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Easy Caramel Buttercream Frosting

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Top your favorite treats with this easy to make caramel buttercream. Just imagine all of the cakes, cupcakes and cookies it could go on!

chocolate cupcakes topped with rosettes of light tan caramel buttercream ready to eat.

      Sweet caramel goodness in a super delicious buttercream. This recipe whips up in minutes and is perfect for piping and decorating. It holds its shape and tastes delicious!  It is the perfect topping to any desserts that could benefit from a touch of caramel goodness.

Making a rich caramel frosting doesn’t have to be complicated. This recipe doesn’t require any candy thermometers or saucepans.

It is so quick and easy you can be decorating your cake or cupcakes in just a matter of minutes. It is a fun twist on American buttercream, which is the least complicated version of frosting to make.

When I originally created this recipe, I used to to top some carrot cake cupcakes. It was a yummy combination.

This time I made some chocolate cupcakes and toasted some coconut to go on top. It was reminiscent of a German chocolate cake only quicker and with fluffier frosting!

Original post from 2019

        This week is going to be a fun one. This frosting is just the start of something scrumptious.  The next few days are going to build to something fun for your Easter table.

pouring caramel into mixing bowl full of buttercream

       It started with the want to make some carrot cake cupcakes. Don’t worry, I’m sharing the recipe tomorrow. (Be sure to check out how I made them into a carrot shaped cupcake cake as well!)

      Those cupcakes would of course need some frosting. I usually top my carrot cakes with cream cheese frosting.

      Sometimes, when I’m feeling spunky, I go with maple cream cheese frosting. It is super delicious and adds a little warmth to the mix.

mixer bowl full of easy caramel buttercream frosting.

        This particular day and for this particular project, cream cheese frosting just wasn’t going to work. I needed something that didn’t need refrigeration and something that would hold it’s shape.

        It was tempting to go to my old standby, sweetened condensed milk buttercream. It was really superdy duper tempting.

         But I like trying new things, so I figured I had better do something different. Boy am I ever glad I did.

rosettes of caramel buttercream on carrot cupcakes next to piping bag of more frosting.

          I had a bit of caramel sauce that was calling my name. I figured it would be an easy way to add flavor and warmth to the frosting.

      The final result was lip smacking (and finger licking) good. The final color was just golden enough to give a hint of the caramel inside.

      It piped beautifully on the cupcakes and was perfect on its own. They were also great with a smattering of chopped pecans and a drizzle of caramel.

caramel buttercream on cupcakes with a caramel drizzle and pecan bits.

      I cannot wait to let this project unfold for you. I hope you’ll follow along.  In the meantime, what kind of treat would you but this frosting on first?

Tips for getting your frosting right

Because this recipe is a slight twist on a traditional American buttercream, it is almost fool proof. There are a few tips to get it perfect every time.

The first is to start with room temperature butter. It should be soft, but not wimpy.

You want your mixer to be able to make it super smooth with no chunks of hard butter. That and powdered sugar that isn’t too clumpy will ensure smooth buttercream.

Use your paddle attachment on your mixer to keep to much air from getting whipped into the frosting. While you want it to be light and fluffy, too many air bubbles will affect the texture of your final product and will make it hard to get a smooth finish on your cake.

chocolate cupcakes with swirls of caramel buttercream and toasted coconut on top.

You can either use salted butter or add a pinch of salt or both. Taste it and adjust to your liking.

The salt adds balance with all the sweetness of caramel and powdered sugar. Plus caramel and salt are a classic combination for a reason.

Have fun! Frosting is supposed to be fun. So enjoy the process and have fun decorating!

Yield: 24 Servings

Easy Caramel Buttercream Frosting

Top your favorite treats with this easy to make caramel buttercream. Just imagine all of the cakes, cupcakes and cookies it could go on!

Top your favorite treats with this easy to make caramel buttercream. Just imagine all of the cakes, cupcakes and cookies it could go on!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup caramel topping
  • pinch of salt
  • 1-2 Tablespoons cream
  • 4 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Beat butter until soft and fluffy.
  2. Add vanilla, caramel topping, and salt. 
  3. Beat in powdered sugar.
  4. Add desired amount of cream. Adjust the final consistency by adding a little more cream or powdered sugar.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

24

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 154Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 82mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 0gSugar: 21gProtein: 0g

All nutritional information is estimated and will depend on the exact ingredients you use.

Did you make this recipe?

I'd love to see it! Share a picture on Instagram or Pinterest and tag me @carleecooks to let me know how it went!

swirl of caramel buttercream on plate
Top your favorite treats with this easy to make caramel buttercream. Just imagine all of the cakes, cupcakes and cookies it could go on!

Share with your friends!

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Amy

Thursday 25th of February 2021

I love how you drizzled the caramel on top of this Fabulous Caramel Buttercream Frosting. I wasn't sure that there was a way to improve on Frosting, but this may be it!

Carlee

Thursday 25th of February 2021

If a little caramel is good, more is better right?! Thank you!

Karen @karenskitchenstories

Sunday 21st of February 2021

This sounds sooooo delicious. Caramel is one of my favorite sweets so adding it to frosting is such a great idea.

Ashley

Sunday 21st of June 2020

Hi Carlee, this recipe sounds great. I am attempting to make this last minute and I just realized I don't have heavy cream or milk....uugghh. So you think water will work and it not take away from flavor?

Carlee

Sunday 21st of June 2020

It should be fine! It's just to thin it out a bit. I would add it a teaspoon at a time until you get the right consistency. It probably won't take much.

Donna Boetger

Saturday 22nd of February 2020

Just made this for a spice cake. This is super delish frosting and so easy to whip up.

Carlee

Sunday 23rd of February 2020

It would be so good with spice cake! I am so glad you liked it!

Olivia C.

Monday 10th of February 2020

How much frosting does this recipe make? I am baking 12 cupcakes, would I need to half the recipe?

Carlee

Sunday 23rd of February 2020

It depends on how much frosting you like! If you are spreading it on or doing a low profile swirl, a half of a recipe should work. For taller swirls, you will want to make the full recipe.