Caramel Frosting Recipe that You Can Pipe
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
I never knew about caramel cake until that movie, The Help. This is not that cake, because I’ve made that cake and it was soooooo sweet I could only eat one bite. Not that the original caramel cake isn’t fantabulous and oh so Southern, it’s just really sweet. I never shared it here, because I thought you’d take one bite and shudder a bit, like I did.
Then something remarkable happened.
I was sitting in the Fire Fly Restaurant in Nashville and I ordered dessert. Caramel cake.
I never had a better cake in my entire life and in my next post I’ll tell you about it as I’m still trying to duplicate it, which is impossible. It has a dark chocolate bottom and a yellow cake top. The caramel icing is more caramel icing than frosting, and you will break your diet for it. In fact, you’ll set yourself back a week. This is not that frosting either.
I purposely wanted something whippier, creamier, yet would still taste completely caramel, because there is not a better taste in world than genuine caramel. I say genuine because caramel flavor is not real caramel.
How to Make Caramel
The first thing you do is make caramel, which is easy and hard at the same time.
Easy because you don’t do anything except put water and sugar in a pan 1 to 3 ratio and cook it on medium heat and then add cream at the end. Hard, because you want that amber color, but if it burns, you have to throw it out.
If you take it off the stove before it turns amber, it’s weak, tasteless and while you don’t have to throw it out, you have sugar frosting, but it’s not going to taste like caramel.
See that awesome dark amber color. A few more seconds and it’s burned. It’s like a fight to the finish. Who is going to win. You or the stove?
I consider the world’s best caramel frosting recipe because you can pipe it, and it does not fall.
A lot of caramel icings/frostings out there are weepy, saggy, and while they have a deeper caramel color, they are too sweet. Butter is the key to giving this frosting structure and taking balancing the sweetness. It will change the caramel color, but not the caramel flavor.
The cake I told you about has a dark chocolate bottom that offsets their sweet frosting, but if you’re simply going for a caramel cake, this is the frosting I highly recommend. I put his on a perfect yellow cake which I’ll share in my next post.
Feel free to put this on chocolate cupcakes with a salty caramel frosting, like I did here.
How to Make Caramel and Caramel Frosting
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 sticks butter softened at room temperature
- 3 cups confectioner's sugar
- Caramel from above recipe
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt more for topping
- heat sugar and water together on medium heat. Do not stir while cooking. Once it starts to boil, keep an eye for a amber color, but not too dark that it burns. Turn heat off, add cream. It will bubble. Stir until incorporated. Transfer to stainless steel bowl to cool.
- blend butter until whipped
- Add Confectioner's sugar and salt until it's the consistency of smooth frosting.
- Add in heavy cream. Incorporate well.
- Add in caramel. Whip until smooth.
- Top frosting with more sea salt as desired. (optional0
- At this point, you can cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or 3 days until you want ot use. Take out an hour before frosting cake. You can also freeze frosting.
Please follow me on instagram. If you make this recipe, please tag me #spinachtiger.
If you love this recipe, please give it five stars. It means a lot. xoxo
Do you add the full amount of caramel you’ve made to the frosting? It seems like a lot?
The heavy cream mentioned in the recipe is whipped cream or fresh cream?
It’s not whipped. It’s heavy cream that you use to make whipped cream.
Disappointed in my results from this recipe. Result was almost 4 cups of a gooey, rather than pipe-able, icing. It seemed to be going really well: I had a thick caramel sauce and a thick butter/icing mixture (similar to plain buttercream before adding hot water). But, when I added the 1/4 cup cream to the butter/icing mixture, the result was way too soft and wet, and I knew I was not going to get a light and creamy result.
Angela, could you please add some more guidelines for making this, as I’d love to achieve the results your pictures show.
I’m afraid mine turned out way too runny and nowhere near as frosty and creamy as yours looks…. taste is there, just definitely not the texture… probably just me.
I knew you were my culinary soulmate! Nothing beats REAL caramel!
Fantastic caramel making tutorial. Well done!!!
This looks wonderful — I’m of the same mind as you — I don’t like overly sweet but that is the Italian coming out in us I believe. And the caramel must hold its shape because of the cooked sugar/caramel plus the butter. I am pinning and waiting for your caramel cake recipe — YUM!!
I know what I will be doing Monday in order to avoid paperwork.
Haha. And now that cake is GONE!
I’m pretty good at making caramel. But I seem to be missing the frosting gene. Thanks for the hints. GREG