This rich caramel buttercream frosting recipe is featured in our Chocolate Caramel Buche de Noel, but can be used for any layer cake you like. Try it with our Easy Chocolate Cake or Yellow Cake. Make sure to review the Tips, as there are some tricks to making this buttercream as smooth and creamy as can be.
Image: Dédé Wilson
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
- Bring the cream to a boil in a saucepan; set aside, keeping warm.
- Whisk the sugar and water together in a large, deep heavy-bottomed pot. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer; wash sugar crystals down from the pan’s sides with a damp pastry brush if necessary. Do not stir. Swirl the pot occasionally to mix the contents gently.
- The caramel will begin to color. Temperature is not that important, you just want it to develop a deep amber color, just shy of burning. When it develops the proper color, remove from the heat. Immediately, but slowly and steadily, pour in the warm cream. The mixture may boil up furiously. Have a whisk ready to stir it down. Stir until smooth.
- Pour into your stand mixer’s bowl and let sit overnight at a cool room temperature or refrigerate until firmed. The caramel mixture will become sticky and thick, but it should not be ice cold. Place the bowl on the mixer stand fitted with the balloon whisk and beat on high speed until it lightens in color and texture. Add the soft butter a few tablespoons at a time while continuing to whip. The mixture will become soft, creamy and smooth. Keep whipping until it thickens enough to spread with an icing spatula and hold its shape. The buttercream is now ready to use or place in an airtight container and refrigerate up to 1 week.
- The caramel may seize up when you add the cream if the cream is too cool, and you may be left with a hardened caramel ball. Just place the pot over a low-medium heat to melt the caramel and whisk until smooth.
- When you start to whip the caramel, begin by whipping on low-medium speed and look for these signs: If the caramel is too cold, the mixture will be too thick to whip. If it is still too warm, it will be soupy. If it is too loose, chill it over an ice bath. If it is too cold, try some of the Tips suggested in How to Reconstitute Chilled Buttercream.
- This may be made one week ahead if stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Refer to the tips articled linked above to reconstitute the frosting.