Being able to bite into a chocolate cupcake with a beautiful swirl of Caramel Buttercream on top should be one of life’s treasures. A proper caramel buttercream is a gift from the gods. Though this might not be the best in the world, it’s definitely my favorite recipe and won’t disappoint.
This is a light frosting that won’t destroy the flavor of whatever you’re putting it on. It’s made by cooking sweetened condensed milk until it turns a golden caramel color. This recipe is not for the impatient. If you’re not willing to put in the time to darken your milk correctly, you are going to burn it quickly.
The good news is that once you’ve cooked your caramel, the rest of the recipe is super easy. I generally make a massive two gallon batch of the caramel sauce since it keeps nicely in the fridge or, for even lazier people like me, the freezer. Since you are not likely going to be making 150 cupcakes any time soon, just start off with a couple cans of condensed milk.
Also, check out this recipe
Here’s the recipe:
Salted Caramel Sauce:
2 Cans of Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/2 Tbsp. Kosher or Sea Salt
- Add the condensed milk to a sauce pan. Heat it over medium heat until it starts to turn color, about 10 minutes.
- Turn the heat down to medium-low. Constantly stir the caramel until it gets to the color you want it. Make sure you stir all the way to the bottom of the pan and into the corner. Nobody likes gross burnt chunks of caramel while eating a dessert. Add your salt and keep stirring!
- When it is done, pour it into a separate bowl and let the caramel cool to room temperature.
Salted Caramel Buttercream:
16 ounces Butter (room temperature)
3-4 Cups Powdered Sugar
1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1 tsp. Salt
- In an electric mixer, whip the butter for 1 1/2 minutes on medium speed with the whisk attachment. Slowly add 1 cup of your caramel sauce you just made and whip another minute until it is light and smooth.
- Add the vanilla and salt. Whip until well combined. Add a cup of your powdered sugar and whisk on low speed until it’s combined. Do this step until the first three cups of sugar are added. Then whisk for 3 minutes.
- Taste your buttercream! If you want it sweeter or if you think it needs to be thicker, add the extra cup of sugar and whisk a minute or two longer. Otherwise, immediately frost whatever dessert you are covering with this light frosting! Make sure the dessert is completely cooled, though. If it isn’t, the buttercream will just melt.
- If you have a lot leftover. make sure you put plastic wrap straight onto the top of the buttercream before putting it into the fridge. A weird crust will form on the top otherwise. When you want more, just let it warm up to room temperature and whip it in your electric mixer for a few minutes!
If you are looking for something a little lighter, here is my recipe for Citrus Buttercream that I feature in my Hazelnut Torte!