How to Make Salted Caramel Buttercream (& Assemble Your Honeycrisp Apple Cake)

Happy Thanksgiving eve, friends!

Here's the last element to pull together my Honeycrisp Apple Cake: Salted Caramel Buttercream. For almost all of my wedding cakes, I use a Swiss Meringue Buttercream. I prefer it in texture and flavor to fondant and other frostings, and unlike other buttercreams, it isn't cloyingly sweet. Instead, it offers a beautiful foundation for infusing flavor or natural color, and once you've made it a few times, you'll see that it's super easy to prep.

 photo by Rebecca Gosselin

photo by Rebecca Gosselin

Beside that addictive salty-sweet flavor, Salted Caramel gives this frosting a warm, earthy hue. Perfect for autumn holiday cakes, am I right?

SALTED CARAMEL BUTTERCREAM

how to make salted caramel buttercream
  • 10 large organic egg whites

  • 2 #'s organic, unsalted butter, softened

  • 2 cups organic sugar

  • 3-4 tablespoons salted caramel

METHOD:

  1. In a medium, heat-safe metal bowl, combine egg whites and sugar over a pot of simmering water.
  2. Heat sugar and egg white mixture until sugar is completely dissolved and mixture reaches 160 degrees F on a candy thermometer, and then remove bowl from heat.
  3. To remove any bits of cooked egg white, pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve into the bowl of an electric mixer.
  4. Once cooled, using the whisk attachment of your electric mixer or electric beaters, beat the meringue mixture until you have stiff, shiny peaks.
  5. Next, add butter, a few tablespoons at a time until completely incorporated and smooth.
  6. Add salted caramel, a few tablespoons at a time, until desired color and flavor are achieved.
  7. Finally, switch to a paddle attachment and beat buttercream for a minute on medium speed to work out air bubbles for the smoothest consistency.

salted caramel sauce

Now that you've got all of the ingredients prepped (and hopefully have a new appreciation for the time and energy involved in a baker's process:), here is how to achieve the look with a full list of tools and resources at the very bottom.

PREP

  1. Using a cake leveler, remove top crumb layer of each cake to get three nice, even cakes
  2. Fill one piping bag (using your favorite 1/2" piping tip) with 12 ounces of Candy Capy cream cheese frosting
  3. Fill a second piping bag with salted caramel buttercream 
  4. Reheat caramel sauce in microwave for 30 seconds and then pour into a squeeze bottle for easy drizzling

ASSEMBLY

Tonewood Maple Sugar Cube - bakers gourmet sugar
  1. Using a cake turn-table, place cake board on top with a dollop of buttercream (which acts as glue for cake).
  2. Place first layer of cake, centered on cake board, and pipe buttercream around top edge of cake to create a well to trap fillings inside. 
  3. Next, fill inside of well first with salted caramel, then with cream cheese frosting.
  4. Pop cake in fridge for a few minutes to chill buttercream and then repeat step 3 with next cake layer.
  5. Then add top layer of cake and pipe buttercream around circumference and over top, smoothing with an offset spatula to completely cover cake.
  6. To achieve semi-naked cake look, use an Icing Comb and slowly rotate cake on turn-table to remove excess buttercream and reveal cake layers inside.
  7. Chill in fridge for 10 minutes and finish with a drizzle of salted caramel, fresh apples and Tonewood Maple sugar. 
Honeycrisp Apple cake with Maple Sugar and Candy Cap Cream Cheese Frosting_photo by Rebecca Gosselin

 

RECIPE RESOURCES + TOOLS