These beauties were for my coworker Sarah’s birthday and were the perfect balance of sweet and salty. I tried a different chocolate cupcake recipe than my usual, and they turned out great. Very moist and not too rich. I really whipped the frosting to give it a lighter texture and avoid a heavy dessert.
This recipe does call for you to make some homemade caramel sauce for the frosting. But if you don’t have the time, you could definitely skip those steps and just add some store bought caramel sauce. And if you have some extra sauce? Why not drizzle some on top for more color and a sticky sweet finish! If you really like a salty frosting, you could always sprinkle some sea salt on top for another level of texture and taste.
Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting
For the cupcakes:
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 tsp salt
3 Tbsp butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk
For the frosting:
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 tsp kosher salt
3+ cups powdered sugar
Yield: 18-20 cupcakes
For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with paper or foil liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk; beat well. Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full.
Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Set aside to cool before frosting.
For the frosting: Combine the sugar & water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil & cook, without stirring, until it turns a dark amber color, about 6-7 minutes. Remove from the heat & slowly stir in the heavy cream & vanilla. The mixture will bubble up quite a bit, so do this slowly, stirring as you pour! Set aside until cool to the touch. (if using store bought caramel sauce, simply skip this section!)
Beat the butter & salt in a mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, on medium speed, until light & fluffy. Reduce the speed to low & add the powdered sugar. Beat until completely incorporated. Turn off the mixer, scrape down the bowl & pour in the caramel. Turn the mixer back on & beat until light & fluffy. If the frosting isn’t thick enough, add more powdered sugar, a little at a time, until you get the right texture.
Frost your cooled cupcakes, drizzle with extra caramel sauce if wanted, and enjoy!