Up your boxed mix cupcake game with these chocolate cupcakes covered in a rich, fudge frosting and soft salted caramel
I’ve been experimenting with caramel for years now, and am just a little proud to say I’ve absolutely nailed it with my soft caramel recipe. If you haven’t already tried my easy microwave caramel recipe, this caramel salted cupcakes recipe give you a delicious way to use them!
And I have to say – there’s pretty much no dessert I can think of that wouldn’t be improved with the addition of caramel. Seriously, caramel makes almost any baking project better, and exotic caramels with travel inspired flavors are one of the best gifts I could imagine.
But these chocolate salted caramel cupcakes might just take the (cup)cake.
See what I did there?
Picture chocolate cupcakes topped with rich, fudge frosting and homemade salted caramel.
I’m not going to lie… I’d push my mom out of the way to get my hands on these chocolate salted caramel cupcakes!
What Makes These Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes So Darn Special?
The Secret is Combining To Die For Chocolate Frosting + Easy Homemade Caramel
Before I invented this recipe, I did a fair amount of research into different salted caramel cupcakes. And boy oh boy, there are a lot of versions out there! I came across salted caramel cupcakes of every variety, and most had some sort of salted caramel frosting.
I wanted to try something different that didn’t rely on salted caramel buttercream frosting, but rather uses a chocolate frosting with actual salted caramel as an accompaniment.
I have the best fudge buttercream frosting recipe, and I use it whenever I get the chance.
Using awesome chocolate buttercream frosting with my best-ever caramel recipe together? So we can experience both in a single bite?
Folks, I think I’ve struck genius with these salted caramel cupcakes!
The Salted Caramel and Chocolate Frosting Makes an Easy Chocolate Cupcake Upgrade
In addition to making my own take on chocolate salted caramel cupcakes, I also wanted to provide a quick and easy “makeover” for chocolate cupcakes from a box.
Sometimes I am strapped for time, and chocolate cupcakes from a boxed mix are the best I can do. That doesn’t mean they have to be boring, however.
This recipe is an easy chocolate cupcake upgrade, and will transform out-of-the-box chocolate cupcakes into a seriously gourmet, decadent dessert.
For the time strapped among us, I consider that a win!
Of course, you don’t have to use a cupcake mix – you can always make chocolate cupcakes from scratch, it will just take longer, of course!
Tips for Making My Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes
I recommend making your cupcakes and chocolate fudge buttercream frosting first, and letting them cool. You can even make them the night before.
Store the frosting in an airtight container in the fridge, and let it come up to room temperature before trying to frost. If you make the cupcakes same day, be sure they’re cool to touch before frosting.
While you can make the cupcakes and frosting the day before, you should make the caramel the same day. Once the caramel hardens (i.e. by leaving it overnight), it will be harder to work with and you’ll have to heat it up again. You want the caramel to be room temperature, but not too cool or set when it comes time to fill. So making the caramel should be a same day activity!
It’s also worth nothing that you’ll have leftover caramel! This recipe won’t use up the whole recipe, so you’ll have to come up with some creative ways to use the rest of it, such as chocolate caramel tarts, Moose Munch caramel crunch popcorn, chocolate caramel marshmallows, or sea salted chocolate caramels!
I recommend using high quality course sea salt to sprinkle on top. Personally, I love pink Himalaya sea salt, but any course sea salt will work.
What You’ll Need
1 batch Chocolate Fudge Frosting
1 batch soft caramels (you will not use the entire recipe)
24 chocolate cupcakes (make your own from scratch, or use a cake mix)
- For the Caramel
- 1 cup butter
- 2.5 cups packed light brown sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 x 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
- For the Frosting
- 10 Tablespoons butter (not margarine)
- 1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
- 5 1/4 cups powdered sugar
- 2/3 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- For the Cupcakes
- 1 box of your favorite chocolate cake mix
Prepare the Frosting
- In a saucepan, over low heat, melt butter. Stir in cocoa powder. Mixture will be very thick.
- Transfer chocolate mixture to a large mixing bowl and let cool. With mixer on low speed, add in powdered sugar and milk, alternating the two. Add vanilla extract.
- Turn mixer to medium high speed and beat about 5 minutes, until frosting is smooth and creamy.
- Put the frosting aside, and store any extra in an airtight container in the fridge.
Prepare the Cupcakes
- Use your favorite homemade chocolate cupcake recipe, or prepare mix cupcakes according to the direction on the package.
- Set aside until they have cooled completely, or overnight
Prepare the Caramel
- In a large, microwave safe bowl, melt butter in the microwave
- Add all of the remaining ingredients to the bowl. Mix well and microwave for 5 minutes
- Remove from microwave and whisk, scraping the sides of the bowl and re-mixing all ingredients together.
- Return to microwave for another 5 minutes and then whisk again. Again, scrape the sides of the bowl to re-mix all ingredients.
- Return for a final 5 minutes (15 minutes total cook time). Whisk it well and then allow the mixture to come to room temperature.
Frosting the Cupcakes
- Fill a large pastry bag with the fudge buttercream frosting.
- Using a star tip, pipe the frosting in a ring around the outer edge of cupcakes that have been allowed to cool completely. Leave the center empty.
- With room temperature caramel, fill the center of each cupcake with approximately 1 tablespoon of caramel.
- Lightly sprinkle course sea salt over the top of the cupcake.
Use the Remainder of the Caramel
- To make soft caramel squares with the leftover caramel, pour the remainder of the caramel in a lightly greased baking pan and spread evenly with a spatula.
- Allow to cool in the fridge, and cut into squares.
Some More Ideas
Looking for more delicious cupcake and cake recipes? These are some of my favorites and I always get asked for these recipes when I take them places!
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes– these are one of my personal favorites because it combines two classics: a yellow cupcake with classic buttercream and a chocolate covered strawberry!
Strawberry Lemon Layer Cake– this cake has a delicious lemon cream filling that makes the whole recipe a winner!
Mint Chocolate Chip Cake– This is one of my son’s favorites, so I try to make it at least once a year for him!
And don’t forget to pin this post for Chocolate Caramel cupcakes!
It’s my faaavorite!