Caramel Frosting

Buttery, rich and perfectly sweet, this easy to make Caramel Frosting is perfect for cupcakes, layer cakes or midnight treats! 

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Cupcakes with caramel frosting piped with different piping tips

One of my favorite childhood treats came on birthdays, baptisms and occasionally, Tuesdays. A grocery store sheet cake is a simple, so-bad-it’s-good treat. Every bite is soft, spongy and coated in sugary, brightly-colored buttercream frosting. I have fond memories of my tongue turning bright blue and my teeth being coated with sugar granules.

There is still a time and a place for cheap cake slathered with cheap frosting but homemade buttercream reigns supreme. With just a few ingredients and a strong wrist (or an electric mixer) you can create something those big chain stores couldn’t even dream of!

Perks and Highlight of the Best Caramel Frosting recipe

Cuisine Inspiration: American Comfort
Who says caramel is only for drizzling? In this American-inspired treat, we thicken the plot with a frosting that hugs your treats with the comfort only caramel can deliver. It’s a homegrown classic with a twist!

Primary Cooking Method: Whipping
No ovens or stovetops needed here; we’re just enlisting your trusty stand mixer to whip up something magical. The power of aeration turns simple ingredients into fluffy, heavenly bliss.

Dietary Info: Vegetarian, Gluten-Free
Fear not, our sweet-toothed friends avoiding gluten and meat! This frosting doesn’t discriminate, bringing joy to all dessert plates.

Key Flavor: Caramel
Oh, caramel, you golden-hued charmer. The deep, rich sweetness takes center stage, with whispers of vanilla and the subtle sharpness of salt creating a full-bodied symphony of flavors.

Skill Level: Beginner
Worried you’re not a kitchen wizard? No problemo! If you can measure, pour, and know how to turn on a mixer, you’re all set. This recipe is easy-peasy, promise!

Special Perks:

  1. All-Purpose Sweetness: This isn’t a one-dessert wonder, oh no! Our caramel frosting goes with practically everything – cakes, cupcakes, cookies, spoons (hey, we don’t judge).
  2. Kid-Friendly Kitchen Fun: A great way to get the little ones involved in the kitchen. They’ll love watching the ingredients whirl around into something delicious (under adult supervision, of course!).
  3. Make-Ahead Magic: In a time crunch? Whip it up ahead of time, and this beauty will wait patiently in your fridge, ready to dazzle when you need it.
  4. No Fancy Ingredients Needed: Everything you need is probably already in your pantry or just a quick grocery run away. No hunting down exotic components for this tasty topper!
  5. Instant Elegance: Even the simplest treats are instantly fancified with a dollop of this rich, creamy goodness. It’s a one-way ticket to Compliment City, courtesy of your impressed friends and family.
 
A close up of frosting piped on cupcake like a rose

What is Caramel Frosting?

I’m a chocolate pretzel brownie, sea salt chocolate chip cookie, extra dried fruit in my trail mix kind of girl. The balance between sweet and salty is crucial, sacred even. I love good ‘ole fashioned buttercream as much as the next person but, adding a salty component makes it that much better.

Caramel is sweet, buttery, creamy and best of all, a bit salty. With a bit of experimenting and a whole lot of taste testing, I found that caramel makes for the BEST buttercream ever!

Caramel buttercream after being mixed in stand mixer on beaters

Ingredients

  • Unsalted Butter (Room Temperature): The MVP that sets the stage for this creamy wonderland. Remember, room temp is key for that perfect blendability.
  • Pinch of Salt: The flavor whisperer! Just a pinch, because this secret agent’s mission is to elevate all the other tastes without taking the spotlight.
  • Confectioner’s Sugar: This sweet sensation ensures your buttercream has that smooth glide and irresistible sweetness. It’s like a powdered sugar hug for your taste buds!
  • Heavy Cream: The creamy dream team’s captain, bringing a richness that makes your buttercream undeniably lush and velvety.
  • Caramel: The showstopper! Opt for the thick kind; store-bought works like a charm. We’re talking the Mrs. Richardson’s level of decadence here. It’s the golden swirl in your buttercream symphony.
  • Vanilla Extract: The flavor harmony! Just a dash bridges the sweet and salty, tying our caramel masterpiece up with a velvety bow.

How to Make Caramel Frosting

  1. Start the Creamy Magic: Pop your unsalted butter in your stand mixer (make sure it’s all nice and room temp for maximum fluffiness!). Don’t forget a pinch of salt; it’s the secret whisper that elevates the caramel to celestial levels. Blend them together on a medium-low speed until they’re just begging to be sweetened.
  2. Sugar, Meet Butter: Time for the confectioner’s sugar to join the party! Ease it in slowly while your mixer is set to low — we’re talking gentle, sweet whispers, not a sugar monsoon. Once it’s all in there, crank that mixer up to medium-high and watch as it transforms into something spectacular.
  3. Caramel Cascade: Now, the star of the show – caramel! Along with heavy cream for that silky-smooth vibe, and a splash of vanilla extract for extra “oomph.” Blend it in until your frosting is practically purring.
  4. Fluff it Up: Keep that mixer going until your frosting is not just smooth, not just creamy, but achieves a level of fluffiness previously unknown to humankind.
  5. Frost Like a Boss: Whether you’re piping elegant swirls or slathering with a spatula, adorn your baked masterpieces with confidence. Then, serve up that sweetness and watch every face light up in caramel-infused joy!
 

