Salty, sweet and delicious, Salted Caramel Frosting instantly elevates every dessert from basic to EPIC with the least amount of effort. Its so delicious – its hard to stop eating it out of the mixing bowl!
Salted Caramel Frosting
I stumbled on this frosting one weekend, when I had this overwhelming craving for one of those old fashioned, seriously decadent cakes that my mom bakes – you know the ones with loops and loops of frosting. It was the middle of quarantine so the only way that this was happening was if I made it myself.
Most recipes call for store bought caramel, but I had none at home and my goodness it was so hot, so I made the caramel part from scratch.. I was shocked at how easy it was to make.. and the frosting was quite frankly so much better.. To top it all off, the house smelled wonderful..
What you need for this delicious frosting..
You only need six ingredients for this recipe and you might just have everything you need in your pantry at home.
- Unsalted butter – I like using unsalted butter because I like to control the amount of salt in the frosting. If you use salted butter, you will most likely not need to add any additional salt.
- Dark brown sugar – Both dark and light brown sugar work – I really like the more intense taste of dark brown sugar.
- Evaporated milk – I like how the taste of evaporated milk pairs with caramel – however the recipe works with any kind of milk you might have on hand – from almond to skim, half and half and even heavy cream.
- Sea Salt – The sea salt ingredient for this recipe is the best part – it needs to be coarse and ground. You cannot substitute the sea salt with table salt. The sea salt is gently folded into the frosting and melts in small clumps. As a result when you eat the frosting you get these random explosions of delicious saltiness which is what differentiates salted caramel from caramel.
How to make Salted Caramel Frosting
Salted caramel frosting is surprisingly easy to make – you basically make the caramel, with a few basic ingredients and then whip in the sugar. As a finishing touch, fold in a pinch of sea salt.
- Place the butter, table salt, evaporated milk and brown sugar in a small pot on low heat. Stir the mixture and cook until all the brown sugar dissolves.
- Raise the heat to medium. Do not stir. Cook for about 3-4 minutes until a bubbly froth forms in the center and covers about half of the pot and the mixture turns amber. Do not overcook or the caramel will turn bitter. The mixture will look somewhat grainy and separated. Pour directly into a mixing bowl to cool to room temperature.
- As the mixture cools it does look rather unappetizing – however once you stir it – it looks like caramel. Add the powdered sugar gradually about a half cup at a time. Whisk on high till fluffy. If the mixture looks too thick – add a little evaporated milk. Taste the frosting for salt – be careful here because the addition of the sea salt in the next step, will also add a layer of saltiness. Sprinkle with sea salt and fold into the frosting. Try not to mix too vigorously at this stage because you don’t want to break up and dissolve the the sea salt. It takes about 10 minutes for the sea salt to take effect so you won’t get the full effect of the salted caramel immediately.
- . You are now ready to layer and decorate!
How much frosting do you need?
The amount of course, depends on how you intend to use it. I have used it to cover a a two layer 8″ cake and also a cover and decorate a 9″ bundt cake. The recipe should work for a 9″x13″ sheet cake.
If you like to generously swirl frosting on your cupcakes (I love that!), you can frost about 12. If you use a knife to apply the frosting you could probably frost 24 cupcakes.
How to use it..
The best way to eat this addictive frosting is by itself, very slowly with a spatula ..directly from the mixing bowl. However, all kidding aside, it’s awesome on cakes, brownies, cupcakes and cookies.
In addition to classic chocolate, the frosting pairs unusually well with gingerbread and carrot cake. You can also get quite creative with it – one night we mixed it up with popcorn…omg..
Watch how to make it..
Salted Caramel Frosting
- 8 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp table salt optional
- 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
- 3 tbsp evaporated milk divided
- 1/2 tsp sea salt sprinkling
- Place the butter, table salt, brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of evaporated milk in a small pot on low heat. Stir while warming to make sure that all the brown sugar dissolves.
- Raise the heat to medium and do not stir. Cook for about 3-4 minutes until a bubbly froth forms in the center or the mixture turns amber. Pour into a mixing bowl to cool to room temperature.
- Beat the mixture with the whisk attachment on low for about a minute. Add the powdered sugar gradually about a half cup at a time. Whisk till smooth. If the mixture looks too thick - add a up to a tablespoon of evaporated milk and whisk again. sprinkle the sea salt and fold into the frosting
- Consistency - If the butter melts and the frosting looks too runny, put it in the fridge for about 15 minutes, then re-whip. If the frosting is too firm, add a little more milk.
- Balance the sweetness - I think the sweetness of this frosting is just right but if you feel that it is too sweet, add a teaspoon of vanilla to balance it out.
- Make ahead/storage - The frosting freezes beautifully and will store for up to 2 months. You can make it ahead and keep it for about a week in the refrigerator. To use, bring it to room temperature and re-whip to desired fluffiness.
- Best served at room temperature - cold frosting is firm and not as creamy.