I remember how skeptical I felt before trying salted caramel for the first time. I’ve always preferred sweet over salty, so I doubted I’d like a dessert with “salt” in the name. Oh, salted caramel, how you proved me wrong! The salty, brown sugary sweetness is perfection. When I took my first bite of that salted caramel cake my only question was, “where has this been all my life?”
Salted caramel pairs well with so many flavors: chocolate, vanilla, champagne. I actually haven’t found a salted caramel combination that I don’t like yet! (But there are many left to try.) That’s why I chose salted caramel as my first stand-alone frosting recipe. I’ll link to other recipes that you might like salted caramel frosting with as I add them to my blog. (Why not start with these salted caramel cupcakes or funfetti cupcakes?)
Let me start by explaining why I use a combination of butter and Crisco in my frosting recipes. (I use these Crisco baking sticks.) I grew up on shortening-based frostings (that’s what my mom always used), so I like the taste of them. When I began experimenting with buttercream I loved the taste, but I didn’t like the off-white color. I also found that it melted more easily. Combining butter and Crisco proved the best of both worlds. It’s still not as pure white as a shortening-based version, but it is whiter. It also holds its shape, which is important when you’re piping flowers or anything else. And most importantly, it’s deliciously creamy!
The first step is combining the brown sugar, heavy cream, butter and Crisco in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Make sure to use salted butter.
Stir constantly until the sugar, butter and Crisco are completely dissolved.
Keep stirring until the mixture just begins to boil. As soon as the bubbles get big, remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture into a heatproof bowl. The dissolving/heating process takes about 10-15 minutes.
Let this cool for an hour. About 30 minutes in I pour the mixture into a different heatproof mixing bowl, which speeds the cooling process along (since the original bowl is now warm).
While the brown sugar is cooling, sift the powdered sugar and salt. I don’t always use sifted sugar in frosting, but you’ll want it here for a smoother consistency. If you don’t have a sifter (like this one) use a mesh colander.
Once the brown sugar reaches room temperature, slowly mix in the powdered sugar on low speed. Add in one tablespoon of whole milk and the vanilla after you’ve mixed in two cups of sugar. Add the remaining sugar and another tablespoon of milk. Mix on high speed until light and fluffy. You might need to add up an additional tablespoon of milk. But start with one teaspoon at a time. My frosting is perfect with a total of two tablespoons and two teaspoons of milk.
Tag me @rosesandwhiskers on Instagram if you try it and use the hashtag #rosesandwhiskers. Let me know if you have any questions! Happy baking. 🙂
Salted Caramel Frosting
- 1/2 cup salted butter
- 1/4 cup Crisco
- 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar sifted
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2-3 tbsp whole milk
- Combine the butter, Crisco, brown sugar and heavy cream in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Stir constantly until the sugar, butter and Crisco are completely dissolved and the mixture just begins to boil.
- Remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture into a heatproof bowl. Let cool to room temperature, about an hour.
- Sift the powdered sugar and salt while the brown sugar mixture is cooling. Then slowly mix it into the brown sugar on low speed. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar, followed by 1 tablespoon of milk and the vanilla. Add the remaining sugar and 1 more tablespoon of milk. Mix on high speed until light and fluffy. Add another tablespoon of milk if needed, but do so 1 teaspoon at a time. For me, the perfect consistency is 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons of milk.
- Yields enough frosting for 12-15 cupcakes, depending on your piping style. Enjoy!