Tips

What I love the most about frosting is that it’s always right at my fingertips. The ingredients are simple, pantry staples and the only required equipment is a mixer. In a few, short minutes I can make a delicious frosting fit for a queen.

Here are a few tips to ensure the BEST frosting EVER!

Don’t Rush the Butter!

If you’re looking for a velvety-smooth buttercream, you gotta treat your butter right. Start with cool, room temperature butter; it shouldn’t be partially melted or greasy. Start beating at a low speed and increase about every minute or so.

After about 3-4 minutes, the frosting should be light, fluffy and light in color. Take a taste, it should melt on the tongue; it shouldn’t feel heavy or glue-y.

Adjust the Sugar

When adding in the sugar, go slowly and take an occasional taste. Buttercream isn’t one size fits all! It’s okay to adjust the sweetness to fit your preference.

Just be sure to cut the amount of liquid in accordance to how much you’ve reduced the sugar.

Powdered sugar added to stand mixer with butter making frosting

Keep Cool

A homemade buttercream doesn’t contain the same preservatives as the store-bought variety. You will need to keep the environment cool to prevent melting.

What Caramel To select?

You can either use a homemade caramel.  If you select that, definitely make my Aunt Beverly’s Caramel Icing that is very popular in my Caramel Cake.  It is decadent, delicious and absolutely incredible.

You can also make my easy and fast Caramel Sauce recipe which would be incredible in this buttercream as well.  You actually melt the sugar over the stove allowing it to caramelize.

If you are grabbing store bought, definitely get a thick brand.  There are some brands at the super market that are more suited as a thin sauce for ice cream, and they won’t work well here.  

Instead, grab something like a Mrs. Richardson or a gourmet caramel sauce like this to save time for making your own.

A close up of cupcake with caramel buttercream swirled high on top

My Favorite Caramel Recipes

If you are a fan of my internet sensation Caramel Cake , Vegan Caramel Sauce or Easy Caramel Sauce recipe, you will love this buttercream too!

What Recipes Can I Use Caramel Frosting For?

I’d highly recommend eating a straight up spoonful (or maybe a few) of this buttercream. It’s glorious. When you’re ready to put down the spoon and bust out the spatula, there’s plenty of base options for this frosting.

From chocolate cupcakes to pumpkin pound cakes, you can slather this salty, sweet goodness on just about anything.

Still stumped? Below are a few Grandbaby Cakes recipes that pair perfectly with this buttercream. Simply swap out the frosting/topping used in the recipe!

A close up of frosting piped on cupcake like a rose

Caramel Frosting Buttercream

Buttery, rich and perfectly sweet, this easy to make Caramel Frosting Buttercream is perfect for cupcakes, layer cakes or midnight treats! 
4.82 from 11 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course: Dessert
Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp caramel It should be thick. For store bought, I use Mrs. Richardsons
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  • In your stand mixer, add butter and salt at medium low speed.
  • Next turn your mixer to down to low and slowly add confectioner’s sugar in small portions until all is added then turn the speed to medium high to combine.
  • Add heavy cream, caramel, and vanilla extract and mix until nice and fluffy.
  • Pipe or spread buttercream and serve.

Notes

Don’t Rush the Butter!
If you’re looking for a velvety-smooth buttercream, you gotta treat your butter right. Start with cool, room temperature butter; it shouldn’t be partially melted or greasy. Start beating at a low speed and increase about every minute or so.
After about 3-4 minutes, the frosting should be light, fluffy and light in color. Take a taste, it should melt on the tongue; it shouldn’t feel heavy or glue-y.
Adjust the Sugar
When adding in the sugar, go slowly and take an occasional taste. Buttercream isn’t one size fits all! It’s okay to adjust the sweetness to fit your preference.
Just be sure to cut the amount of liquid in accordance to how much you’ve reduced the sugar.

Nutrition

Calories: 262kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 6mg | Potassium: 5mg | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 491IU | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this Recipe? Tag me Today!Mention @GrandbabyCakes or tag #grandbabycakes!
Filed Under:  Cupcakes, Dessert and Baking

Comments

  1. correctly title, it is the BEST caramel frosting. So creaming and the right about of favor.
    My “go to” frosting.
    Thank you.
    PS: I’ll have to closet make this I don’t want to share with anyone.

  2. Your description of sheet cake childhood and salty-sweetness made me actually drool a little. I’d love to try this with a chocolate ganache.

  3. Thank you so much! This looks amazing- I’m going to try it with a dark chocolate cake. Ms Jocelyn, where can I purchase a physical copy of Grandbaby Cakes? I’ve searched everywhere online (new + used) and called my local new and used bookstores trying to find a copy. Please, please say it will be available soon???

    1. Yes it will be available soon. It sold out but it will be in stock super soon.

  4. Kids will definitely feast on this yummy Frosting. Looks creamy and delicious and best over cup cakes.

  5. Oh my… this frosting is the best! Perfect for my vanilla cupcakes, or eaten straight out of the bowl. So good!

4.82 from 11 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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