Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting

A shortcut chocolate cupcake recipe topped with creamy salted caramel frosting.

Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting

Devil’s food chocolate fudge cupcakes with a salted caramel-infused buttercream frosting topped with caramel drizzle and a pretzel twist. I die.

This frosting is on of the best frostings I’ve ever had.  I did NOT want to stop eating it.  I had enough “samples” that I actually had to make more frosting. You have to taste test the recipe before you serve it, right?! The caramel flavor hits all the right notes and isn’t too salty or too sweet.  It’s creamy caramel bliss and literally melts in your mouth.

I was contemplating making salted caramel cupcakes to pair with the salted caramel frosting, but I wanted a bit  more of a flavor contrast.  Caramel and chocolate are like a match made in heaven, so chocolate won. I used the recipe from Amanda for the BEST ever chocolate cake that starts with a….wait for it…. Devil’s Food Chocolate boxed cake mix.  Now, you have to trust us on this one…this is TRULY the best chocolate cupcake.

If you’d like to make a 100% from-scratch, homemade chocolate cupcake instead, I suggest using my homemade chocolate cupcake recipe.

Today’s semi-homemade cupcakes incredibly moist, rich, and so incredibly chocolatey.

But there’s a little secret behind using the cake mix.  You have to forget all of the ingredients that the back of the box calls for.  Instead, add a small box of Jello Chocolate Fudge instant pudding mix, 4 eggs, some vegetable oil, milk and sour cream. That’s it!

This magic combination produces the chocolatiest, most decadent chocolate cake and cupcake I’ve ever tasted.  Every rich, fudgy and moist bite is to-die-for.

Now, many people do not think that boxed cake mixes produce “homemade tasting” cakes or cupcakes. And I agree — to an extent. By modifying the ingredients called for on the back of the box, you can truly create a “homemade” cake or cupcake while still having the convenience and ease of a boxed mix.

After one taste, my friend even said that this cupcake was the best cupcake she’s ever eaten!


Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting

A shortcut chocolate cupcake recipe topped with creamy salted caramel frosting.



  • 1 box Devil’s Food Cake Mix
  • 1 small box Jello Chocolate Fudge instant pudding mix
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup sour cream (or low fat Greek or regular yogurt)

Salted Caramel Frosting

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 20 pretzel twists, optional


Start with the frosting: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Once melted, add brown sugar and heavy cream. Stir constantly over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Add salt. Allow to bubble for exactly 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Beat in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, until you reach desired consistency.

Make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two 12-cupcake pans with liners. Set aside.

Using a stand or hand held electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, oil, milk and sour cream. Beat until well combined, about 2 minutes. Scoop the batter evenly into cupcake liners. I got 20 cupcakes using 1/4 cup measuring cup to spoon into the liners.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the tin and let cool. Once fully cooled, frost cupcakes with salted caramel frosting and garnish with a pretzel twist.

Cupcakes stay fresh at room temperature in an airtight container for 5 days.

Recipe Notes:

*I saved a bit of salted caramel to drizzle over cupcakes.

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.


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  1. I TRIED to make your chocolate cupcakes with the salted caramel frosting… first of all, 1/4 cup of cake mix was WAY too much in the muffin cups., they over flowed as they baked. Second, I cooled the caramel and attempted to beat in the powdered sugar one cup at a time but the mixture turned into a bunch of tiny balls. There was no way to get it to a spreadable consistency. Mine were a total flop. Luckily I had a back up to take to my party.

  2. I absolutely love this recipe and the short cut on the chocolate cake. I followed the recipe perfectly, but my caramel frosting got very gritty and hard. I made it a few times because I was sure I made a mistake and the same result. Any ideas? 

  3. What did you use for the salted caramel you used atop the salted caramel frosting on your chocolate cupcakes? Did you just melt caramel candy? I noticed the frosting doesn’t have actual caramel in it but uses the dark brown sugar. Please let me know! Can’t wait to make these!! Any filling suggestion in terms of caramel or buttercream? Thank YOU! 

  4. Hi Sally!
    I’ve made the frosting 3 times so far. Let’s just say the score is Jacki 1, frosting 2. The first time I could not get the consistency for piping and I accidentally used unsalted butter. The 2nd time I got it and the cupcakes looked amazing!!!! I just made it again last night (I loved it so much!) and again got non piping consistency. Do you know what I may be doing wrong? You are my go to for recipes and I never have an issue with any of them. Help, I feel defeated!!! 🙁

    • Jacki, do you mean it’s a little too thin to pipe the first and third time you’ve made it? Try boiling for 3 minutes and lowering the heavy cream to 1/4 cup.

  5. OMG!!! These cupcakes! Girl, they are SO GOOD, they really shouldn’t be legal! Haha!! I featured your recipe in my Saturday Morning Coffee Cafe post this week.

  6. No matter how many times I’ve made this recipe I cannot get the frosting smooth/light/fluffy. I felt like my arm was going to fall off after beating it for 8 minutes this time and it still came out dense. More doughy than a frosting. It also doesn’t turn out this light color that you have in the pi
    What am I doing wrong!?

  7. Hi Sally! This is my go to recipe for cupcakes and I’ve even changed the flavor quite a few times (lemon & red velvet are my favorites), but I’ve never made this frosting until today.

    I’m not sure what I did wrong but, as others have mentioned, it was extremely thick and I couldn’t mix it with a whisk, so I tried it with my hand mixer and it was still like a paste. I added close to 1/4 cup more heavy cream, and it’s still too thick. How long should I mix it? I mixed it for several minutes. I tried putting a bit on a cupcake to see how it was, and it was like eating peanut butter on a cupcake and was sickeningly sweet. Any tips?? I had to start over and go back to my old stand by cream cheese frosting recipe. Thank you!

  8. When you say beat the frosting, do you mean by hand or with a mixer? Thank you.

  9. I need help with this frosting! The caramel sauce turned out lovely. Though admittedly I used heavy whipping cream instead of heavy cream (perhaps this is leading to my problem?). I didn’t use the 3rd cup of powdered sugar. And it was thicker than I wanted so I added more cream. Admittedly I did pop it in the fridge and it turned into a dense fudge and was useless. My problem is the (pre-fridge disaster) consistancy seems too dense and I am afraid it is too heavy and droopy to look nice on a cupcake. Also, it tastes sickeningly sweet. I think I may be doing something wrong. Any clues as to what I’m fudging up?

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