THE Best Caramel Buttercream EVER – {Recipe}

Caramel ButtercreamA few things you should know about me by now… I love to cook but I cook by jazz… meaning, I don’t actually follow recipes when I cook. I use them as a reference but then it’s a pinch of this and a touch of that and magic happens.

The same can not be said about when I bake though. Baking is a science. Following instructions to a “T” to make sure that the chemical reactions we are looking for actually happen. And yes, I *may* have learned this the hard way once upon a time.

Something else seemingly random but nonetheless important to mention – I HATE Powdered Sugar. HATE. When a frosting recipe calls for powdered sugar, I can feel my gag reflex pop up. I can’t taste anything in those except for the cornstarchy sweetness.

And I have a MASSIVE sweet tooth so to say something is too sweet for me? yeah, seems to be a bit of a misnomer. And yet.

Many moons ago I discovered the option to make frosting with regular sugar. It’s the type of recipe that uses a slurry of flour and milk for the substance and while acceptable (and tastes much like the filling of an oreo cookie – YUM) it still left me with a fatty film in my mouth after more than a bite or two… So I’ve been searching for another way…

And then I discovered Italian Buttercream. It sounded complicated. I feared disaster. But was bit by the baking bug and decided why the heck not? That and Mini-me needed a reward for all the manual labor and he LOVES to help me bake. Ok, in all fairness, while he DOES love to help in the kitchen, I think it’s more because he loves the tasting part… but I digress.

So exactly IS Italian buttercream you ask? It is night and day compared to what I’ve always known as American Buttercream that’s for sure… it’s light and airy and sweet without being TOO SWEET and melts on your tongue without leaving a fatty film. It is satiny and silky and lucious… and according to one of my taste testing friends, “tastes like ice cream that’s not cold.”

Added bonus? It pipes better than ANY of the other icing recipes I’ve ever tried.

Now apparently there are a SLEW of various buttercream methods out there… and if you really want to learn about the different kinds, check out the Battle of the Buttercreams over at The Tough Cookie. She not only made all the different varieties, but she highlights the pros and cons of each and honestly, I spent WAY too much time reviewing the ups and downs of each.

But as I read the basic recipes, I thought to myself, “Self, wouldn’t a CARAMEL Buttercream be divine?” and the answer is yes. Yes it is.

I’ll share a post on how I made the cupcakes that I put this delectable confectionery miracle on in another post so stay tuned for that but since I had so many asking for the frosting recipe, I shall share that first.

A few tips on making Italian Buttercream though –

  • This recipe uses egg whites. Some people are weird about that. Since I get my eggs from the back yard, I’ve never been one to be weird about it but if you are, no reason why you couldn’t use pasteurized egg whites from the store.
  • At one point in the process, I was looking into the mixing bowl and saw a soupy scrambled-egg white looking mess. KEEP MIXING. It WILL come together.
  • The recipe below SHOULD make enough frosting to ice an 8″ double layer cake and then still have some left over… I used it to frost two dozen cupcakes and had about 1/2 a cup left over but that could be because of all the tasting… that Mini-me did. Yep – totally blaming him.


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  1. Mmmm, sounds fab! Alas, my cheapo hand mixer probably isn’t up to the task of whisking egg whites. It had hell making American buttercream last week, chugging along and trying to overheat. I’ll keep this (just pinned it) for when I graduate to a stand mixer. Oh, a girl can dream!

  2. Looks yummy!! I’ve never had caramel frosting!

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