I just loved salted caramel- it is such a delicious and fun twist on a standard cupcake. This is also a fun way to make a more adult cupcake for parties and gifts. I like to make these without the salt for my little ones and then just sprinkle a little salt on top for the adults. The combination of sweet, buttery caramel and a little sprinkle of salt is really amazing.
These are obviously a great treat for fall but I also like these in summer too. The salted caramel is a great compliment to apple pies and such that you might be making for 4th of July.
These do take a little extra time to make- especially if you do a homemade caramel sauce. Normally I find a store bought cupcake mix with an amazing homemade frosting is perfect but in this case the homemade cupcake mix is really worth the few extra minutes.
I really love this cupcake recipe and the frosting is a perfect combination of butter and cream cheese.
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk* (or homemade substitute listed below)
- Buttercream Frosting:
- 1½ cups unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
- 4oz cream cheese, cubed and chilled
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup caramel sauce (homemade or store bought)**
- For the cupcakes:
- Cream together butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating until mixed together.
- Add vanilla and mix.
- Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.
- Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating buttermilk, and beating until combined after each.
- Fill cupcake liners with batter about halfway full.
- Bake for 25 minutes at 325.
- Let cool completely before frosting.
- For the frosting:
- Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add the butter and beat until smooth.
- Add the cream cheese and mix until incorporated with butter and both are smooth.
- Add the powdered sugar in- about ½ cup at a time- and mix on low until all the sugar is incorporated.
- **Add in ¼ cup to 1 cup of caramel to the frosting mixture and mix until blended- please see note below.
- Frost your cupcakes and drizzle a little more caramel on top and sprinkle with salt.
A few notes about this recipe. First I like to use a homemade caramel sauce instead of store bought. There is a delicious homemade caramel sauce recipe here (just be careful not to over salt- either add it to the caramel or sprinkle it on the cupcake) or if you want to skip a few steps and just use the Crock Pot Caramel Sauce, you can use that as well.
**You can either add caramel to the frosting for a less messy cupcake OR do not add it to the frosting and drizzle it on top.I have tried this cupcake recipe both ways and I find that adding the caramel to the frosting makes it too sweet for my taste and takes away from the rich and creamy buttercream frosting. This is especially true if you use store bought caramel. I prefer not to add the caramel to the frosting and instead I generously drizzle it on top. You might try it and see which way you prefer. I would caution you to add 1/4 cup of caramel at a time to the frosting and taste it as you go to be sure the frosting isn’t getting too sweet for you. I personally find 1 cup of caramel way too much but again it is totally going to be a matter of personal taste.
*If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, no worries. There is a simple homemade buttermilk recipe here with lemon or vinegar and milk.
One last little note. I prefer to use Himalayan Pink Sea Salt to sprinkle on the cupcakes. That is my favorite salt to use on sweet items– it is really amazing on a chocolate chip cookie! Takes a plain cookie to gourmet in just seconds.
*Frosting recipe from FoodNetwork.com
And if you’d like more cupcake inspiration:
Salted Caramel Starbucks Cupcakes– so fun! Perfect for bake sales and parties!
Perfect Chocolate Buttercream frosting— no really. This is amazing.