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Vintage Caramel Fudge Frosting

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  • Author: Maureen Haddock
  • Total Time: 5-8 minutes


I have searched for this recipe for decades. My dear friend, whom I met forty-nine years ago, in a boarding house, while attending our first year of university, will be as happy as I am to see it in print.

One summer, this friend and I rode the bus to her hometown, in Northern Saskatchewan. The trip provided me with many memories, but one of the most vivid was the taste of this icing. My friend’s mother had made a white cake, and, on the first evening of our visit, we enjoyed strawberries and whipped cream over squares of cake.

The next evening, my friend’s mother stirred up a brown sugar sauce and poured it over the cake, and right before our eyes, it turned into a soft fudge-like frosting. It was glossy and held its shape, but didn’t become hard. The taste made me stop chewing, savour it, and sigh. The practicality of creating two such different desserts, from one cake, impressed me. I meant to ask for the recipe but never did.

My friend’s mom passed away and time marched on. I kept asking about the recipe, but my friend couldn’t find it. I tried several cooked icing recipes but couldn’t reproduce the taste sensation.

Then one day, while having tea with a friend of my parents, I mentioned the icing, and she remembered making such a recipe in the early fifties. She loved it on chocolate cake, and we agreed it would be good on a boiled raisin cake. She shared this recipe with me, and I tucked it away for further reference.

We just celebrated my husband’s birthday. He has enjoyed many of his favourite treats lately, because I have been on a roll in the kitchen. I asked what he’d like for his birthday treat, and he suggested Chameleon Cake. He likes to have a slice of this cake, drizzled in maple syrup. Well, he had a slice that way, the day before his birthday. I had my slice with fruit and yogurt. On his actual birthday, I decided to use the vintage recipe from my “must try” file and ice about a third of the Chameleon Cake. The rest of the cake would go into the freezer, cut and wrapped, in serving size portions.

As I stirred the ingredients in the pot, I was immediately transported to the little home of my friend’s parents. I could see my friend’s mother pouring the icing, while it was still warm, onto the cake, and I remembered how it spread, like lava, across the surface.

The wonderful thing about this icing is that you can refrigerate what you don’t use, in a plastic sealable dish. What is left can be cut into chunks, served cold like fudge, or placed on top of a muffin or piece of cake and popped in the microwave oven for a few seconds. This icing even makes a cake mix memorable.


Units Scale
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1 cup of icing sugar


Step One:

Mix the brown sugar, butter and milk in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to the boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Step Two:

Cool the mixture slightly (about 2 minutes) and then add the icing sugar. Stir vigorously, until the icing is smooth and silky.

Step Three:

Pour the icing over the cake and let it spread. You could tip the pan to help it flow.

Gord, the boy, Haddock keeps Nig Nog Biscuits in this tin!

Notice how the icing keeps its shape but is still soft.



Thank you to Vie Reynolds for this recipe.

Thank you to Marie Graham for such lovely memories.

Thank you Marion Murawsky for the trips up North. 

  • Prep Time: 2-5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 minutes
  • Category: Icings & Sauces
  • Method: Boil

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