Caramel made easy

A little birdy told me that our February Chocolate Caramel Cake was a bit of a hit. Boy oh boy was it popular. Cake orders came flying in and many of our regulars ordered additional cakes, not for a staff members birthday, but just because they had to have one. We had such a massive response to it that I thought I might share our caramel recipe for you all to enjoy.

Isn’t making caramel super hard?

Making perfect caramel can be hard to master as timing is everything. It is not something you can start and then walk away from. If you have little ones running about, trust me, now is not the time to be making caramel. Wait for when you have 10 minutes to concentrate and then go for it. As long as you follow the steps, it will come easily. There are only three ingredients, sugar, butter and cream, four, if you like your caramel salted. At Little Birdy Cakes, we look for recipes that are easy to follow, simple and can be replicated on a larger scale. This caramel ticks all those boxes.

What can I use my caramel for?

With salt or without salt, it is a king of the dessert world.

Caramel is super versatile and can be used in so many different ways, cakes, ice cream topper, pancakes etc. Check out this list of 50 Caramel Sauce Treats by Foodnetwork to give you some inspiration. The possibilities are endless. It keeps for about 2 weeks in the fridge and is great to make ahead for a special occasion or just to have on hand. With salt or without salt, it is a king of the dessert world.

Caramel can be made in two ways, with or without water. Caramel made with water can be easier to make as it is less likely to burn however I find some deep satisfaction with melting sugar and turning it into caramel. Also, it is quicker to make caramel with only sugar as you don’t need to evaporate the water. As long as you are willing to give it your full attention, about 10 minutes, caramel made without water is no harder.

How do I stop my caramel from burning?

Before starting, make sure you have all your ingredients measured and ready to go. The time between being ready for the butter and burning can be seconds. Have your butter and cream (and salt if using) within arms reach so you don’t have to stop stirring. First measure your sugar into your saucepan. Weigh out your butter into a small bowl and pour your cream into a measuring jug ready to go.

Make sure you use a heavy bottom saucepan. A thin based saucepan will burn your sugar as the heating will be uneven. We recommend you use a light coloured saucepan not a black based one so you can keep an eye on the colour of the sugar. Although the ingredients don’t seem like much, make sure your saucepan is at least a medium size as it will bubble up when the butter and cream are added. Use a heat proof spatula or wooden spoon for stirring. Do not use a metal spoon as it will heat up quickly and burn you and some say it will change the taste of the caramel.

Make sure you use a heavy bottom saucepan as a thin based saucepan will burn your sugar as the heating will be uneven.

Want to know how to be the caramel master?

First add your saucepan to a low heat on a stove top. Stir the sugar constantly so it doesn’t burn. As you stir, you will see the sugar start to melt. The sugar will form clumps, this is perfectly normal. Keep stirring and the sugar will eventually melt and become a beautiful amber colour.

Once the sugar has melted completely, add the butter. The mixture will bubble up so be extra careful. Stir until the butter has melted.

Slowly pour the cream into the caramel. The mixture will bubble again as the cold cream hits the hot caramel. Stir the caramel as you go.

Turn the temperature down and simmer the caramel for one minute and then remove from the hotplate.

If you want salted caramel now is the time to add your salt. Stir until dissolved.

Allow to cool completely before pouring on your cake.

How do I store my caramel?

We keep our caramel in a plastic container with a lid in the fridge. When we are ready to use it we heat it in the microwave for a few seconds until it is a runny consistency and pour it into a squeezy bottle for easy application to our cakes. You can use a funnel to pour it into the bottle if it makes it easier. Make sure the caramel is runny otherwise it might take a while for it to get through the funnel. You can also leave the caramel out of the fridge until it reaches room temperature at which point it will be easier to pour.

How long will the caramel keep?

The caramel will keep for about 2 weeks and is the perfect gift on it’s own. Pour it into a jar, tie it with a ribbon and give it to your bestie just because. 

We love to see what you are making. Post a picture of how you used your caramel sauce on instagram, tag us @littlebirdycakes and use the hashtag #littlebirdymakes.

 

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