Caramel Buttercream

Easy to make delicious caramel buttercream in just a few minutes. Perfect for topping cupcakes, layer cakes or special celebration cakes. 

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A close up of a caramel cupcake topped with a swirl of caramel buttercream with more cupcakes in the background.Happy New Year! Welcome to my first recipe post of 2017 (although I did share Josh’s cars and lorries birthday cake in my gallery a few days ago).

Everywhere I look so far this year I’m seeing super healthy recipes for all those people who’ve made resolutions to eat a bit better this year (including me, although you wouldn’t know it from this!). I’m staging a little rebellion on here and sharing my caramel buttercream recipe because…

  1. I love this buttercream and I wanted to share it with you.
  2. If you’re anything like me then you won’t be able to stick to completely healthy resolutions. I’ve actually been really good so far this year but I’m the sort of person that needs to have the occasional treat. I’d seriously recommend this buttercream on top of your favourite cupcakes if you’re in need of one.

A cooling rack full of caramel cupcakes and a piping bag full of caramel buttercream ready for icing.I have actually shared this recipe before as the topping of my millionaires’ cupcakes (chocolate cupcakes with a hidden caramel and shortbread centre, topped with caramel buttercream and sprinkled with a little extra shortbread). However, I decided that it deserved a post in its own right so that it’s really easy for you all to find when you need it.

A swirl of caramel buttercream being piped onto a caramel cupcake.

5 from 2 votes

Caramel Buttercream

Easy to make delicious caramel buttercream in just a few minutes. Perfect for topping cupcakes, layer cakes or special celebration cakes. 

Active Time 3 minutes
Total Time 3 minutes
Servings 9 servings
Calories 313 kcal


  • 150 g butter soft at room temperature
  • 150 g icing sugar
  • 150 g caramel sauce you can use ready made or make your own using my recipe – you’ll need 1 batch.


  1. Cut the butter (150g) into cubes and then beat it (by hand or with an electric mixer on a low speed) until soft.
  2. Beat in the icing sugar (150g) (I do this a tablespoon at a time to avoid it flying everywhere and covering my kitchen).
  3. Once the butter and icing sugar are fully combined, beat in the caramel sauce (150g).

Recipe Notes

This recipe makes enough icing for 9 cupcakes (decorated as in the pictures) or to cover and fill a 7″ (17.5cm) round layer cake.

You can find the recipe for the caramel cupcakes hiding under the caramel buttercream here. If you fancy using a different flavour of cupcake you can find all of my recipes in my cupcake index.

A few extra notes for buttercream success...

  • If you’re making your own caramel sauce to use in this recipe then make it in advance and leave it in the fridge to cool completely before using it for your buttercream.
  • Make sure your butter is soft (but not melted) before you start. I take mine out of the fridge a couple of hours before I want to make buttercream or I find that my buttercream can end up a little bit lumpy.
  • If you want your buttercream really smooth then make sure you keep your mixer on a low speed. It’s tempting to turn the speed up to get it made quicker, but I find that this adds little air bubbles. If your buttercream starts to get a little soft then pop it into the fridge for 10-15 minutes to firm up a little before using it.
Nutrition Facts
Caramel Buttercream
Amount Per Serving
Calories 313 Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 31%
Saturated Fat 13g 65%
Cholesterol 57mg 19%
Sodium 158mg 7%
Potassium 13mg 0%
Total Carbohydrates 33g 11%
Sugars 32g
Vitamin A 12.9%
Calcium 1.1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Looking down on a piping bag full of caramel buttercream surrounded by caramel cupcakes.

How to make salted caramel buttercream

If you’re a fan of salted caramel then this buttercream can be easily adapted by simply mixing in a little ground rock salt. I find that everyone I meet likes a different level of salt (as I didn’t each much when I was little I notice if only a small amount is added). To get it just right I’d suggest adding a few twists at a time, beating it in to make sure it’s evenly distributed, have a little taste and add some more if you think it’s needed.

If you’re piping the buttercream you should be fine with a large nozzle, but may have trouble with the salt crystals causing blockages in a smaller nozzle.

Six caramel cupcakes topped with caramel buttercream no a wooden board with cake forks.

Free From/Suitable For…

  • Suitable for Vegetarians
  • Corn-Free
  • Egg-Free
  • Gluten-Free
  • Nut-Free
  • Soy-Free

The ingredients for this recipe are commonly available free from all these allergens. However, please ensure you double-check allergen information for all ingredients.

Easy to make delicious caramel buttercream in just a few minutes. Perfect for topping cupcakes, layer cakes or special celebration cakes.

I’m sharing this with the following blog challenge… #CookBlogShare with Sneaky Veg.



  1. This buttercream is addictive, once you start eating it you just can’t stop. I used your coffee cupcake recipe and the combination were divine.

