If you’ve wondered how to make a showstopping salted caramel drip cake, then look no further! In this tutorial you’ll discover how easy it is to make salted caramel sauce (no thermometer needed!) and how to create a sweet and salty drip for your cake.
Drip cakes have been popular for the past couple of years and their popularity shows no signs of slowing down! I love them because they’re fun to make and you can get creative with matching the colour drip to the theme of the cake. This pink and gold drip added some playfulness to my Lips and Lashes birthday cake.
When making a drip, ganache (chocolate and cream), royal icing and candy melts all work well. Salted caramel sauce is also another oh-so-delicious option! My hubby celebrated his birthday recently and he’s a big fan of the salty and sweet combination of flavours. I thought a caramel cake with caramel buttercream, a salted caramel drip and pretzels would be a winning combo.
How to make a salted caramel drip
I came across this salted caramel sauce recipe a couple of years ago from Bake Play Smile and have used it on various sweet treats. I loved that it was super easy to make and didn’t require a thermometer (quite frankly I was terrified of making caramel before this point!). You can adjust the amount of salt you add according to taste. I’m not a fan of overly salty food so I added in a light sprinkling first and kept tasting until I hit the point that I didn’t want to stop eating it!
Remember that once this sauce starts to heat up, it becomes quite volcanic – so please be careful with those tastebuds when tasting and checking if it has the right amount of salty sweetness.
While you’re making the sauce, pop your cake in the fridge and by the time the sauce is ready and has had a chance to cool the cake will be thoroughly chilled. A chilled cake will help slow down the drips and prevent them from running to the bottom of the cake.
How To Make Salted Caramel Sauce
A deliciously decadent (and easy!) salted caramel sauce without the need of a thermometer!
- 125 g Unsalted Butter chopped
- 250 g Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
- 125 g Thickened Cream Not the light version
- 1/4 - 1/2 tsp Salt Add according to taste
Place the butter in a saucepan over a low heat and allow it to melt completely.
Once melted, add the sugar and cream. Increase the heat to medium and stir to combine the ingredients.
Stir occasionally until the sugar has completely dissolved.
Add the salt to taste (caution - it's super hot!).
Allow the sauce to come to a gentle simmer and simmer away for two minutes (stirring occasionally).
Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
The sauce will thicken as it begins to cool.
Store the leftover caramel sauce in a sterilised jar in the fridge for up to two weeks (not that it will last that long!).
You can see below that right after making the sauce, it’s quite thin and doesn’t really coat the spoon. After waiting half an hour, the sauce has thickened and after an hour it’s now room temperature and perfect for dripping (and eating a sneaky spoonful!).
How to create a salted caramel drip
Now that we’ve created the salted caramel sauce, we can get to the fun bit – the drip!
You want to ensure that your salted caramel sauce has cooled to room temperature before beginning the drip. If it’s still warm, it’s going to run all down the sides of the cake. It’s winter here in Sydney and my sauce took about an hour to cool down completely so it may take a little longer/shorter depending on your climate and conditions.
Pop some of the salted caramel sauce into a squeeze bottle – this is going to make applying the drip much easier! I picked up this mini squeeze bottle (it’s only about 2 inches high) from my local supermarket. You can control the placement and length of the drips so much more than just winging it with a spoon. Although lathering it on with a spoon would still be delicious!
Before getting creative with the drips on the cake, I like to have a practice go on the side of a glass first (or you could use the side of a saucepan). That way I can check to see if the consistency of the sauce is right – if it’s too thick, give it a zap in the microwave for a couple of seconds (literally 2 second intervals because it heats so quickly). If it’s too runny and the drips are going straight to the bottom of the glass, then wait a little longer for it to thicken up (or you could pop it in the fridge for 5-10 minutes. It’s easier to make a boo-boo on the side of the glass rather than the cake!
Once you’re happy with the consistency, it’s time to get the cake out of the fridge and on to your turntable. With this particular cake I only wanted to apply the drip around the rim of the cake, not in the centre. If you’re wanting to cover the centre, use a spoon to apply the salted caramel sauce to the middle of the cake and encourage it out to the rim but leave about a centimetre from the edge. Once you get close to the side, this is where the squeeze bottle comes in handy.
Turn the squeeze bottle upside down and position it over the edge of the cake. Gently squeeze out a little of the salted caramel sauce and follow around the rim for a few centimetres – at this point we’re just following the edge of the cake and not wanting the sauce to run down the side. When you do want to create a drip, hold the bottle in place (still upside down) and squeeze out a little of the salted caramel sauce. Keep in mind that the sauce can continue to run down the side of the cake for a good 10 minutes (+), so just squeeze a small amount out to begin with. A little goes a long way!
Continue to follow around the rim of the cake, creating drips every couple of centimetres until you’re back at the beginning.
Some of my drips had a mind of their own and started to run a little longer than I wanted, so I popped the cake in the fridge to slow them down and firm them up.
And that’s it – you should now be looking at a lip smackingly delicious salted caramel drip cake!
Hopefully you’ve got lots of salted caramel sauce left over to enjoy smothered over ice cream or your favourite treat. It took quite a bit of will power not to get in my comfy pajamas and attack the jar with a spoon!
This sauce would make a great present (Christmas, teacher appreciation or for someone with a sweet tooth). Package it up in a sterilised jar with some colourful ribbon and you’ve got yourself a very inexpensive and tasty gift.
The sauce can also be added to buttercream to create a salted caramel buttercream. I made up a double batch of this buttercream (but left out the vanilla) and added in about 3/4 cup of the caramel sauce and it was amazing! Just make sure the sauce is room temperature otherwise the butter will melt.
Have you ever made a salted caramel sauce from scratch before or used it as a drip?
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