Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes

 Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes via The Baker Chick

Ever have a recipe you dream in your head for weeks before it comes to be? Well, I have been imagining  these wonderful cupcakes for ages. You know I’m obsessed with salted caramel, and I’ve been overdue to put my favorite thing into a cupcake, (my other favorite thing.) What better to pair with salted caramel than dark chocolate right? That’s what I’m thinkin…

 Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes via The Baker Chick

These start with my favorite one-bowl chocolate cupcake, made with lots of dark chocolate cocoa powder.  Using a paring knife I carved out a small little area of the center of each cake and spooned in some salted caramel. After replacing the little cake top, I swirled on some salted caramel butter cream. The nice thing about the frosting swirl is that it leaves a little area on the top of the frosting that is perfect for fillings and toppings. In this case I added a dollop of dark chocolate ganache and a sprinkle of fleur de sel. In my opinion- perfection!

 Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes via The Baker Chick

On a normal day, I would whip up a batch of this easy salted caramel from scratch. It is not hard to make and oh so delicious. On the day that I made dozens of these for birthday party though, I was majorly pressed for time. I knew I needed a shortcut in order to get this done in time. So- I picked up a handy jar of Trader Joes Salted Caramel Sauce and went to town. It was the perfect “in-a-pinch” ingredient for filling these babies and also mixing into the frosting. The next time I make these, I hope to have time to make the caramel from scratch though, just because I like to complicate things like that!

 Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes via The Baker Chick

Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Yield: 18-24 cupcakes


  • 3/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder (regular is fine too)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons canola/vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2-2 cups salted caramel sauce*
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter- softened
  • 4-6 cups of powdered sugar
  • cream or milk as needed
  • 5 oz. of dark chocolate- chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside.
  2. Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.
  3. 'Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed.
  4. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.
  5. Meanwhile, make the ganache:
  6. Place chopped dark chocolate in a small bowl. On medium-high heat, warm the heavy cream until it boils and right away pour it over the chocolate.
  7. Leave it for 5 minutes and then stir mixture until it is thick and creamy. Allow to cool to room temperature by either letting it sit for 30-45 minute OR speed it up in the freezer (what I did.)
  8. When the cupcakes are cooled, use a paring knife to carve a cone shape into the top of each cupcake. Slice off the very top of the removed part and set aside.
  9. Fill with a tablespoon of caramel sauce and place the top back on. Repeat with the rest of the cupcakes and set aside to make frosting.
  10. For the Frosting:
  11. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to whip the butter until it is creamy and pale. Add 4 cups of the powdered sugar, a little at a time until frosting is thick and paste like.
  12. Add 1/2 cup of salted caramel sauce and mix on medium-high speed until frosting is thick and well combined. Add the milk or cream a tablespoon at a time, until the frosting is creamy and good piping/spreading consistency.
  13. Spoon or drizzle the ganache onto the frosted cupcakes and sprinkle with flaky sea salt.


* You can also use regular store-bought caramel with sea salt mixed in


Chocolate cupcake recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

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 Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes via The Baker Chick  Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes via The Baker Chick  Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes via The Baker Chick

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  1. says

    Oh you put all of my fav words in one sentence! Love chocolate, love salted caramel, love cupcakes :) great recipe and I love how you fill the frosting too.

  2. says

    I’ve never tried salted caramel anything, but I love the look of gooey/runny caramel. It makes me lick my lips with anticipationg. Not to mention when biting into that cupcake and a pool of the caramel comes out :) YUM!

  3. Amys_Cooking_Adventures says

    Yummy! I recently tried salted caramel buttercream for the first time & I’m in love! SO glad to have seen this recipe!

  4. HudsonRunner says

    I made these a week ago for a family dinner…they got all eaten!! They cake was so good and moist (especially since I had never made this particular recipe before). I made my own caramel sauce (from another site). These were absolutely divine! My dad who is the “family baker” of fudge & cookies and bars, said he really liked them! This is going in my to make again book:) Thanks for such a great and relatively easy recipe!

  5. melissa s says

    Thank you so much for sharing! I made the frosting using the sauce from Trader Joe’s. HUGE time saver. My friends went nuts over the cupcakes – especially the frosting.


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