Addictive Recipes from a Self-Taught Baker

Salted Triple Caramel Cupcakes

This recipe is the motherload of all that is salted caramel! Caramel cupcakes topped with salted caramel frosting and salted caramel candies.

These are the BEST cupcakes! Caramel cupcakes topped with salted caramel frosting and salted caramel candies. @sallybakeblog

If you like salted caramel, I can tell you three ways why you’re going to LOVE this cupcake.

(1) The cupcake itself is… wait for it… caramel flavored.  A brown sugar and caramel flavored cupcake to be exact.  (2) Swirled on top of the caramel cupcake is a thick layer of salted caramel frosting. (3) Adorning that luscious frosting is a petite salted caramel candy.  It’s a triple threat cupcake.

Sweet caramel cupcake, thick salted caramel frosting, adorable salted caramel candy.  My taste testers (hi Erin and Megan!) said these are the best cupcakes they have EVER eaten.  Hands down, they are my new favorite cupcake as well.

These are the BEST cupcakes! Caramel cupcakes topped with salted caramel frosting and salted caramel candies. @sallybakeblog

Let’s begin with the homemade cupcake.  The recipe yields 12 standard size cupcakes – just enough to share with friends, coworkers, or your family.  After saving a few cupcakes for myself and friends, I brought them into work and they were gone by 9:15am.  Breakfast of champions.

The ingredient list and baking method are both very simple. Forget the boxed mix and make a cupcake from scratch. There is nothing like a homemade cupcake and these are just as easy as a boxed mix, I promise.

Today’s cupcake is caramel/brown sugar flavored. The taste of butter is an essential piece to caramel flavor, which is why butter (and not oil) is used. The cupcakes are very soft and moist because I use brown sugar to sweeten them. Brown sugar lends a soft texture to baked goods. Make sure to use dark brown sugar in this cupcake recipe, which has more profound caramel and butterscotch undertones compared to light brown sugar.

These are the BEST cupcakes! Caramel cupcakes topped with salted caramel frosting and salted caramel candies. @sallybakeblog

The salted caramel frosting. Oh my goodness, this frosting is legendary.  It’s a bit thicker than the salted caramel frosting I’ve made before.  Today’s version tastes identical to salty caramel corn, but in creamy dreamy frosting form.

I followed my original salted caramel frosting recipe, but made a few simple changes. Melt butter, dark brown sugar, and heavy cream on the stove.  You are making homemade caramel in this step. Allow the caramel to bubble and boil. I kept the caramel sauce bubbling on the stove for 3 full minutes, as opposed to 1 minute in my original recipe. This extended period of time browned (but did not burn) the caramel.  Remove from heat and stir in salt.

Allow the caramel to cool completely at room temperature. Do NOT put caramel in the refrigerator to cool. My caramel took about 15 minutes to come to room temperature.  Once the caramel is no longer warm, beat in the powdered sugar with a hand mixer.

These are the BEST cupcakes! Caramel cupcakes topped with salted caramel frosting and salted caramel candies. @sallybakeblog

Once the cupcakes were cool, I swirled the frosting on top with a knife – rustic style! I gave my piping tips a break. The recipe makes enough frosting to really pile it on high. I had some extra frosting leftover that I used to frost leftover cookies. Extra frosting can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.  Allow it to come to room temperature again before frosting anything.

The little caramel candies on top complete the whole cupcake “outfit.” I used store-bought soft caramel candies, cut them in half, dipped them in melted chocolate, and sprinkled them with course sea salt.   I ran out of time, so only some of them were dipped into chocolate.  If you don’t have time to dip caramels into chocolate, simply use store-bought caramels – or any caramel decoration of choice. Or leave out the topping completely!

I also used Rolo candies too. 🙂

These are the BEST cupcakes! Caramel cupcakes topped with salted caramel frosting and salted caramel candies. @sallybakeblog

The caramel/brown sugar flavored cupcakes are soft and tender, but sturdy enough to support the thick salted caramel frosting. I admit, I ate one even before I frosted them! A few hours after frosting the cupcakes, I found that the salted caramel frosting “set” and thickened/stiffened up even more, giving the frosting a candied-like coating. One bite of the cupcake leaves some serious teeth marks into the frosting.

There is SO much flavor into every bite. You’re getting salted caramel from every angle possible, making these cupcakes dangerously good.  Are you ready for this?

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make! 

 

Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Caramel cupcakes topped with salted caramel frosting and salted caramel candies.

