Caramel Cupcakes

These caramel cupcakes are filled with buttery caramel, frosted with a caramel buttercream and drizzled with gooey caramel! They’re a caramel lover’s dream.

image of caramel cupcakes filled with chewy caramel and topped with a caramel drizzle

What more could you want in a caramel cupcake, right?!

The Vanilla Cupcake Base

This caramel cupcake recipe is based on my classic vanilla cupcake recipe.

My biggest tip when making these caramel cupcakes is to be sure not to overmix the batter! Overmixed batter can lead to dense, chewy cupcakes.

By mixing the batter just until the ingredients are combined you are guaranteed tender, soft cupcakes.

The Caramel Filling & Drizzle

Now onto my favorite part of these cupcakes, the filling!! The homemade caramel sauce in this recipe is on double duty. It’s used to fill the cupcakes and garnish them.

image of a caramel cupcake that's been cut in half to show it's gooey caramel filling

Once the mixture cools to room temperature the caramel is thicker and makes the perfect filling. It’s decadent and has a gooey consistency almost like a caramel square!

After the cupcakes are frosted we heat the caramel up a bit to allow us to drizzle it over the frosting. This gives the cupcakes a beautiful finished look without requiring any extra work!

The Caramel Buttercream

Now just making a caramel cupcake wasn’t enough. I wanted to make caramel buttercream too!

When you’re frosting a dozen cupcakes, you don’t need a ton of frosting. To make just the right amount, I modified my caramel buttercream to make a 1/4 batch.

Once I was happy with the volume of frosting this recipe makes, it was time to figure out the perfect amount of caramel sauce.

With the drizzle of caramel on top of the frosting, I find you don’t need more than 1/4 cup of caramel in the frosting. However, you can add more or less to suit your palette.

image of caramel cupcakes drizzled with homemade caramel sauce

Substitutions and Swaps – Caramel Cupcakes

This caramel cupcake recipe use quite a few ingredients and I know you might not have all of them on hand. Or if you have food allergies or restrictions, I’ve got you covered.

Below are some swaps and substitutions that you can make:

  • Unsalted Butter – If you only have salted butter on hand you can use it in place of the unsalted butter. Just be sure to omit the salt that the recipe calls for. You can also use vegan butter in its place!
  • Granulated Sugar – I do not recommend reducing the amount of sugar or changing the type of sugar as it will change the texture of these cupcakes.
  • Eggs – If you have an egg allergy you can use 2 flaxseed egg or 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce instead.
  • All Purpose Flour – This recipe turns out best with AP flour, but you can use a gluten free flour blend or cake flour if that’s all you have on hand.
  • Sour Cream– You can also use full fat yogurt, whole milk, buttermilk, or an alternative yogurt or milk (almond, soy, oat) if you’re dairy free.
  • Vanilla Extract – Other extracts can be used in place of the vanilla extract. Feel free to use coconut extracthazelnut extract, or even almond extract.

Substitutions and Swaps – Caramel Buttercream Frosting

  • Unsalted Butter – If you only have salted butter on hand you can use it in place of the unsalted butter. Be sure to omit the salt that this frosting recipe calls for. You can also use vegan butter in its place!
  • Vanilla Extract – Other extracts can be used in place of the vanilla extract. Feel free to use coconut extracthazelnut extract, or even almond extract.
  • Caramel Sauce – You can use store-bought caramel sauce if you don’t have time to make the homemade caramel in this recipe.
  • Heavy Cream – Whole milk or alternative milk (coconut, soy, almond, oat) will work fine in this frosting recipe if that’s what you have on hand.
image of a batch of super smooth air bubble free frosting that has been stirred by hand

Tips for Making These Caramel Cupcakes:

  • Be sure to properly measure your flour (spoon into the cup measure then level) or use a kitchen scale to measure your dry ingredients.
  • Ingredients at room temp mix together better so be sure you set out any cold ingredients ahead of time.
  • Mix your cupcake batter just until the ingredients are incorporated. This will ensure your cupcakes are tender and fluffy.
  • Use one batch of batter to make one 9×13 inch caramel sheet cake. Bake it at 325F for 33-38 minutes.
  • Make these caramel cupcakes vegan or dairy free! Use your favorite type of dairy free milk to replace the sour cream and heavy cream, vegan butter sticks in place of the butter and flax seed eggs.
image of a caramel cupcake on a little cupcake stand

Making These Cupcakes in Advance

Make these caramel cupcakes in advance!! If stored unfrosted in an airtight container, they can last for:

  • 1 day at room temperature
  • Up to a week in the fridge
  • Up to 3 months in the freezer

Make your frosting ahead of time too or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.

Frosted cupcakes can sit out at room temperature overnight in an airtight container, but I find frosting them right before serving is best.

