If you haven't: I do!
I make mine slightly differently compared to other recipes (see here) in order to get an icing that it firm enough to pipe and maintain its shape.
And it is very conducive to having different flavours added to it:I like it plain...with lemon zest...with vanilla....with cocoa...with melted chocolate (oh, yes!)...and now with caramel (double yes!!)
When I was in university residence, one of the lunch options was a "Cottage Cheese Platter" - basically half a tub of cottage cheese with a few crackers (it might not sound appealing, but it was a welcome alternative to all the mass-produced hi-carb meals!)
Sometimes we'd add some strawberry jam to the cottage cheese to create a wishful-thinking-cheese-cake. Desperate times!
You'd much rather be combining cream cheese - rather than cottage cheese -with sweet flavours.
It may seem like a strange combination - cream cheese and caramel - but the cream cheese just takes the edge off of the sweetness of the caramel, while adding a soft creaminess to it.
Caramel Cream Icing:
100g butter at room temp.
250g cream cheese (the dense kind like Lancewood, Woolworths or Philadelphia) - chilled
3/4 cup sifted icing sugar
2-3 tablespoons caramel*
With an electric mixer, beat butter until soft and pale. Add the sifted icing sugar.
Add the cream cheese, vanilla and caramel essence. And add the caramel (2-3 tbs - depending on how sweetly caramel you want it.)
Refrigerate if not using immediately.
*I use the kind of caramel you get in the tubs from baking supply stores
If this is particularly stiff, zap it in the microwave for a few seconds on medium power. When you add it to the rest of the mixture, you want it to be soft, but not runny - and certainly not warm. Just a few seconds in the microwave is enough.
Pair this icing up with vanilla or chocolate cakes / cupcakes - it compliments both beautifully; and it has a scrumptious soft golden colour...