Ingredients:

Caramel Cupcakes

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (190g) all-purpose flour (measured correctly)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (200g) packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, must be at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) whole milk (or even buttermilk, do not use skim milk or 1% milk)

Thick Salted Caramel Frosting

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 115 grams) salted butter (or unsalted butter)
  • 1 cup (200 grams) packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 cups (240-360 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
  • additional pinch of salt, as needed
  • salted caramel candies for decoration, optional

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners, plus a second pan with only 2 liners. Fill empty cups halfway with water to prevent the pan from warping. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate medium bowl, beat the butter and sugars together at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla. Beat until combined. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients until no flour remains, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Slowly stir in the milk. Do not overmix the batter.
  3. Fill each cupcake liner only 1/2 way full with batter. Bake cupcakes for 22-23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool before frosting, about 1 hour.
  4. While the cupcakes are cooling, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Once melted, add brown sugar and heavy cream. Stir constantly over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Add salt. Allow to bubble for 3 full minutes, no more. Remove from heat and allow to slightly cool, only about 15 minutes. Do not place in the refrigerator to cool. With a hand mixer at medium speed, beat in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, until you reach desired consistency. Add a little heavy cream if you'd like the frosting a little creamier or thinner (I usually add 1-2 Tablespoons). Add more salt if the frosting tastes too sweet. Frost cooled cupcakes and adorn with salted caramel candies. Cupcakes stay fresh in an airtight container for up to 2 days at room temperature and 5 in the refrigerator.

Cupcake recipe adapted from Cupcakes by Shelly Kaldunski.

Frosting recipe by Sally's Baking Addiction.

Recipe Notes:

*Extra frosting can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Allow it to come to room temperature again before frosting anything.

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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.

 

Try my Apple Spice Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting next!

apple spice cupcakes with salted caramel frosting

 

 See more caramel recipes.

These are the BEST cupcakes! Caramel cupcakes topped with salted caramel frosting and salted caramel candies. @sallybakeblog

 

 

 

384 comments

  1. Hi Sally, these look excellent. Yesterday I bought Trader Joe’s salted caramel sauce and thought this would be a great recipe to use it for. Do you know how much of my storebought caramel sauce I should add to the frosting recipe?

  2. Hey Sally.. I tried this recipe the other day..and guess what .. it was like having a fine café dessert.. my family were fighting over the little beautys.. letterly fighting.. so I transfered it into a whole cake.. I doubled the recipe … but I didn’t exactly get the right baking time.. it was good but not as moist as the sweat little cupcakes.. any advice about baking time.. by the way I made your spectacular triple chocolate cake.. aka devil’s food.. for my son”s birthday.. it was so good that his friends gave me the top chef”s title .. thanks a lot for the great recipes

  3. Hi Sally,

    I used this frosting on your chocolate layer cake recipe and it came out perfect! However it wasn’t enough frosting so I tried to make a half batch of the frosting and the Caramel sauce got really hard. I couldn’t use it to make frosting. Do you know why this might have happened? I’m going to try to make more frosting again in the morning. Thank you!

  4. Could I use this frosting as a filling for cupcakes?  My daughter wants salted caramel chocolate cupcakes.  I was thinking this would make a good filling with a whipped ganache piped frosting on top.

  5. I want to make your salted triple caramel cupcakes into a slab cake I’m thinking to double recipe but not sure about cooking time

  6. Can I make this recipe into a round cake? I wasn’t sure if it would bake the same or not.

  7. I made these twice now, perfect both times. Great recipe

    • I’ve also made this recipe as a 9 inch cake without changing anything. For the single layer cake I doubled the frosting…everyone loves the frosting 🙂

  8. Is this frosting suitable to be piped? It looks quite thick and heavy and unsure if a piped swirl would hold its shape or just ooze off the cupcake!?

    • I pipe it all the time!

      • I’m​ quite sure I followed your recipe and my frosting was still not stiff enough to pipe even after adding 350g of icing sugar (powdered sugar). I ended up making a batch of my normal vanilla buttercream frosting and adding about half of the caramel frosting mix into it. Still had the flavour punch and I could pipe it. I’m kinda glad though because your recipe is incredibly sweet, far too sweet for me!

  9. I tried out this recipe and, unfortunately, the caramel sauce was a total flop! I am completely inexperienced with caramel though, so I am 100% sure it was something I did wrong 🙂

    However, I had the ingredients to make the vanilla frosting from the classic chocolate cupcakes recipe, and it turned out delicious! I thought the vanilla paired really well with the caramel cupcakes from this recipe, which, by the way, are really good! Super soft and fluffy 🙂

  10. Wonderful recipe!!! Next tomorrow i will make it 2nd time for my whole family.

  11. Does this icing taste like the caramel candy?  I had an icing at Small Cakes bakery and it tasted anazing.  I am trying to figure out how to make it.

  12. Could I use this frosting to frost a double layer cake?  It looked like it might slide off the side the cake.  So unsure but would love to know.

  13. I’ve been perusing all your cupcake recipes and drooling… I think I need to make your dark chocolate cupcakes and top with this salted caramel frosting, then dip in the dark chocolate coating used in your peanut butter hi hat cupcakes… mmmm

  14. Awesome recipe, I’ve made it twice now and both times it turned out great.
    Many people have told me that they were the ”best cupcakes they have ever had”!

    The recipe ended up making 15 cupcakes for me.
    I had to use light brown sugar because dark is unavailable in Germany, but still tasted great!
    Thanks for providing the ingredients measured in grams, cups are also not common here 🙂

    Thanks for a great recipe!

  15. I have had this recipe bookmarked for a long time and finally made this today on whim. So, so sad I waited so long to make these. They are TO DIE FOR, and are definitely in my top three favorite cupcake recipes. Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe!

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