Ultimate Salted Caramel Cupcakes

These are the Ultimate Salted Caramel Cupcakes with delicious salted caramel sauce in the center, some more caramel sauce swirled into the frosting, and a drizzle of caramel on top. They are a must make!

Ultimate Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Do you guys have a “Baking Bucket List?”  You know, a list of all the things you want to tackle either in your mind or written down? I have been meaning to share mine here, hoping that having it in a public place will keep me accountable and also possibly inspire some readers to bake along with me. Hopefully I’ll be able to get that done sometime soon!

Anyway- Swiss Meringue Buttercream has been on this list for as long as I have had this blog. Everyone raves about it as being far fluffier and dreamier than regular buttercream, and I knew it was something I needed to try.

It never seemed necessarily difficult, but just complex enough that I would tend to be lazy and just make regular buttercream.  (It involves heating egg whites and sugar, whipping them into a meringue, and then adding the butter and powdered sugar.)

Ultimate Salted Caramel Cupcakes

I love the regular stuff- but often times I end up making it sugar-y sweet in order to be stiff enough to hold shape which can be overpowering at times. This stuff though- light as air, fluffy as a cloud and not too sweet at all. In fact the entire recipe only uses a cup of sugar, and yields enough for 24 cupcakes or a layer cake. I’m sold.

I wanted to pair the frosting with my favorite flavor on the planet, so I made the Ultimate in Salted Caramel Cupcakes: Light and fluffy cake, Salted Caramel filling, the fluffiest Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream and of course some more caramel on top with a sea salt sprinkle. In short- to die for. Neither the cake or the frosting are super sweet which gives room for the caramel inside to shine.

Ultimate Salted Caramel Cupcakes

If you like salted caramel, these Salted Caramel Cupcakes will be your new favorite dessert- trust me!

Ultimate Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Ultimate Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Yield: about 20 cupcakes



  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick of butter, at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk, at room temperature

For the frosting:


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line cupcake pans with liners, set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, mix in vanilla.
  4. Add flour mixture and milk alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Scrape down the bowl- don't over mix the batter.
  5. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about three-quarters full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool for 5 minutes and then remove from pan. Let cupcakes cool completely.
  6. Use a paring knife to core a small little but out of each cupcake and fill with a small dollop of caramel.

For the frosting:

  1. Over a double boiler, heat the whites and granulated sugar and salt, whisking constantly, until all the sugar is dissolved and it reaches 160°F (70°C) stirring continuously, about 5 minutes. Heat this slowly!! You don’t want scrambled eggs!
  2. Place the mixture in a stand mixer and whip on high until a peak forms and the mixture is cool, about 5 minutes.
  3. Turn the mixer to medium speed and add the softened butter a little at a time. Make sure the butter is fully incorporated before adding the next piece. (NOTE: It's normal if buttercream starts to curdle half way. Keep adding the butter!)
  4. Switch to a paddle attachment and add 3/4 cup of caramel sauce. Beat the buttercream until well combined, about a minute.
  5. Pipe or spread onto cupcakes. Drizzle with remaining caramel sauce and sprinkle with sea salt.


*When beating egg whites to stiff peaks you need to make sure they are clear of any yolk and that your bowl is very clean.

Base cupcake recipe adapted from Georgetown Cupcakes

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram


    1. Yes! She made it look like it’s PERFECT!!!! And it is!! I love baking, and I’m gonna make these for church!! I hope yours went well :)

  1. Light and fluffy frosting AND salted caramel?! I’m in. I have a baking bucketlist too that sadly I am failing at right now. I’d love to do more baking with yeast…I have my eye on a killer loaf of sourdough.

    1. Wow! I love sourdough!!! Oh no!! Keep on trying! You can do it!!

  2. Yes, I totally have a bucket list and OMG these look DELICIOUS! Your photos are amazing, as always.

  3. These cupcakes look just amazing! I have had trouble with eggs curdling making Swiss buttercream, so I almost always make Italian buttercream. I don’t even like traditional buttercream anymore – I’m so spoiled :)

  4. I watched his video and he is very detailed with the directions. It’s a great resource to have so you can see what it should look like when you are going through the steps. I have to say that I have found there is no need to keep adding butter till it gets to a certain consistency. In other words if a recipe calls for a cup of butter (most call for more) you don’t need to worry about consistency. Keep beating and it will get to that perfect silky consistency. You may want to adjust for warmer days and use less, but you wont need to add more to get that lovely consistency SMBC is known for. If you’ve never made it before it would be confusing to be wondering if you’ve added enough butter. I use 5 egg whites, one cup of butter and one cup of sugar. I really like it with less butter than most recipes and a side benefit to this is it’s less expensive. My recipe looks a bit whiter but I do make my own butter for it so that may be a factor along with it just being less butter. I use a half gallon of organic heavy whipping cream from Costco to make butter, which is very inexpensive – not much more than buying butter, and infinitely better. It makes about 3 cups of butter and takes me about 15 minutes. On a side note I don’t use any powdered sugar in my SMBC and have never had any problems with stability. I don’t like the mouth feel of the uncooked cornstarch in it but most people don’t notice it.

  5. I totally have a baking bucket list! Swiss meringue buttercream, though, is not on it – I make it all the time and now I just find it to be far superior to normal buttercream. It’s so fluffy and dreamy :D

    And these cupcakes, oh goodness, these are a caramel-ahloics dream (AKA me). Pinned!

  6. I don’t understand the line in the recipe about placing half a cookie in each cupcake liner. (Line 2 of the instructions). Am I missing something here?

