Caramel Espresso Buttercream

I made this frosting to go on my dark chocolate espresso cupcakes. The recipe does not make as much frosting as I am used to, but it is still enough to lightly (and by “lightly” I mean “not liberally”) frost a batch of cupcakes. It has a very rich, not too sweet taste to it. The addition of the tiniest amount of sea salt takes this recipe over the top. It is my new favorite frosting recipe.
To construct my cupcakes, I piped the frosting on each cupcake and then drizzled a little bit of vanilla caramel sauce on top. The final product tasted like a caramel mocha cupcake. The cake and the frosting paired very well together. Next time to make these cupcakes over the top I will add some crushed toffee pieces on top.
Caramel Espresso Buttercream
Yields enough frosting to lightly ice 24 cupcakes

1 c unsalted butter

3 c powdered sugar
1/4 c homemade vanilla caramel sauce (recipe here), warmed just enough to drizzle

1 Tbsp espresso, cooled
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tiny pinch very finely ground sea salt (optional)
Cream butter and powdered sugar in standup mixer with whip attachment until smooth. With mixer on low, slowly add remaining ingredients. Whip on medium 3 minutes or until light and fluffy.