Caramel Buttercream Tutorial
Makes: Makes about 4 cups
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cups water
  • 1 cup (2 sticks; ½ a pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
  1. Bring the cream to a boil in a saucepan; remove from heat and set aside, keeping warm.
  2. Combine the sugar and water in a large, heavy bottomed pot. Stir to combine. 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.
  3. The mixture will begin to color. Temperature is not that important here; you just want it to be the proper color. It should be an attractive deep-amber, but not black or it will taste burned. 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.
  4. The mixture may seize up if the cream was too cool and you may be left with a hardened caramel ball. Just place the pot over a low-medium heat to melt out the caramel. Stir until smooth.
  5. Remove from heat and cool in pot. 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. (Pay attention to the temperature here; do not over-chill).
  6. Place the bowl on the mixer stand fitted with the balloon whip. Begin to whip on low-medium speed. If it is too cold the mixture will be too thick to whip. If it is still too warm, it will be soupy. Chill or warm as necessary using some of the tips suggested in the Italian Meringue Buttercream recipe. You want it to become pale, lightened in texture and very smooth.
  7. Add the soft butter two tablespoons at a time (eyeball this) while continuing to whip with mixer on high speed. Keep beating until all the butter is added and the mixture is soft, creamy and smooth. Keep whipping until the texture you want is reached. It should be thick enough to pipe out and spread with an icing spatula.
  8. OK, what can go wrong? The most common thing with this recipe is that you will add the butter and it will look like the first image below. It will look separated and “curdy”. This happened when the mixture is too cold overall. It happened to me as I took this photo shoot, but I was glad it did so I could show you the “before”. If you get to the point where it looks like the picture above, remove about 1 cup of the mixture, place in a microwave safe container and nuke it until it is very soft (you need to be familiar with your microwave to do this successfully). Start with 5-second bursts. Add this softened buttercream to the larger amount and it should smooth out. If it doesn’t, simply repeat until it works. I think I did it 3x during this particular go-round. Yes, it gave me some problems, but look at it in the bottom image. When it was done it was super smooth and so delectable you will want to eat it by a spoon - and this was a mere 5 minutes after the crisis point.
  9. The Caramel Buttercream is now ready to use or place in an airtight container and store refrigerated for up to a week. Read How to Reconstitute Italian Meringue Buttercream if you want to use it after refrigeration.
Recipe by Bakepedia at