Sticky and sweet old-fashioned Caramel Frosting recipe is perfect for topping your favorite cupcakes and cakes, and is so good, it will have you licking the bowl clean.
I think Caramel Frosting is one of those things that just needs no introduction. I mean... It's caramel. It's frosting. It's delicious. And you can put it on cupcakes and cake. What can I possibly say that would make it better?!
This Caramel Frosting recipe is very easy to make and is addicting to eat. It sets, like a buttercream to give a pretty finish, though following the recipe exactly, it is much softer than a buttercream.
Now I know this caramel frosting recipe uses the stove, but don't be intimidated. It's just for a couple of minutes and you don't need anything crazy, not even a candy thermometer. And it is oh-so-worth-it in the end.
Can You Pipe Caramel Frosting?
Yes. In order to get it to hold the stiff shape of the star tip, I had to add quite a bit more powdered sugar. However, you can use an open tip to pipe as in the pictures with the black background with the recipe as-is.
How to Thicken Caramel Frosting
This caramel frosting will set as it cools, so you don't really need to thicken it. However, if you're trying to pipe it, as above, just add some more powdered sugar about ½-cup at a time until it reaches desired consistency.
How to Make Caramel Frosting Not Grainy
Your Caramel frosting will be perfectly smooth and ready to eat after it's done being beaten. If it's still grainy, it still needs to be beaten a bit longer. The beating helps to fully incorporate the sugars. (this is a good tip for American buttercream too!)
What to Use Caramel Frosting On
A spoon! ... just kidding. Kind of.
You can use this caramel frosting as topping or filling to almost all of your favorite cakes or cupcakes.
Pictured are my sweet potato pecan cupcakes and a plain vanilla cake. This would also be delicious with a chocolate, peanut butter, funfetti, apple cake, banana cake, or spice cake. You can also use it on your favorite cookies!
More Frosting Recipes You'll Love
- Coconut Pecan Frosting - gooey, caramel-like frosting loaded with coconut and pecans.
- Whipped Mascarpone Frosting - light, fluffy, and softly sweet featuring mascarpone cheese as the star ingredient.
- Vanilla Buttercream - classic American vanilla buttercream that's perfect for frosting cakes and cupcakes, decorating, and piping.
- Homemade Marshmallow Fluff - this fluff can double as a frosting that can be toasted and browned.
- Fresh Strawberry Frosting - a buttercream frosting made with fresh strawberry puree
Caramel Frosting Video
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 cups powdered sugar (or more to desired thickness)
- In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat.
- Add brown sugar and bring to a boil, whisking constantly.
- Stir in cream. Return to a boil. Then remove from heat.
- Whisk in vanilla.
- Pour mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl and use an electric hand mixer).
- Gradually beat in powdered sugar at medium speed, using the whisk attachment.
- Beat 7 to 10 minutes, until thickened and smooth.
- Use immediately. This frosting will crust if it sits out.
- Makes about 5 cups
- To pipe, you can add more powdered sugar to make it thicker. Be careful adding too much, as it can affect the texture and make it grainy.
- Add or top with sea salt for a salted caramel effect.
UPDATE INFO: This recipe was originally published in November 2016. It was updated with new pictures, tips, and video and republished in October 2022.
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