This Caramel Sauce Recipe is easy peasy. There is no melting of sugar and no fear of sugar crystallising. There are just 3 simple ingredients in a saucepan that needs a bit of stirring.
I first started using this recipe when I was making Millionaire Shortbread. Between shortbread and chocolate, it sets to a delicious gooey caramel layer. Which then got me thinking, how would it work as a cake filling. Well, believe me, it's perfect.
Because this easy Caramel Sauce recipe sets when cool, it doesn't slip and slide between your cake layers. It is stable at room temperature which it makes a great caramel filling that will allow other cake layers to comfortably sit on top.
It does, however, have an amazing caramel flavour, and I have even added big dollops of it to buttercream in the past to make caramel frosting.
I have also used the sauce as drips, on cakes, drizzled over the top of buttercream on cupcakes and as a filling in a Brownie Yule Log. It's also great for filling cupcakes.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Quite often Caramel Sauce can be quite a tricky thing to master. It can crystallise or burn at a moments notice and for no apparent reason at all. Melting the sugar is usually the most problematic part of the recipe.
This Caramel recipe uses just 3 ingredients and none of them are sugar. It’s a super easy recipe because you don’t have to melt any sugar, you don’t have to get out a sugar or candy thermometer and there is no feat of it burning.
Instead it uses Condensed Milk, Golden Syrup and Butter. All the ingredients are put into a heavy bottom saucepan and melted together.
It may take a little time to get the right colour and consistency, so don’t think this is a quick caramel to knock up. But what it takes in time it gives back in ease.
Ingredients for Caramel Sauce for Cake Fillings
I use Sweetened Condensed Milk. This recipe will be for one can (397gms), however it can be scaled up and down to suit your needs.
This recipe will also work with Vegan Condensed Milk.
Golden Syrup is an ingredient easily found in UK supermarkets. I buy the squeezy bottles, rather than the can, as it’s easier to handle and weigh out.
If you are in the USA I would recommend Light Corn Syrup.
For best results use block butter as the fat to moisture ratio is best. A spread or spreadable butter will have too much moisture and won’t set so well. I always use unsalted butter, and add salt to taste for salted caramel.
You can use a dairy free block butter such as Unsalted Flora B+tter.
If I am making salted caramel, I find it best to use a coarse salt or kosher salt. Coarse salt will give a nice flavour with slightly less sodium.
Technique for making Caramel Sauce for Cake Fillings
Weigh all the ingredients into a heavy bottomed saucepan.
On a medium heat allow the ingredients to melt together. Stir occasionally until the butter has all melted.
On a low heat and stirring constantly allow to bubble for 10 to 15 minutes until it turns a deep amber colour.
You may experience little brown flecks in the caramel. This is where the sugars have burnt a little on the bottom of the pan. If you have just a few little flecks these will disappear as the caramel sets. If you are seeing larger brown flecks make sure you are stirring constantly.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
WARNING: Do not try the caramel sauce whilst it is bubbling and boiling. It is extremely hot and will burn your mouth!
How to use this Easy Caramel Sauce
This easy Caramel Sauce can be used in so many ways.
Firstly, use it between your cake layers. Because of the sugar and butter content it will set at room temperature and is a great cake filling.
Use it in your buttercream. Mix through the cooled Caramel Sauce into your standard buttercream for a great caramel buttercream frosting.
Warm it slightly in the microwave, until it is a pouring consistency and use it as a sauce. It’s the perfect topping over ice cream sundaes or on warm sponge puddings. Or use it slightly warm as a dipping sauce for cookies and brownies.
Add a touch of salt for homemade salted caramel sauce.
FAQs for Easy Caramel Sauce for Cake Fillings
Put into an airtight container. It will keep at room temperature for a 3 to 4 days, or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Use as filling in chocolate cake for chocolate caramel cake. Or pair with vanilla cake or Biscoff cake for a nice caramel flavour.
Or you can bake a classic caramel cake by baking a vanilla cake but use light brown sugar instead of white sugar. Add some of the caramel sauce to your buttercream and then add the rest as a filling.
No, it won’t set like toffee. However it will solidify slightly to be stable at room temperature inside a cake.
It will go a deep amber colour. Keep watching for the colour to change from a light beige to a lovely caramel tone.
Yes, make sure your cake is well chilled. Warm the caramel sauce very slightly so it’s runny. Drip the sauce on the chilled cake. The cold of the cake will set the caramel on the side of the cake.
Keep stirring it when you are boiling it. Allowing it to settle on the bottom of the pan whilst heating will let the sugars burn.
Yes, mix in coarse salt or kosha salt to taste.
No, because it doesn’t harden to a hard crack this sauce is not suitable for Candy Apples.
If using as a filling in layer cakes, I would recommend using a buttercream dam. To do this smooth a thin layer of buttercream on the bottom cake, and then pipe a ring (or dam) around the outer edge. Then fill the dam with the caramel. Place the next cake layer on top ensuring the buttercream dam and the cake layers are touching. This way the buttercream with set and ensure nothing leaks from the filling.
Caramel Sauce Recipe for Cake Fillings
- 1 Heavy Bottom Saucepan
- 150 gms Real Block Butter
- 397 gms Condensed Milk 1 can
- 100 gms Golden Syrup or Corn Syrup
- Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and heat on medium
- Allow to slowly come to the boil, stirring continuously
- Continue to simmer and stir until it turns a dark golden caramel colour. This can take up to 15 minutes
- Don't worry if you start to see small burnt bits floating in the caramel. Once the caramel cools these burnt bits will disappear. Larger burnt bits, from lack of stirring, however, may not go away so easily, so make sure you stir continuously
- Once its reached the colour you need it to, remove from the heat and pour into a heat proof bowl or jug and allow to cool.