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A super simple two ingredient dulce de leche buttercream. This twist on a Russian buttercream makes a silky smooth caramel-like topping, perfect for your next bake.
Dulce de Leche
Dulce de leche is a sweet caramelised milk. It originates from Latin America, where it is extremely popular as an ingredient in various recipes or as dessert in its own right.
You can buy dulce de leche pre-made or make your own. There is an extremely easy method for making this yourself by baking condensed milk in a water bath.
Condensed Milk Method Dulce de Leche
To make your own dulce de leche, all you need is a can of condensed milk and a couple of deep sided baking tins.
- Ensure that one of your baking tins fits within the second, this will enable you to make a water bath.
- Fill the smaller tin with the condensed milk and place in the centre of the larger tin.
- Fill the larger tin with water until it reaches halfway up the side of the smaller tin.
- Cover the smaller tin with aluminium foil.
- Bake this at 425°F (220C/200F) for about 90 minutes, checking the water levels and topping up to ensure this doesn't run out. I check first at 45 minutes, stir the condensed milk and add a bit extra water to the water bath. You may need to check more frequently if your water bath is more shallow to begin with.
There are some really useful tutorials on making homemade dulce de leche, using either condensed milk methods or other more conventional recipes. I have learned a lot from Preppy Kitchen's recipe for baking or boiling condensed milk and Bigger Bolder Baking has a great recipe for dulce de leche from scratch.
Making Dulce de Leche Buttercream
My dulce de leche buttercream is essentially a twist on Russian buttercream. Until recently, I was completely unaware of this type of buttercream, but its been a revelation!
Russian buttercream is a two ingredient buttercream recipe. It is super silky smooth and great for a simple cake frosting. As you might suspect based on the name, it is popular in many Russian and Eastern European bakes.
To make Russian buttercream, you simply beat equal measures of softened butter and sweetened condensed milk. The sweetness of the condensed milk acts in lieu of the sugar. This means you do not need powdered sugar to make Russian buttercream.
Depending on your intended use for the buttercream, you can amend the ratios of ingredients to reach different consistencies. You can also add powdered icing sugar to thicken this buttercream.
Dulce de Leche instead of Condensed Milk
To make this dulce de leche frosting, simply beat together softened butter with room temperature dulce de leche.
You can either make your own (as I've discussed above) or you can use store bought dulce de leche.
The measurements in this recipe are roughly equivalent to the amount of homemade dulce de leche produced by one regular 14oz (397g) can of condensed milk.
This makes enough to nicely frost the top of a 9" cake.
FAQs for this Buttercream
Refrigerating any type of buttercream is mainly a question of the climate in your kitchen. If you are able to keep this on a cool counter, in an airtight container, this will keep well at room temperature for about 4 days easily. If your kitchen is particularly warm or you are having a heatwave, you may find it best to refrigerate so that the frosting doesn't melt or become runny. Buttercream will taste best at room temperature, so if you are serving after refrigeration, allow this to set out for about 20 minutes to start coming to room temperature first.
Yes, you can make this buttercream and then store in the freezer in a sealed freezer safe container. Allow to defrost before use.
If you use the measurements suggested below, your buttercream should be soft and silky smooth, but not runny. If it is runny, this may be due to the temperature of your ingredients. The butter should be soft enough to beat, but not melted and the dulce de leche should also be cooled to room temperature before you try to use this (if you have made your own).
To save a runny buttercream, try to identify the issue.
If this is due to the butter having been overwarm, leave your buttercream to cool in the fridge for about 30 minutes and then return to making the buttercream. You may be able to beat this together into a good consistency once it has cooled. If this is still too runny, you can also try adding some sifted powdered icing sugar to thicken the mixture.
Try this frosting on:
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Dulce de Leche Buttercream
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup dulce de leche
- In a large bowl, beat the butter until smooth.
- Add the dulce de leche and beat this to combine until smooth.