Whipped Chocolate Caramel Ganache

October 20, 2013
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes enough frosting to fill and frost a 9-inch cake
Author Notes

I actually discovered that if you whisk or whip ganache it turns into a fluffy spreadable concoction. I like using this because it's not too sweet, easy to spread and decorate with. The chocolate caramel gives this ganache a buttery deeply delicious flavor. This icing is light, much lighter than a standard American buttercream, closer to the consistency of a swiss meringue buttercream but without the eggs. I like to use both dark and milk chocolate but you can can use all dark or even all milk. If you use all dark it will be less sweet. —sdebrango

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Sdebrango is a cookbook collector, Brooklynite, and long-time Food52-er.
WHAT: Forget the cake -- this is a frosting good enough to eat straight off a spoon.
HOW: Make a caramel, then a ganache, then let the two of them be one.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Under normal circumstances, we're not terribly inclined to mess with a great chocolate ganache. Now? We know that caramel is the only way to make a good thing even better. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • Chocolate Caramel Sauce
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter cut into tablepoon-size pieces
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate (I used bittersweet)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Ganache
  • 4 ounces dark chocolate broken into small pieces
  • 4 ounces milk chocolate broken into small pieces
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon liquor (I like cointreau or kahlua) or vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chocolate caramel sauce
  1. Chocolate Caramel Sauce
  2. Put the heavy cream in a glass measuring cup and microwave on high for 45 seconds, add chocolate and microwave another 30 seconds Stir until its smooth, add the vanilla extract and stir to combine, set aside so that it will cool before adding to the caramel.
  3. In large saucepan add the sugar, turn heat to med/high and let sit until it starts to liquefy. Start stirring with a heat proof spatula. The sugar will crystalize but that's alright -- keep stirring until its all liquid. Stop stirring and let it cook until it turns amber in color, then add the butter and stir to combine.
  4. Remove from heat and add the chocolate cream. Stir until its incorporated. Store in a container at room temperature until ready to use. Note: If you make this ahead of time, simply place the bottle or jar in hot water to warm the caramel so it’s pourable.
  1. Ganache
  2. Heat cream to scalding (not boiling). Pour over the pieces of chocolate that are in a mixing bowl. Let sit 5 minutes then stir until there are no pieces of chocolate and it's smooth and shiny, then add the chocolate caramel sauce and stir to combine.
  3. Place bowl in an ice bath and stir or whisk until it's cool but not cold -- it will stiffen fairly quickly if it gets too cold. Remove from the ice bath and beat with a mixer or whisk until the ganache is fluffy and spreadable. Frost the cake immediately. Best served at room temperature.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • daisybrain
  • Jackie Ren
    Jackie Ren
  • Oat&Sesame
  • JoAnna Arnold
    JoAnna Arnold
  • RnOo AmMar
    RnOo AmMar
I have loved to cook for as long as I can remember, am self taught learning as I go. I come from a large Italian family and food was at the center of almost every gathering. My grandfather made his own wine and I remember the barrels of wine in the cellar of my grandfathers home, I watched my mother and aunts making homemade pasta and remember how wonderful it was to sit down to a truly amazing dinner. Cooking for me is a way to express myself its my creative outlet. I enjoy making all types of food but especially enjoy baking, I live in Brooklyn, NY, and I share my home with my two dogs Izzy and Nando. I like to collect cookbooks and scour magazines and newspapers for recipes. I hope one day to organize them.

