This is a Martha Stewart recipe. I wasn’t able to find any caramel buttercream recipes on cakecentral by searching, so figured I’d share this one as it is yummy!

I made some last night using home-made dulce de luche for the caramel. It was pale in colour, and the caramel flavour was subtle, it was really nice! It piped easily onto cupcakes, and crusted quite quickly. In the directions she mentions adding milk at two different points. I’m not sure what that’s all about, I just added the two tablespoons along with the other wet ingredients, and figured if I wanted a thinner icing I’d add more later at the second point she mentions it. However I liked the consistency so didn’t add any extra.

I’ve posted an extra photo of the cupcakes I used it on without their decoration in case anyone wants to see the colour they turned out using the (quite pale) dulce de luche:


  • 1/3 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup caramel ice cream topping
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 cups (approx. 1lb) icing/confectioner sugar sifted


  1. Cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add caramel, milk and vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.

Keep icing covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. For best results, keep icing bowl in refigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored for two weeks. Re-whip before using.

Yields 3 cups.


ainara1229 Says... 2010-09-30 04:29:40

Hi, you mentioned home made dulce de leche, do you mind sharing the receipe? I really like using homemade ingredients for my cakes. Thanks

zespri Says... 2010-09-30 11:39:27

Not at all, it's really easy!

The day after I posted this, I made it again with store bought dulce de leche, and it wouldn't crust...grr! I posted the question on here, and found out that to make buttercream crust, it's all down to the ratio of fat to sugar. More fat = less crusting. So I suspect the crusting success of this recipe came down to the store bought caramel having a higher fat content. If yours doesn't crust, add more sugar!

I thought this recipe must have gotten lost with all the site problems, as I posted it at least a month ago, but according to the date it was only two days ago...weird!

toni1218 Says... 2010-10-07 13:26:23

Hello, I am new to cake decorating and baking - I wanted to ask exactly what you mean by "crusting". I am going to guess you mean that the buttercream firms up bit. If I am using this for a filling in between a cake I suppose the crusting wouldn't matter, however maybe to dirty ice a cake maybe not so. If you could let me know I would appreciate it as I am making my daughters cake for her birthday and this filling sounds yummy!.

Thank you.

zespri Says... 2010-10-07 18:39:19

Hi Toni! When icing crusts, it means the outside gets a little hard, it sort of sets, but the icing inside is still soft. Like you were talking about 'dirty icing' a cake, I think that's the same as 'crumb coating'. If the icing sets, then the crumbs can't move, so crusting is good! But yeah, as a fill it won't matter, as it won't be 'crusty' all the way through the icing.

toni1218 Says... 2010-10-08 07:47:45

Thank you... the recipe does sound yummy!! Is is super sweet?

christeena Says... 2010-10-08 09:17:36

Made this for a caramel cake this week and while very yummy it is also very sweet. I added a bit of salt to try to cut the sweetness factor but it didn't help much. Still a yummy icing though!

zespri Says... 2010-10-11 12:15:22

christeena - I made it last night using caramel dessert topping, and it was VERY sweet, and I don't think all that nice. So I guess I will stick to dulce de leche from now on.

kdbohm Says... 2010-10-14 12:02:30

I made this for apple cupcakes and worked well together. I did add about a 1/4 t of salt to help. I didn't find this crusted though.

trixieleigh Says... 2010-10-19 15:01:07

Made this last week, and it was delicious! I used the homeade dulce de leche stuff, and used it in the recipe. Worked beautifully. Delicious on pumpkin cupcakes!

JoviMoon Says... 2010-10-27 21:44:48

Zespri ~ Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for posting this recipe. I saw it this i made it tonight. Wow! Perfect. It was delicious!! I used a can of Dulce de Leche, and I also used High Ratio Shortening...simply because it works best for buttercream icing. As far as crusting did crust....not as quickly as my usual buttercream. But of course adding more pwdr sugar help. Overall great Thank you very much!!

zespri Says... 2010-10-28 19:22:49

Thanks guys, I'm chuffed you liked it too! And good to hear the crusting stories, it seems like an elusive quality sometimes.

Sweetcakester Says... 2010-11-02 17:56:04

Does this need to be refrigerated?

sweetmonkeycheese Says... 2010-11-10 06:28:08

Love the taste!!! OMG I loved the taste of this. It was not very fluffy, it felt more like how store bought icing from a can feels, thick and heavy. I did have to use more powered sugar as I did use the ice cream topper. For me I like it more as a filling, I had a hard time spreading it on the cake, it seemed to want to stick to itself more than on the cake and I did not make enough to tort, crumb coat and then final coat the cake (2 8in rounds),. But it was only a home cake for us to enjoy at night, so I did not care. I did not bother to wait around for it to crust, but I think w/ the amount of PS I added, it would have gotten there. I paired it w/ a triple chocolate cake wh/ for me was a mistake, I love the taste of this icing so much that it really needs to be the star and it was over powered by the cake. I was actually sad that I did not have any left over once I had tried a piece of cake.. I loved the filling much more than the cake! I would totally make this again, but pair it w/ a mild cake and make much more so I could have enough to try to smooth it out.

Linda122 Says... 2010-11-19 07:31:42

Does anyone have a crusting BC icing that is not so sweet? I had a cupcake at a bakery and the icing was great. Too bad they wouldn't share their recipe.

thewiez Says... 2010-11-25 06:46:10

This icing melted off my cake.:(

Noura80 Says... 2011-02-22 00:06:29

hi, noobie here. I went over your recipe and few time and so the other's comment but I can't figure out where you've used the DDL recipe. Is it instead of the caramel ice cream topping?

zespri Says... 2011-02-28 13:25:04

yes, instead of the caramel icecream topping :) I really would do that, the batch I made with ice-cream topping was a bit yuck! Could have been my ice-cream topping though.

Ashley124 Says... 2011-09-04 14:14:05

I just made this, followed the recipe exactly and when it seemed way too thin I added a bit more powdered sugar. It didn't do anything and it's all just running off the cup cakes I made. :( I was totally hoping to pipe it on pretty too.

Teeker Says... 2011-12-09 18:51:00

I used this on a layered starbucks cake and the layers just slid right off of each other, even though I put it in the fridge several times while I was making it. I used dulce de leche and it was way to sweet.

zespri Says... 2011-12-09 19:33:51

odd how many people have not had good luck wtih this recipe. The only thing I'm wondering is if the people who had failures used Crisco. I've seen photos of it, it looks VERY soft. The vegetable shortening I get here in New Zealand is almost 100% pure coconut oil, just a bit of lecithin in it. It is very hard, not sloppy like Crisco. Maybe that's why?

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