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Caramel Icing

My daughter was having a difficult time deciding what kind of cake she wanted for her birthday, so I suggested that she decide what type of icing or frosting she wanted first then we could figure out a cake that went with it. So, I started naming over all the frosting and icing types I had ever made.  She finally stopped me when I said caramel.  Of course she picked one that could be tricky…she is my daughter.

We decided to make a banana cake to go with the caramel icing.

caramel icing on banana cake

I knew that I did not want to make the recipe that started with burning white sugar, so I turned to a cookbook my maternal grandmother used, the 1940-something Watkins Cook Book.  Its recipe called for a mixture of brown and white granulated sugar, but not any confectioner’ s sugar.  It was just what I wanted:  easier and old fashioned.

I made a couple slight adjustments by adding more vanilla and using half-and-half instead of milk.   Otherwise, it is the Watkins recipe.

Recipe: Caramel Icing

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 c. granulated white sugar
  • 1 c. half-and-half or whole milk
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Instructions:

  1. Boil sugar and milk until it reaches soft ball on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla.
  2. Let cool until it reaches lukewarm, about 115 – 120 degrees.
  3. Beat until creamy.
  4. Spread over cake. Makes enough for average layer cake filling, top, and sides.
  5. If it cools too much before you have caked iced, add a few drops of milk and place back on heat if necessary.
  6. Warning: Will harden very quickly.

Copyright © 2014.
Recipe by Paula, A Simple Home Cook.

The recipe makes enough to fill and icing a cake on the top and sides.

I should warn you that this icing is very sweet. A thin layer is really all that you need. It is kind of like pouring/spreading penuche fudge over a cake. In fact, my daughter found the icing a little too sweet 🙂

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