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Caramel Buttercream for Banana Cupcakes


Pair this rich frosting with our Banana Cupcakes.

  • Yield: Makes about 4 cups
banana cupcakes with caramel buttercream

Photography: Con Poulos

Source: Martha Stewart Living, February 2009


  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 12 ounces (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Bring 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar and the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Wash sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Cook, undisturbed, until caramel is dark amber. Remove from heat, and slowly add cream, stirring with a wooden spoon until smooth. Let cool.

  2. Beat butter with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.

  3. Place whites and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a heatproof mixer bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Whisk until sugar dissolves and mixture registers 160 degrees on a candy thermometer.

  4. Remove from heat, and attach bowl to a mixer. Whisk on medium speed for 5 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high, and whisk until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 6 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, and add beaten butter, cup at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in vanilla.

  5. Switch to paddle attachment. With mixer on low speed, add caramel, and beat until smooth, 3 to 5 minutes.


On "Martha Bakes," Martha used 1/3 cup heavy cream in this recipe, and added 1/4 teaspoon salt at the same time as the vanilla.

Reviews Add a comment

  • socalmomma
    23 JUN, 2012
    This recipe was way too buttery for me. I could barely taste the caramel. Disappointed I wasted all those ingredients.
  • alswink
    10 MAR, 2012
    Is it okay to leave this out a few hours?
  • Ana23
    15 MAR, 2011
    I just made this frosting and it came out runny. Did anyone have this problem?
  • cat1992
    5 FEB, 2011
    This frosting is delicious! I made the caramel and it had crystals so I tried again and it worked out great -- I think the trick is not stirring it at all, just let it cook.
  • pudgystummy
    18 FEB, 2010
    SO Yummy! The recipe from the Martha Stewart Cupcakes book is a bit different and I didn't have any trouble...going from memory...Step 1 said to swirl once and a while; Step 3 didn't require a candy thermometer, instead whisk until mixture is smooth when rubbed between fingers (sugar is melted); Step 4 said to add butter 1/4 cups at a time. I know my post is close to a year off, but hope this helps.
  • TrellisSmith
    29 MAY, 2009
    I didn't add the entire caramel mixture. I thought it would have made the frosting to runny. However, my egg whites didn't produce as much volume as I expected.
  • MS10878065
    13 APR, 2009
    Vivianita the other 1/2 cup sugar goes into part #3. Hope this helps you.
  • mzdwells
    2 MAR, 2009
    I had the same problem so I reheated the carmel and added it hot to the butter mixture, but it still hardened as soon as it left the pot. I am not sure how this is supposed to work...
  • luv2bake326
    4 FEB, 2009
    1/2 c 2 tbls is for the caramel and the remaining 1/2 c is for the egg whites. I made this recipe last night and would suggest not making caramel first. It hardens if it cools too much before mixing it into the buttercream. End result = caramel pieces in the buttercream rather than caramel buttercream. Still delicious though!
  • Vivianita
    3 FEB, 2009
    Hi.... I was wondering if the recipe calls for 1/2 a cup sugar or 1 cup sugar? In the ingredients it says 1 cup plus 2 tbs. In the directions it says 1/2 cup plus 2 tbs. Can someone please tell me which one is the correct.... Thanks!