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This easy caramel buttercream frosting can be made in about 15 minutes. Use quality butter, pure vanilla extract, and swirl in caramel. Just add a pinch of salt for the perfect icing to be used on just about anything.
I know some people may be over the whole salted caramel thing. Me personally? Nope. Never.
Not gonna happen.
There is something about the whole salty sweet thing. Balancing out those tastebuds and making them oh so happy.
Like in this salted caramel buttercream icing.
How To Make This Caramel Buttercream Frosting Recipe
This buttercream icing starts off with the best vanilla buttercream icing recipe ever. It’s so simple and so crazy good. You will never search for another recipe for buttercream again. I’d put my paycheck on that. I mean it’s from Cook’s Country, so you know it’s gonna be great.
It’s an easy buttercream made with powdered sugar and softened butter. But you could make a caramel version of other types of frosting as well – like Swiss Meringue Buttercream, Italian Meringue Buttercream, or Ermine Frosting.
Step 1: Gather your ingredients.
Be sure to use unsalted softened butter. If you forgot to take your butter out ahead of time, here are 3 quick ways to soften it. And always use quality butter and pure vanilla extract.
Step 2: Sift Your Powdered Sugar
I have made this buttercream before without sifting, and as long as I have used softened butter and cream long enough I have zero lumps. So if you want to skip the sifting. Go for it.
Step 3: Cream your butter
You want to do this first before adding any powdered sugar. You can make this in your stand mixer (which is what I prefer) but you can use a hand mixer as shown below.
Step 4: Add your powdered sugar.
Do this a 1/2 cup at a time. Then mix until incorporated. Be sure to start your mixer on low or otherwise you will have it everywhere!
Step 5: Add in your heavy cream and vanilla extract.
You can use milk or half-and-half but I prefer the richness of heavy cream. And don’t skimp on pure vanilla extract and use imitation. Since this is not baked, you will notice!
Step 6: Mix until light and fluffy!
You want to do this for 8 minutes. Yup 8! But it’s worth it 🙂
Step 7: Add In Your Caramel
And if you’re new to making buttercream, then be sure to give my Ultimate Guide To Making The Best Buttercream Icing Ever. Trust me it will walk you through step by step on how to make the best buttercream ever.
Tips On Making This Caramel Buttercream:
- Soften Your Butter – Make sure your butter is softened. You can soften your butter quickly 3 different ways. But just make sure that it’s unsalted butter. Different brands of butter will use different amounts of salt in their salted butter so it’s best to control the amount yourself.
- Add in your powdered sugar a little at a time. So you don’t have a powdered sugar blizzard all over you and the rest of your kitchen. Cover your mixing bowl with a towel or damp towel to keep the powdered sugar from escaping from the bowl.
- Store your buttercream properly. If not using right away, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Whip Again. If you store the buttercream in your fridge, then you will need to rewhip the frosting until fluffy again before you use it.
Do I Need To Make My Own Caramel?
Nope. I mean you can. But if you’re tight on time, go ahead and get a good jar of caramel sauce. They have great caramel sauces now that you can buy.
The From Scratch Method: You can also make your homemade salted caramel sauce. Here is a step by step photo tutorial for you to master making your own.
Whichever method you choose, swirl some caramel in. Add in a pinch of salt.
Or you could just lick the spatula. I won’t judge.
If you’re looking for more buttercream inspiration, then be sure to download my 13 ways to flavor your buttercream cheatsheet!
How Do I Store Buttercream?
You can keep your buttercream at room temperature if you plan to use it right away (1-2 days max).
You can also store in the refrigerator for 5 days. You will just need to re-whip it again in your stand mixer to get it to a spreadable consistency.
If you don’t plan to use it within a week, it can be frozen.Or freeze for 2 months according to Bluprint. I just let mine thaw in the refrigerator overnight, or on the counter for a few hours. And again, just re-whip again until it’s smooth and spreadable.
For more help on making buttercream icing check out my Ultimate Guide To Making The Best Buttercream Icing Ever!
How Many Cupcakes Or Cake Will This Caramel Buttercream Frosting Cover?
- For Cupcakes – This recipe will generously frost 12 cupcakes. I like to pipe a pretty tall amount of frosting on each cupcake. So if you don’t use as much as I do as in the photos, then you might get more frosted (around 24 cupcakes). For help on decorating cupcakes, be sure to check out my The Ultimate Guide To Baking Cupcakes At Home .
- For Cake – This frosting will cover a 9 x 13 sheet cake or a 2 layer 8-inch or 9-inch cake.
To Make This Caramel Buttercream Frosting Recipe You Will Need:
- Kitchen-aid Stand mixer – you can use a hand mixer but a stand mixer is going to make quick work of this icing and help make it fluffy in no time.
- Either jarred caramel sauce or homemade
- Dry measuring cups and measuring spoons
Easy Caramel Buttercream Frosting
- 20 Tablespoons (283 grams) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups (284 grams) Powdered (confectioners or icing) sugar
- 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 6 tablespoons caramel sauce
- pinch of sea salt
- Combine the butter and confectioners sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix on low speed at first, then increase the speed until combined.
- Add in your heavy cream and vanilla extract, and mix on medium to high speed for 8 minutes until light and creamy.
- Stir in the caramel and final pinch of salt. If not using immediately, store in a container in the refrigerator until ready to use, mix again until light and fluffy.
- Be sure to use quality unsalted Grade AA Butter (I use Cabot, it's my preference) but be sure you use at least a quality butter. Cheap generic butter uses more air and water which can result in a less tastier butter. And when it comes to buttercream, all that taste will shine through. Here are 3 quick ways to soften your butter if you are in a pinch for time.
- You also want to use pure vanilla extract not that cheap imitation stuff. Because buttercream isn't baked, that pure vanilla flavor will shine through.
- Make sure to mix this long enough so it's fluffy and light.
- Enough for 24 cupcakes
- Can be made up to 5 days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container.