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Dark Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes

Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Resting time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 50 mins
Servings: 20 cupcakes


For the cupcakes:

  • ¾ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • cups granulated sugar
  • ½ tablespoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • ¾ cup hot coffee (or water)
  • 5 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the salted caramel sauce:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter salted, sliced
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

For the dark chocolate frosting:

  • ¼ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup hot water
  • 2 sticks buter unsalted, softened
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 6 ounces dark or semi-sweet chocolate melted and cooled
  • flaky sea salt


To make cupcakes:

  • Prepare 20 cupcake molds by adding cupcake liners to them. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix with paddle attachment until combined. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each egg.
  • In a small separate bowl, whisk milk, coffee (or water), oil, and vanilla extract. With mixer on low, add wet ingredients ⅓ cup at a time. Mix until smooth. Scoop into prepared cupcake tins about 2/3 full. Place into preheated oven to bake for 17 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean when inserted in the center. Remove from oven and let cool completely before adding caramel and frosting, about 30 minutes.

To make caramel sauce:

  • Place sugar in medium saucepan and heat to medium. Stir occasionally with a silicone spatula (make sure it can handle high heat temps!). As the caramel begins to liquefy, scrape from the bottom and mix back into the granulated pieces. The sugar will clump but eventually it will melt again and turn a deep amber brown. Make sure you are still stirring so it does not burn.
  • Once the sugar is melted, add butter and stir until butter is melted, about 2-3 minutes. Use a whisk to incorporate the butter with the sugar.
  • Very, very slowly, add the cream to the sugar mixture while whisking. The mixture will start to bubble violently, but keep stirring and it will calm down. Allow it to boil for 1 minute.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the salt. Transfer to storage container (such as a mason jar) and allow it too cool for at least 30 minutes before using.
  • Once the caramel has cooled down, carve out a 1-inch circle about 1/3 through the cupcake from the center of the cupcakes and discard cake pieces. Fill the centers with about a teaspoon of caramel sauce. Set aside and then make the frosting.

To make the chocolate frosting:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat hot water and cocoa powder until a paste forms. Add in butter and whip until creamy, about 3 minutes. Once creamy, add sugar and a pinch of salt and continue whipping. Finish with melted chocolate and whip together.
  • To frost the cupcakes, spoon on frosting on to the top of each cupcake. Gently spread with the back of a spoon or a spatula. Finish with a sprinkle of sea salt and a drizzle of more caramel sauce. Serve immediately.


Salted caramel recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction