If you’re a salted caramel (or chocolate) lover, this dessert is definitely for you. These Chocolate Cupcakes have a homemade Salted Caramel sauce filling, a rich and creamy salted caramel buttercream frosting and some extra salted caramel drizzled on top. The cupcake is spongey, ‘cakey’, incredibly moist and with a rich natural cocoa flavour, perfect for any kind of occasion. The chocolate and salted caramel combo is such a classic, you can never go wrong with it.
Ingredients used in these moist Chocolate Cupcakes
These are the best chocolate cupcakes you’ll ever eat! They’re rich and super fluffy. You’ll need 10 everyday ingredients to prepare them.
- Eggs: They provide structure and stability.
- Granulated Sugar: Adds sweetness and gives that crumbly texture.
- Brown Sugar: It has lots of flavour and makes the cupcakes soft.
- Vegetable Oil: This is what gives that moist texture. I used sunflower oil, but canola oil or melted coconut oil are great options.
- Vanilla Extract: You can never go wrong with a cocoa and vanilla combo.
- Buttermilk: Adds a slightly tangy flavour and it tenderises the cupcakes.
- Flour: The structure of the batter.
- Natural Cocoa Powder: Don’t use dutch process cocoa powder – it’s neutralised and it won’t react with the baking soda, so the cupcakes won’t rise enough.
- Baking Powder and Baking Soda: The rising agents.
How to prepare Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Filling
You’ll need 2 bowls, a whisk and a 12-cup muffin pan (no electric mixer required). The cupcake batter comes together in just 5 minutes!
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners.
- Whisk the wet ingredients. In a medium bowl whisk the eggs, sugars, vegetable oil and vanilla extract until combined. Set aside.
- Combine the dry ingredients. Whisk flour, natural cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
- Make the batter. Pour half of the wet ingredients and half of the buttermilk over the dry ingredients and gently stir it for a few seconds. Add the remaining mixed wet ingredients and buttermilk and stir until JUST combined. The batter will be super thin.
- Fill the cupcake liners. Fill them only halfway full! The cupcakes will definitely overflow if you fill them more than half and you’ll get crispy edges and they’ll sink in the center.
- Bake the chocolate cupcakes. Bake them for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
- Let them cool, then assemble. Before frosting, the cupcakes should be room temperature. Otherwise, the salted caramel buttercream frosting will start to melt. When they’re ready, cut a hole in the center of each cupcake using a spoon or a sharp knife. Fill them with salted caramel and seal them with the piece of cupcake you removed. Frost them with the buttercream however you like, then drizzle with the rest of the salted caramel sauce.
All about Salted Caramel
I love making my own salted caramel to have through the week and drizzle on everything I can find. That sweet and salty combination is incredible. Start by adding the sugar and water to a medium saucepan. Gently stir it and place it over a medium-high heat. Then, don’t touch it – otherwise, the sugar will crystallise and clump up. The mixture will start changing colours – from transparent, to golden and finally to a deep amber. Add the room temperature butter and stir vigorously. Be really careful! The mixture will start to bubble furiously. Next, slowly pour the heavy cream and whisk at a high pace (it will start to bubble and rise up again). Turn off the heat and add the vanilla extract and salt. Let it cool at room temperature before using. You can prepare it in advance, keeping it tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. When you want to use it, heat it 10-20 seconds in the microwave to make it pourable again.
How to make Salted Caramel Buttercream
Ok, so now that we have our salted caramel, let’s make the delicious buttercream to top our chocolate cupcakes. It’s really easy! If you don’t like the flavour of salted caramel, you can totally skip it and go for a delicious, classic vanilla bean buttercream – swap the vanilla extract with some vanilla beans.
- Beat the butter until light and fluffy on high speed.
- Mix in the powdered sugar on low speed until fully incorporated.
- Add salted caramel and vanilla extract and beat it one more time.
Make ahead and freezing instructions
The chocolate cupcakes can be made 1 day ahead. Keep them tightly covered at room temperature and frost them the day of serving. You can also freeze the plain chocolate cupcakes for up to 2 months. Thaw them overnight in the refrigerator and then bring them to room temperature before frosting and serving. The salted caramel sauce can be made up to 1 week in advance – keep it tightly covered in the refrigerator. I prefer making the salted caramel buttercream the same day I’m serving them, the texture is at its best on the first day. But if you prefer making all the components before using them, you can totally refrigerate the frosting in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Let it get back to room temperature, then re-whip it to bring it back to a fluffy consistency.
Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Filling
For the chocolate cupcakes
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup buttermilk room temperature
- ¾ cup flour all-purpose
- ½ cup natural cocoa powder unsweetened
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
For the salted caramel
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup water
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter room temperature, cubed
- ½ cup heavy cream room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp salt
For the salted caramel buttercream
- 2 cups unsalted butter room temperature
- 3 and ½ cups powdered sugar sifted
- ½ cup salted caramel
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
- Make the cupcake batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vegetable oil and vanilla extract until combined. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients – flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt until combined. Pour half of the wet ingredients over the dry ones, then half of the buttermilk. Whisk gently for 10 seconds. Add the remaining wet ingredients and buttermilk and whisk until JUST combined. Do not overmix. The batter will be quite thin.
- Bake the cupcakes: Pour cupcake batter into prepared muffin pan. Fill only halfway! Otherwise, the cupcake batter will spill over the sides. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
- Make the salted caramel: Add granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan and gently stir it. Place over medium-high heat and don't touch the pan until the sugar has caramelised. The color of the mixture will change gradually, taking about 10-15 minutes. It will start transparent, then a golden color and lastly a dark amber. Do not leave the sugar unattended, once it starts changing color, it will darken quickly. Once the caramel reaches that amber color, add in cubed butter and mix energetically. Be careful – the mixture will start to bubble and rise up. Then, carefully and slowly pour heavy cream into the mixture, whisking vigorously. Take off the heat and add vanilla extract and salt. Let it cool completely at room temperature before using.
- Make the salted caramel buttercream: Add butter in a medium bowl and beat on high speed using an electric mixer until doubled on volume, pale yellow and fluffy. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add powdered sugar and mix until combined. Then, beat in salted caramel and vanilla extract until fully incorporated.
- Assemble the cupcakes: Using a spoon or a sharp knife, cut a circle into the center of the cupcake to create a little pocket, about ½ inch deep. Fill the cupcakes with 1 tsp salted caramel and top with the piece of cupcake you removed to seal. Repeat with all the cupcakes. Frost the cupcakes with the salted caramel buttercream however you like. I just used a spoon to spread it on top of the cupcakes. Drizzle with the rest of the salted caramel sauce.