Classic Caramel Sauce (for Coffee Cake and the Like)

Preparation info

  • Yield: about

    2 cups

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented

Baked Explorations

By Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

Published 2010

  • About

This classic and easy caramel sauce is a component of our Caramel Apple Cake. It is also a perfect stand-alone recipe and can be used on all manner of cakes, ice creams, and quick breads. This recipe makes more than you actually need for the Caramel Apple Cake itself, so I encourage you to find a tasty use for the leftovers.


  • cups sugar
  • ¼ cup corn syrup
  • ½ cup (1 stick) of butter, softened, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • cups heavy cream


    In a medium saucepan with high sides, combine the sugar and corn syrup with ½ cup water. Stir the mixture gently so you don’t slosh any of it up the sides of the pan. Turn the heat to medium-high and continue stirring until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high, stop stirring, and allow the mixture to boil. Once it begins to turn a rich caramel color (if you don’t want to eyeball it, take the caramel to 300 degrees F on a candy thermometer), remove it from the heat, add the butter and cream, and stir until combined.

    You can save the caramel sauce, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Let it come to room temperature before using it on cakes, ice creams, or quick breads.

    If you want a warm topping, heat the caramel sauce in short bursts in the microwave or in the top of a double boiler.