I made some buttercream frosting for brownies using this recipe. Because The frosting is going on brownies, it needs to be thicker than what it would be on something like a cupcake. We typically frost the entire pan of brownies and then cut the brownies into bite sized squares.

But this recipe comes out thinner than I would like for the brownies. Our usual recipe calls for twice the amount of sugar, but that makes it really sweet. With this recipe, the sweetness is overpowering.

Is there anything else that I can use to thicken the frosting without making it overly sweet?

  • 1
    Have you tried refrigerating it?
    – Debbie M.
    Commented Sep 3, 2016 at 21:49

1 Answer 1


It looks like a couple of similar recipes in your link there, but you could make it a teensy bit thicker without increasing the sweetness by 1) diminishing slightly the amount of liqueur, or 2) adding a little bit of unsweetened cocoa powder [but of course it will then become brown and chocolatey], or 3) adding a little more cornstarch [since confectioners sugar does contain cornstarch anyway]... or some combination of above. Go easy at first of course.

  • I'll try the cornstarch. I was tempted to try it, but I'm a little hesitant. Commented Sep 3, 2016 at 23:40
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    @MichaelDotKnox The cornstarch (about 3% by weight) in powered sugar is there to stop caking. Adding it with the powdered sugar will not help thicken your frosting, cornstarch must be cooked in a liquid for it to gel.
    – Debbie M.
    Commented Sep 4, 2016 at 0:14
  • @DebbieM. - I would think it should work to thicken just as a powder, since it is making the mix less moist and competing for water - mechanical thickening, not chemical. I would think an icing made with "powdered sugar, cornstarch removed" would be a touch thinner since it's missing 3% of its weight (small volume difference, but it might make a difference if the goal is to monkey with sweetness). The boiling lets it thicken a liquid out of proportion to its size, sure, but in a paste or frosting it should thicken roughly equal to other powders.
    – Megha
    Commented Sep 4, 2016 at 3:39
  • 2
    @Megha - you are correct, but raw cornstarch has a definite flavor. I can often taste it in glazes and frostings that use powdered sugar. Adding a tablespoon or 2 could really adversely affect the flavor of the frosting.
    – Debbie M.
    Commented Sep 4, 2016 at 5:54

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