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you make this recipe for caramel cupcakes, I’d love to hear what think of it! Please leave a rating and let me know your thoughts by sharing a comment.

Also please tag me @chelsweets! Use the #chelsweets so that I can see your amazing creations on social media.

Other Recipes You Might Like:

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Caramel Cupcakes

image of caramel cupcakes filled with chewy caramel and topped with a caramel drizzle

These caramel cupcakes are filled with buttery caramel, frosted with a caramel buttercream, and drizzled with gooey caramel! They're a caramel lover's dream!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 3 minutes

Ingredients

Caramel Filling & Drizzle

  • 1 cup granulated sugar (200 grams)
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature (85 grams)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream, room temperature (60 grams)
  • 1/4 tsp table salt (2 grams)

Vanilla Cupcakes

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (150 grams)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (113 grams)
  • 2 large eggs, room temp (112 grams)
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (162 grams)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder (6 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (3 grams)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (120 grams)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4 grams)

Caramel Buttercream Frosting

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (113 grams)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4 grams)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (1 gram)
  • 1/4 cup caramel - recipe shared above (80 grams)
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (185 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp heavy cream or heavy whipping cream (15 grams)

Optional Toppings

Instructions

Caramel Filling & Drizzle

  1. Turn stove to medium heat and place a pot over element.
  2. Pour in 1 cup sugar gradually, adding 1/4 cup at a time. Wait until the sugar is mostly liquified, then add in the next bit of sugar.
  3. As the sugar melts it will gradually deepen in color.
  4. Stir occasionally until the sugar is fully dissolved and is an amber color.
  5. Turn off the heat.
  6. Slowly mix in 6 Tbsp of butter slowly (2 Tbsp at a time) then stir in 1/4 cup of heavy cream and 1/4 tsp salt.
  7. The mixture will be very thin but will thicken as it cools.
  8. Pour into a separate container, then place in fridge to cool for 20 minutes.

Caramel Cupcakes

  1. Begin by preheating oven to 350°F (175°C) and place cupcake liners in baking pans.
  2. Cream together 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup unsalted butter on a high speed with a whisk attachment until the mixture becomes lighter in color.
  3. Mix in 2 large eggs on a medium speed, one at a time.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt.
  5. Pour in 1/2 of the dry ingredients into the butter/egg mixture and mix on a low speed until just combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
  6. Mix in 1/2 cup sour cream and 1 tsp vanilla extract on a low speed.
  7. Add the remaining dry ingredient and mix until the flour is just incorporated.
  8. Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 way full. Bake for 18-19 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Allow the cupcakes to cool for 10 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack to finish cooling. If you want to accelerate the cooling process, place the pan in your freezer for about 30 minutes.

Caramel Buttercream Frosting

  1. Beat 1/2 cup of room-temperature butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment until smooth.
  2. Mix in 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 cup of cooled caramel sauce on a low speed.
  3. Slowly add in 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time. Half way through add 1 Tbsp of heavy cream to make the frosting easier to mix.
  4. Mix on low for a couple minutes until the ingredients are fully incorporated and the desired consistency is reached
  5. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 Tablespoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (1/4 cup at a time).


Decorating These Caramel Cupcakes

  1. Use a small knife or 1 inch circle cutter to remove the center from each cooled cupcake.
  2. Fill each cupcake with a generous spoonful of cooled caramel.
  3. Pipe a mound of caramel frosting on top of each cupcake using a large round piping tip. Chill the cupcakes in the fridge for 10 minutes or the freezer for 5 minutes to help the frosting firm up.
  4. While the cupcakes chill warm up the remaining caramel in 10 second intervals until it is thinner and fluid enough to be drizzled.
  5. Remove the cupcakes from the fridge or freezer and drizzle them with the warm caramel.
  6. If desired, top with a caramel candy square and sprinkle of sea salt and enjoy!

Notes

This recipe can also be used to make mini caramel cupcakes! It makes about 40 mini cupcakes, which only need to bake for 9-10 minutes.

Make these caramel cupcakes in advance!! If stored unfrosted in an airtight container, they can last for:

  • 1 day at room temperature
  • Up to a week in the fridge
  • Up to 3 months in the freezer

Make your frosting ahead of time too or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.

Frosted cupcakes can sit out at room temperature overnight in an airtight container, but I find frosting them right before serving is best.

Nutrition Information

Yield

12

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 304Total Fat 14gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 41mgSodium 221mgCarbohydrates 42gFiber 1gSugar 30gProtein 2g

2 thoughts on “Caramel Cupcakes

  1. These look AMAZING … I just might include a few pieces of Candy Corn along with the bit of Caramel … Some folks just don’t like Candy Corn so that would mean more “Caramel Cupcakes” for me this Halloween Season!

Let me know what you think!