  2. Wow! I saw this when I made your vanilla buttercream the other day and thought I had to give it a go. It tastes so good…going to work my way through all your buttercreams…

  3. Hi Charlotte,

    I am planning to make this for the weekend. Can i make the caramel sauce and buttercream in advance and then combine both a day before using it on my cake ? or is it better to refrigerate mixed together till I need it ?

    I will use it with cake, so filling and covering the cake.

    Thank you 🙂

    • You can definitely make the caramel in advance, just store it in the fridge until you want to use it. You’ll find it will become firmer in the fridge so make sure you remove it for a while before you want to use it to allow it to soften at room temperature. Once you’ve got the caramel sauce made it only takes a few minutes to make the buttercream (assuming you’ve taken you caramel and butter out of the fridge in advance) so personally I think it would be best to make this just before decorating.

  4. Hi,
    Would you be able to tell me what the cup yield is on this recipe?
    Thank you

  5. I am making a Blackberry Jam cake for Thanksgiving and it’s a family recipe and my family has always used a caramel icing, but the icing hardens very quickly and I always used a butter knife and hot water to spread it on the cake, it is also too rich and sweet. But it never works out and I need an icing that is softer and creamy. Since this is your recipe, I was wondering if I could get your opinion, if this caramel icing would be perfect for my jam cake?

    • It should be. I’ve always found mine stays nice and soft while I’m piping/decorating. It will set a little over time and will harden if put into the fridge but should be absolutely fine while you’re decorating. My icing is quite sweet as you’d expect with caramel but it also has a slightly bitter flavour (from the heated sugar) which offsets the sweetness well.

  6. What kind of caramel sauce do you use?. I was going to use carnation caramel but I have read your previous comments and now don’t know what to use

  7. Hi Charlotte, this recipe looks amazing and I’ve already bought all the ingredients to do it today! One thing I did notice though is that in the pictures of the cupcakes with the buttercream on top, the swirl of icing looked INCREDIBLE!! Any chance I could know what piping tip you used? Maybe even email me a picture? Thank you so so much! xxx

  8. Hi would using a tin of Carnation Caramel be fine to use in this recipe?

    • I’ve not tried it but I suspect it might make the buttercream too soft as it’s runnier than the caramel sauce I use.

  9. I use caramel apple dip, it’s nice and thick.

    • Will you please but your recipe for the caramel frosting on line…and can you use this on a cake for frosting using the caramel apple dip?

  10. Durr-e-shahwar

    Lovely yummm gonna try this for my son..

  11. Marquita B Ortiz

    My Home Ec Instructor claims 1/2 to 1/2 of butter to shortening makes it stand up better!! I tried it… It works!! Try it!!

  12. Beautiful what tip did you use?

  13. Rosanna Thomas

    Does this buttercream firm up? Is it fine to use under fondant?

    • Charlotte Oates

      It’s not quite as firm as regular vanilla buttercream but I’d happily use it under fondant.

  14. Great recipe … really easy and the frosting was delicious. Thank you for sharing

  15. What’s the best butter to use for frosting thanks in advance

  16. I have made this today and it tasted devine! Although the butter cream didnt look as smooth as yours but instead mine looked a little bitty. Even though I kept the wisk at the lowest speed.

    But still excellent! Im adding this to my recipes book

  17. Mmmmm yummy! These cupcakes with the caramel buttercream sound delicious, I love anything caramel based. Thank you for sharing with #CookBlogShare x

    • I’ve just published the recipe for the caramel cupcakes hidden underneath that buttercream, I suspect you’ll like the look of those too 🙂

  18. This sounds really delicious especially the salted caramel version. I love your piping too, that’s definitely something I need to work on. Thanks for linking up with #CookBlogShare

  19. Staging a rebellion is good! Can’t think of a better way to start a new year than caramel buttercream (with or without salt). Yum….. and all the best for 2017! x

  20. Oooo this looks amazing. I’m pregnant so my real healthy eating starts in march and, having not drank for so long, I think I deserve some caramel butter cream don’t you? 😉

    • Absolutely. I think the baby will appreciate it too 🙂

      • Love the recipe for the caramel buttercream. I really need to try it out.
        Just need to try and get hold of the ingredients out here, in the Middle East
        I have subscribed with you too.
        Thank you Charlotte

        • Are there any ingredients you’re particularly struggling to get hold of? If you let me know I may be able to suggest some alternatives.

  21. I can’t get to the shops quick enough to try this!!! I absolutely adore salted caramel buttercream!

    Do you use standard unsalted butter? What about Stalk – should I steer clear of this? I do so little baking, I’m not even sure what the difference is really!

    • Yep, just standard unsalted butter at room temperature. Personally I don’t use stork for buttercream (although I do in cake) as it’s very soft so the buttercream can end up a bit too loose and won’t hold its shape as well, and most importantly I much prefer the favour of real butter for buttercream – there’s nothing I’ve found yet the can match it.

    • Can you post this using non-metric measuremants or do you have a conversion chart?

      • I don’t have a conversion chart at the moment but I am working on one as I’ve had a few requests. Hopefully it’ll be ready soon.

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