I’ve recently made butter pecan cupcakes and cake with salted caramel icing for my bunko group and a church fundraiser. I’m now known in my church as, “Hey, aren’t you the one that made that caramel cake?”
We’re going to start off with the recipe for the salted caramel icing by making a caramel sauce.
Put 1 Cup of sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, whisking as it starts to melt. Sometimes my sugar will melt smoothly, sometimes it will form clumps. (I have an electric stovetop from 1989 that is completely unpredictable. Don’t be jealous.)
If it forms clumps, it’s OK. They will melt back down.
Once the sugar melts, it will turn a pretty amber color. Now, don’t let it turn brown. Because by then it will be burnt.
Once it reaches a light amber color (think the color of a camel or wooden spoon), stir in the butter. It will sizzle and bubble up, but just keep stirring!
Once the butter is melted, remove the pan from the heat and pour in the cream.
Stir until the caramel sauce is smooth and whisk in the kosher salt.
You’ll now need to let it cool…. and you will undoubtedly stick your finger in it to taste. Several times.
I don’t judge.
Now, you’re going to use 1/2 C of this sauce for the icing. But, you’ll have a little leftover also. You can use this sauce to drizzle over ice cream, to make caramel ice cream (my fave), dip apples in, or just your fingers!
I don’t judge.
So while our sauce is cooling, we’ll start on the cake.
Yes. Yes, I know. It’s from a box. (Hanging my head in shame). But, it’s really good and is always moist, OK? When I first made these cupcakes, I was short on time, and grabbed the mix from the store. Thumbs up for Betty Crocker!
(One day I may try to make a butter pecan cake from scratch, but not today.)
To keep the cake from sticking to your pans, you’ll want to line the bottom of them with wax paper. I measure out a circle from the pan to cut out and place in the bottom. You’ll spray the pan with PAM and then place your circle of wax paper on the bottom, and then spray it again.
Follow the directions on the box to mix the batter and stick the pans in the oven.
While the cakes are baking, start on the caramel icing.
In a stand mixer, put in 1 C of butter and 8oz of cream cheese, both at room temperature and beat until smooth (about 4-5 minutes).
Then you’ll add in 1/2 C of the caramel sauce and beat until creamy.
Turn the mixer down to the lowest setting and mix in 4 C of powdered sugar, a little at a time, until fully incorporated.
I made the mistake once of putting in the powdered sugar at too high a speed, and instead of turning the mixer down, I turned it up.
Sugar. Went. Everywhere.
Taste the icing. If it’s a tad too sweet, add 1/2 tsp of kosher salt and mix well. (I usually always do this.)
Once your cakes are done, let them completely cool on a wire rack.
Once your cakes have cooled, run a knife around the edge and then turn the cakes over to release them from the pan. The wax paper should peel right off.
Now it’s time to ice this cake! Spread some icing over the bottom layer and then drizzle on some of the extra caramel sauce before placing the other cake layer on top.
I didn’t use a piping bag for this cake. Just slathered on the icing, drizzled some of the extra caramel on top (place a little caramel in a ziploc bag and snip the corner of the bag to drizzle) and topped with toasted pecans.
Elegant, yet so easy.
These also make great cupcakes!
Recipe is below. Enjoy!
- 1 C sugar
- 6 Tbl unsalted butter, room temp.
- 1/2 C heavy cream
- 1.5 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 C salted caramel sauce
- 1 C unsalted butter, room temp.
- 8 oz. cream cheese, room temp.
- 4 C powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- Put the sugar in an even layer in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, whisking as it starts to melt. If your sugar starts to clumb, it's OK. The clumps will eventually melt back down.
- Once it reaches a light amber color (think the color of a camel or wooden spoon), stir in the butter until fully incorporated.
- Remove the pan from the heat and pour in the cream.
- Stir until the caramel sauce is smooth and whisk in the kosher salt.
- Transfer to a glass jar and let cool.
- In a stand mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth. (About 3-4 minutes)
- Pour in the salted caramel sauce and beat until creamy.
- Turn the mixer down to the lowest setting and mix in 4 C of powdered sugar, a little at a time, until fully incorporated.
- Sprinkle in a pinch of kosher salt and mix for at least another 30 seconds.
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