    1. Nope! My mistake! I used the same recipe as another cupcake I made that uses a cookie crust :) I fixed it!

    1. Yesss! I’m making this for the caramel cupcakes!! Going to take it to church!!!! I have never ever made caramel sauce before!!! So…..I hope it goes well! And, the pictures look amazing! Everything is dripping out of the jars!!!!

  7. These cupcakes look divine! I am simply STUNNED at how you do it all- being an NYC first-time mama, maintaining this beautiful blog with gorgeous food photography and baking new recipes, let alone have anytime to yourself! Way to go Audra! Cheers!

    1. Aw thanks Kathryn. I have 2 sisters that come to help me out when I have big baking projects :) I don’t get much time for myself but that will change soon

      1. So glad you have two sisters in the city. I am actually friends with Natalie Hill and it seems like you have a wonderful community of women slaying life! Rock on!

    1. Mine to!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope these go well!! I hope yours does to!

  8. Thank you for sharing these recipes. I made a batch of these yesterday and they were divine. I had never heard of Swiss Meringue Buttercream before but I’m so glad I tried the recipe. It has an amazing taste, texture and mouthfeel, it will be hard to go back to normal buttercream now. It was helpful to have the tutorial, to be honest when mine curdled I was sceptical that more butter was the answer but like magic it came together. The caramel sauce recipe with photo tutorial was also great and I’ll be sure to check out some of your other recipes to use up the leftover caramel sauce. Thankyou again!

  9. Thank you for this recipe!! I made these for a baby shower yesterday for a mother-to-be who has been craving salted caramel desserts. Everyone was RAVING about them! People who don’t normally like cupcakes/caramel/denser cake were talking about how good they were! My aunt actually said they were the best cupcakes she ever had. Trust me…they are worth the effort! Also, side note, I thought I completely ruined the frosting because it became so clumpy when i added the butter… but I realized the butter was just too cold, so I warmed it up a little and then kept mixing it and it was perfect :)

  10. DEAR GOD these are AMAZING! I just made them and… all I can say is wow.. pure salted caramel heaven!

    1. Were these cupcakes super dense? I made them and they seemed like a shortcake much more than a cupcake Was that your experience as well?

    1. I just keep my piping bag straight up and down and pipe straight down- does that make sense? I don’t swirl the frosting in a circle- I just let it come straight down.

  11. This was really disappointing. The cupcakes were extremely dense (almost to the point of being unpleasant for a cupcake) and they tasted purely like flour.

  12. I’m with Lexi…I don’t know what I did wrong but mine turned out dense as well. I’m thinking I didn’t use enough salt to react wit the baking powder I’m very conservative when it comes to salt as almost everything is ruined when using too much.. The batter smelled like waffle mix. I spent a lot of time making these for a bake sale that I now have to toss and don’t have time to make more.

    1. I’m so sorry they didn’t turn out right. I’ve made this recipe several times… I don’t think it’s the salt though. My guess would be over-mixing? That can lead to dense texture. I wish I could have known what went wrong!

  13. I had the same thing as Lexi and Audra. Really dense dry cupcakes. I am not new to baking. I’ve been doing it for 30 yrs. I am going to try again this weekend. Maybe I over beat the batter. I will let you know.

  14. Wow :) I made this amazing cupcakes by following the recipe for the cupcakes and the Swiss Meringue Buttercream. It was delicious and all my coworkers loved them too!!!

    The only thing I changed in the recipe for the cupcakes is the buttermilk. I replaced it with an alternative 1/2 cup of milk and 1/2 teaspoon of white vinegar. The cupcakes were moist and well baked. First time making the Swiss Meringue Buttercream and the video helped so much! It took more than 10 minutes for the butter to blend with the white egg yokes. Don’t desperate. It may take more time than expected. You will need to be patient and mixed them with a spatula to facilitate the processus.

    Thanks for the recipe Audra <3

  15. These were SOOO good and relatively easy to make–at least easier than I was anticipating. My cupcakes were a little dry. I am at a high altitude, could that be why? What could I do to fix that, I only baked for 15 mins but used convection? Thanks for the recipe, it was such a HUGE hit!! My hubby and friends were delighted with the textures and flavors!

  16. I made the cupcakes and they came out really sense. If you adapted this from Martha, you have it’s baking it at to high of a temperature. I really wanted to like them.

  17. Well I thought I had bought ground turkey but instead bought sausage!! How could I have done that!! And thank you for the brown rice link, and yup that was the one!! Anyway I did make this tonight but instead of turkey I used ground beef! It was all I had and I wanted to make this so bad. But guess what – it was fantastic!! I know it would have been healthier with the turkey but this was, as my husband said — give it two yums!!! Thanks again

  18. 1 1/2 cups of butter!?! That seems like a lot. A question for anyone who’s made it: do you have a lot of leftover icing because I don’t want a whole bunch extra and 1 and a half cups of butter plus the egg whites seems like it would make a lot of buttercream

  19. Question – can you pre-make the frosting ahead of time and if so, how to store it? Cheers!

    1. I don’t suggest making to too far in advance. I don’t love thawing frosting. In the fridge it can last for a week though!

    1. I would freeze the actual cupcakes but make the frosting day of. You can make the caramel sauce up to a week in advance and store in the fridge!

  20. Oh wow. These look so incredible, I’m almost scared to make them out of fear of eating every single one in one sitting — haha! There’s just nothing better than sea salt and caramel. I think I’ll make a batch of these this weekend to treat myself. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!

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