This caramel sauce recipe comes together easily and is incredibly versatile. Drizzle it over cake layers, brownies, ice cream, a spoon that goes directly into your mouth…
The photo above captures the caramel cooking on the stove right before I added the cream, butter, and other ingredients. Letting your sugar cook to a deep amber will give your caramel a richer, more complex flavor.
Projects that Use This Recipe
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Caramel Sauce Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- pinch cream of tartar
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 vanilla bean (split and seeded), or 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 ounces unsalted butter, cubed
- In a medium sauce pan, combine the sugar, water, and cream of tartar. If you're using a vanilla bean, add it at this point. Cook over medium-high heat without stirring until dark amber in color, 10-15 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and wait until the caramel stops bubbling. Carefully whisk in the heavy cream. The caramel will sputter and release steam as the cold cream is added, so don't add the cream with your face directly above the pan.
- Whisk in the salt and butter until combined. If using vanilla extract, add it now. If you used a vanilla bean, fish out the pod with a fork or pair of tongs and discard.
- Allow the caramel to cool completely before using as a cake filling or to flavor buttercream. Warm caramel can be used right away as a sauce.
- Pour the caramel into an airtight heatproof container and store it in the fridge for up to a week. Press plastic wrap directly against the surface of the caramel before putting the lid on the container to prevent it from forming a skin and absorbing fridge odors.
- To use as a cake filling, spread a thin layer of caramel onto a layer of cake. To fill with a thicker layer of caramel, first pipe a dam of buttercream around the edges of the cake ayer to prevent the caramel from seeping out.