple frosting. For proof, just look at what it does to the buttercream's color.

As a thick, dark syrup derived from sugar cane during refinement, molasses yields a brown frosting that tastes as deep as it looks. If you want a buttercream that's robust, molasses is the perfect ingredient for the job. It works especially well atop spiced cakes -- think anything gingerbread -- as well as when paired with other popular buttercream flavors like cream cheese. As for how, exactly, to make your own molasses-tinted buttercream, don't forgo the powdered sugar entirely. Instead, start by gradually reducing your recipe's required amount of sugar, and compensate for that gap with a drizzle of molasses. While the combination isn't a precise science, you'll still want to start with a spoon.

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How To Add Molasses To Your Buttercream Frosting

bowl of molasses syrup
bowl of molasses syrup - Aegeanblue/Getty Images

A little molasses goes a long way, so you'll still want to hold onto your powdered sugar. Even just a tablespoon of molasses combined with a few cups of sugar is enough to alter your buttercream, giving a boost to baked goods without fully transforming your recipe. Its flavor is evocative of brown sugar, offering an almost caramel-like taste that's perfect for cupcakes and cakes.

To incorporate molasses into your buttercream, simply beat the ingredient alongside the frosting's other staples. If you decide you want more, you can always drizzle in another teaspoon or two. Molasses, like sweetness, is something that's best added to personal taste. After all, there's a reason the syrup works so well in recipes that call for a little bit of sugar. Think of how molasses introduces a desired element of sweetness to your morning oatmeal, alongside a spiciness and complex depth.

For further experimentation, play around with the three different types of molasses: light, dark, and blackstrap. In sweet recipes like buttercream, however, you'll have the best luck with the gentler sweetness of the first two. But no matter what type of molasses you choose, you'll introduce a new flavor that maximizes your buttercream frosting's potential.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.