Broiled Nut Icing

Broiled nut icing is a super simple, caramel-like, nutty topping for cakes of all types and flavors!

This recipe is from my great grandmother and is one if the easiest and most decadent cake icings I’ve encountered. I absolutely love it on any kind of spice cake.

broiled nut icing in pot

Broiled Nut Icing Recipe

Let’s talk about this ultra-easy, four-ingredient cake icing today! Have you ever heard of broiled nut icing? It looks (and tastes) a whole lot like caramel but it has nuts in it, and there’s this whole broiling element that makes it extra fun in prepping your baked goodies.

Basically to make it, you heat some milk and butter on the stove, add some brown sugar, melt it all together, and add some pecans or walnuts (or both for a real party!). Pour the mixture over the top of a cake, and then stick the whole thing in the oven under the broiler for a couple of minutes.

The result? A gooey, caramel-y, sweet, and nutty topping that is lovely on cakes of all kinds. Truly, the best. It’s a good recipe to whip out for rolls to make them into morning sticky buns, too! I actually got the recipe from my great-grandmother, who used it atop her famous old fashioned oatmeal cake, a rich and rustic dessert that’s full of sweet and warming flavors. They are both winning recipes, especially when you need a tasty dessert without a ton of time and effort. I hope you love making this yummy and fun icing for your next cake!

broiled nut icing on old fashioned oatmeal cake sitting on a white cake stand and red checked towel

What’s in broiled nut icing?

This icing recipe is super-duper simple. It just has four ingredients: butter and milk to make it creamy and rich, brown sugar for the deep golden color and warm sweetness, and nuts for a bit of crunch. Some people also use coconut flakes, which would be great! Just add the flakes when you add the nuts.

What does broiled nut icing taste like?

Broiled nut icing is absolutely heavenly. It tastes sort of like a caramel topping that seeps into the cake and makes the top layer extra moist from the broiling part of prepping it. It’s crunchy and nutty thanks to the pecans and/or walnuts, and warmly sweet but not over the top.

Do you need to broil broiled nut icing?

Broiling it over top a cake really takes it to the next level, allows it to thicken, and gets it to soak into the cake so that it’s infused into the top part of the dessert!

Can you use another sugar in broiled icing?

You could experiment with using brown coconut sugar for a similar effect, but I wouldn’t recommend using any white or granulated sugars.

broiled nut icing on old fashioned oatmeal cake with slice being removed on spatula

How to make broiled nut icing:

  1. Combine butter and milk in saucepan over medium heat until butter melts.
  2. Add brown sugar and stir until it dissolves.
  3. Remove from heat; stir in nuts.
  4. Pour sugar mixture over warm cake.
  5. Broil cake for 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Cool before serving.

broiled nut icing recipe how to image


Broiled Nut Icing

  • Author: Melissa Griffiths - Bless this Mess
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 5 min
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 1 - 9 inch round cake 1x


Broiled nut icing is a super simple, caramel-like, nutty topping for cakes of all types and flavors!



  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts


  1. In a medium saucepan, combine butter and milk. Stir over medium heat until the butter melts.
  2. Add the brown sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in nuts.
  4. Pour sugar mixture over warm cake.
  5. Broil covered cake about 5 inches away from the heating element for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and golden.
  6. Cool before serving.
  7. This makes the perfect amount for a 9-inch round cake or a 9×9 square. If using a 9×13 cake, double the recipe. If you took the cake out of the pan before you put the topping on, be sure to place the cake on a baking sheet before topping and broiling.
  8. I use this recipe on my favorite Old Fashioned Oatmeal Cake; both recipes are from my great grandmother.

  • Category: dessert
  • Method: broil
  • Cuisine: American
Nutrition Information: YIELD: 12
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 116.7 Fat: 8.7g Cholesterol: 10.2mg Sodium: 4.2mg Carbohydrates: 10.1g Sugars: 9.3g Protein: 8g Vitamin A: 32.6µg Vitamin C: 1mg

Keywords: broiled icing, broiled frosting, pecan icing, walnut icing, rustic cake icing

Ready to Make Family Dinner EASY?

Get 60+ simple recipes sure to please even the pickiest eaters, plus 8-weeks of grocery shopping lists already planned for you. It’s time to breakup with the stress and guesswork of figuring out what’s for dinner!

Snag Your Copy!

Want To Save This Recipe?

broiled nut icing pin

broiled nut icing on old fashioned oatmeal cake

This recipe was originally published in 2010, and has been updated and rephotographed in January 2020.

More Icing Recipes You’ll Love

This super easy broiled nut icing is a caramelized, rich, and nutty topping for all sorts of cakes and baked goodies, and you will love how simple it is for such a decadent end result!

Subscribers get access to Dinner Made Easy meal plans, exclusive recipes, giveaways, and behind-the-scenes updates​! Sign up for my newsletter or get a new recipe every day.

Subscribe Now
about me

About Melissa

I have a lot going on, and I’d much rather spend my time enjoying my messes than fretting about what I’m going to make for dinner. Over the past few years, I’ve nailed down a few strategies that helped me keep my kitchen running like a well-oiled machine, so I started Bless This Mess to help other mess-loving parents solve the nightly dinner delimma—no stress, no drama, just really great food your whole family will love. Read more...

Share Your Comments

Want to share a photo of what you’ve made? Be sure to register or log in and then click the camera icon camera icon located at the bottom of the comment area.

Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I’ve never heard of broiling frosting/icing…..I have to try it! I love old family recipes!!!!!!

Bless This Mess - About Me

I’m Melissa, and I want to help you feed your family wholesome food.

As a hobby farmer and mom of five, I’m all about keeping it simple in the kitchen. I want healthy meals that feed my family well, and then I want to get back to my (messy) life. Let’s work together to find something yummy for your dinner table.