53 Reviews

FromScratch August 25, 2021
I made this recipe once, and it was really good, but now I just make the first half of it. That chocolate caramel sauce on its own is wonderful, perfect for over ice cream. It makes about a cup and a half of sauce. If there's any left over, I stick it in the freezer, and occasionally eat it by the spoonful still frozen.
sdebrango August 25, 2021
It makes me so happy that you liked it and totally agree about the chocolate caramel. I found a slightly easier way of doing it now as it can be a little finicky when melting granulated sugar, I use Stella Parks (Bravetarts) recipe for caramel sauce and melt the chocolate into the heavy cream as I outlined in my recipe. Stella adds some water to the sugar, it melts better and you get the same results. I always have extra that I keep in the refrigerator and eat it by the spoonful. Thank you so much.
Glendi April 6, 2020
I suspect you can substitute canned milk for the cream in the frosting. I have done it before. It whips up just fine, full fat is how. Might come in handy for those not running off to the store for fresh cream. Thanks, for yummy recipe
sdebrango April 6, 2020
Wow, I don’t know how canned milk would work. I know it would be fine in ganache but don’t know how it will whip although I suspect it would since the chocolate would thicken and get fluffy. Great idea and one I never thought of. Let me know if you try it and if it works. Thank you and stay safe and healthy ❤️
Iva November 18, 2018
Can you please tell me how many mL does your cup have?
I'm from Europe and don't know do you use Us cup or metric cup.
Thanx.. 😊
sdebrango November 18, 2018
I looked it up and 1 cup is 236.59 mL. Hope that’s correct.
daisybrain May 21, 2017
I've just seen this recipe for the first time. Can't wait to try it!
ReisTanzi October 24, 2016
Suzanne, this frosting is SO delicious! However, I've made it twice and both times, I had the same problem as Sue Douglass - the ganache was thin and didn't whip up to a thick enough consistency. After cautiously refrigerating and whipping again, it was thick enough, but had a grainy, curdled texture. It seemed to me that the ganache was too thin, and the refrigeration helped, but changed the texture. However, I noticed that the Lindt chocolate I used had some emulsifiers in it. Could you share what kind(s) of chocolate you've used? I may simply try with more chocolate next time. It's good enough that I will try again!
On another note, I used some of the extra chocolate caramel sauce to crumb coat the cake, which I will definitely do again. Thanks for the recipe - it is fantastic.
ReisTanzi October 24, 2016
Oh, thank you - It could be the milk! It was not boiling maybe too hot. I did also take it out of the ice bath to whip in the stand mixer. I agree Lindt is good, and if Hershey's works Lindt should too. I'll try with these changes next time. Thanks!
Jackie R. March 10, 2016
It is so fluffy and delicious. I kind of used my own caramel sauce and accidentally only got semi sweet chocolate, but it came out perfect. This is definitely going to be my new go-to recipe for icing
Oat&Sesame January 3, 2016
This frosting is wonderful! I have to admit I was nervous throughout the whole process since some people had some technical difficulties. I did add the cream and butter together, stirring continuously and my caramel turned out just fine. When it came to the whipping stage, it did take quite a bit of time to get to a spreadable sturdy consistency. I kept my ice bath near and gave my bowl a few rounds of chilling inbetween beatings to get it colder, but not too cold. Not only is the frosting delicious, light and creamy, it holds up well. I always seem to attempt these risky recipes when I am having guests - thank goodness this one came through for me! Bravo!
Molly September 12, 2015
Help! I've tried making the caramel twice and when I add the butter, it turns to toffee. I thought maybe I'd cooked it too long so was really careful the second time but had the same results. Would love any tips! Thanks so much! :)
Molly September 13, 2015
Thanks so much for your response! I'll definitely keep trying because this recipe looks so yummy!
Genevieve October 28, 2018
personally, I did too, but a little turn on a low heat helped smooth things out totally.
Sue D. August 16, 2015
What did I do wrong? Once I got it out of the ice bath and started blending it, it never changed it's consistency from wet and soupy to fluffy and spreadable. :(
Sue D. August 16, 2015
I'm going to try it again now. I have the scalding cream sitting on the chocolate pieces for 5 minutes right now. Maybe I need for it to get a bit colder in the ice bath? I'll keep you posted...
Sue D. August 16, 2015
I know it's me and not the recipe. I got it colder this time in the ice bath and then set the blender on it. It whipped up better this time but not in a fluffy way. Then it started to break down (granular in texture) so I have it in the fridge right now. Should I try to whip it again in a little while or use it as is. Again, it's me. Not you. I am not the best cook...
Sue D. August 16, 2015
I left it in the fridge for about 10 minutes and when I pulled it out it was very fluffy! I tasted it and it was AMAZING! I had all 3 daughters try it too and we all melted. So I have frosted the cake and we are all set. Next time I make it I will get it thicker in the ice bath. I was more concerned about temperature because it says for it to be cool and not cold...that's what I was watching out for. This is going to be a big hit for our back to school dinner tonight. Thank you!
JoAnna A. May 31, 2015
How much ganache does the recipe yield?
RnOo A. March 23, 2015
thnx ..can we use in ganach recipe all dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate?
RnOo A. March 23, 2015
really thanx ..i tried whipping cream using corn starch ..but i add some of cream powder and it was amazing
em-i-lis June 17, 2014
BTW, the leftover chocolate caramel is amazing atop vanilla ice cream!!!!
em-i-lis June 11, 2014
I made this (and sdebrango's tender yellow cake) tonight for my mother-in-law's 67th birthday. Everyone agreed both recipes were outstanding, especially this frosting! Divine! And with Suzanne's yellow cake? Fabulous!
em-i-lis June 11, 2014
Thank YOU!!!
BeverlyW February 13, 2014
This article totally cracked me up and hit me right in my funny bone! Thanks for the chuckles, especially on such a super snowy day (again, again, again). I am going to have to make that frosting - I always make a double batch of frosting for my husband's birthday cakes, as he subscribes to the point of view that the point of the cake is to serve as a minimal vehicle for LOTS of delicious frosting. This idea takes it to a whole new level - just frosting! Perfecto!
BeverlyW February 13, 2014
FYI - I thought I was replying to a different post to Food52 for Valentine's Day food that had a link to this frosting.
strawberrygirl January 26, 2014
I made this for a friend's birthday cake and it was a big hit. I was inspired by one of the comments below to make it with aged rum. Now I'm trying to resist eating all the leftover chocolate caramel sauce straight out of the jar. :)
Samar E. January 19, 2014
Hi suzanne congrats . I wanna ask if this filling can be used in fondat covered cake and I wanna keep it in the fridge cause its a long process . And can I use this to cover my cake to stick fondant to it instead of butter cream. I ll apretiate your answer thanks
Meatballs&Milkshakes December 2, 2013
Congrats Suzanne! Looks FANTASTIC! Have to get it in before l cleanse in January!
Ashley M. November 25, 2013
I'm no baker, but this recipe makes me WANT to be such a damn good baker just so I can make this! Congrats on the win! ;)
aargersi November 16, 2013
This frosting is off the hook! I made it with super dark chocolate and rum for grownups dinner tonight, and just iced your tender yellow cake with it. Gonna be a good night! I am giving the remaining caramel sauce (also insanely good) to my neighbors to save me from myself.
Ashley M. November 25, 2013
I love that you have "grownups" dinner @aargersi ;)
marialissio November 14, 2013
Hi Suzanne ... congratulations. You are the queen of cakes and all manner of baking and sweet things. We gals of Italian origin are standing out. Well you and others are. I am not so quietly coming up behind. Love your work.