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Caramel Buttercream

  • Yield: Makes 5 cups
Caramel Buttercream

Source: Halloween 2004, October Holiday 2004


  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 6 large egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Make caramel: Pour 1/4 cup water into a medium heavy-bottom saucepan. Add 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and syrup is clear. Continue to cook, without stirring, until syrup comes to a boil, washing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush two or three times to prevent crystals from forming. Let syrup boil, gently swirling pan occasionally, until syrup is dark amber.

  2. Immediately remove from heat; carefully pour in cream (caramel will bubble vigorously). Stir caramel until smooth. Transfer to a bowl; let cool.

  3. Whisk together remaining 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, the egg whites, and salt in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer. Set bowl over a pan of simmering water; whisk until sugar is dissolved and mixture registers 140 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.

  4. Return bowl to mixer; fit mixer with whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until stiff. Reduce speed to medium low; add butter, a few tablespoons at a time. Continue whisking until smooth.

  5. Switch to paddle attachment. Add caramel and vanilla; beat on lowest speed until combined, 3 to 5 minutes.

Reviews (2)

  • jennifer irwin 5 Nov, 2013

    I got good results with this recipe and this method for making buttercream is my favorite. I did find the caramel flavor and color too subtle so I doubled the amount of caramel.

  • akulbick 15 Dec, 2010

    I've been looking for a good caramel buttercream recipe that I could use to frost some salted caramel cupcakes that I make for a while and I had been avoiding this one as it seemed complicated, but I have yet to find one I really like so today I decided to give it a try. It was a pain. And it's really light in texture - it's definitely not right for cupcakes that's for sure. Will have to keep trying.

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