Devil’s food chocolate cupcakes with salted caramel frosting are a shortcut recipe starting with a box of chocolate cake mix. The wonderful part about this recipe is that even though you’re using cake mix, the cupcakes taste homemade because we are doctoring it up with sour cream and extra eggs. Still, if you prefer, you can use my homemade chocolate cupcakes recipe instead! The frosting is creamy caramel frosting bliss that melts in your mouth. Plus, the shortcut recipe gets topped with caramel drizzle and a pretzel twist.
Tell Me About These Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting
- Flavor: Salted caramel and chocolate are a match made in heaven – a great flavor contrast. Now, many people do not think that boxed cake mixes can produce “homemade tasting” cakes or cupcakes. And my team and I agree – to an extent. If you modify 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. These semi-homemade cupcakes are incredibly moist, rich, and chocolatey. I’m a big cheerleader for homemade, so if you have the time and ingredients, try my homemade chocolate cupcakes instead.
- Texture: This magic combination produces the chocolatiest, most decadent chocolate cake and cupcake we’ve ever tasted. Every bite is rich, fudgy, and moist. Add the dreamy creamy frosting and the crunchy pretzel, and you’re talking texture paradise. Such crowd pleasing cupcakes!
- Ease: Because we’re relying on a box of cake mix, the cupcakes are pretty simple. The frosting requires a little extra time and attention, so be sure to read through that step (step 4) before starting.
Cake Mix with Homemade Taste
I don’t use cake mix often because I find so much joy in from-scratch baking. However, I know time gets tight, especially when life is busy and you need a dessert STAT. I use this cupcake recipe for those times– it’s easier, quicker, AND has a homemade flavor. I usually use Devil’s Food chocolate cake mix, but any chocolate cake mix will be fine. Forget all of the ingredients that the back of the box calls for and instead add a box of Jello Chocolate Fudge instant pudding mix, 4 eggs, some vegetable oil, milk, and sour cream. See printable recipe below for details.
Could I do this with vanilla/white cake mix and vanilla pudding? Yes, absolutely! Just swap the chocolate flavors out and replace with vanilla/white cake mix and vanilla pudding mix.
By the way, my cake batter chocolate chip cookies would be nothing without cake mix! Have you tried those before?
More Cupcake Recipes
- Cookie Dough Cupcakes
- Peanut Butter Cupcakes
- Vanilla Cupcakes
- Pumpkin Cupcakes
- Snickerdoodle Cupcakes
A shortcut chocolate cupcake recipe topped with creamy salted caramel frosting.
- 1 (15.25 ounce) box Devil’s Food or Chocolate Cake Mix (the dry mix)
- 1 (3.9 ounce) box Jello Chocolate Fudge instant pudding mix
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup (120ml) milk
- 1 cup (240g) full-fat sour cream
Salted Caramel Frosting
- 1/2 cup (1 stick or 115g) unsalted butter
- 1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 6 Tablespoons (90ml) heavy cream, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 – 3 cups (240-360g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- optional: 20 mini pretzel twists and store-bought caramel topping or homemade salted caramel
- Make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two 12-cupcake pans with liners. Set aside.
- Using a stand or handheld 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.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and cool completely in the pan.
- Make the frosting: While the cupcakes are cooling, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Once melted, add brown sugar and 2 Tablespoons (30ml) of heavy cream. Whisk constantly over medium heat until sugar has dissolved. Whisk in the salt, then stop whisking as mixture begins to simmer. Simmer without stirring for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for 30 minutes. With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat in 2 cups confectioners’ sugar and the remaining heavy cream. Slowly add 1/2 – 1 cup more confectioners’ sugar until you reach your desired thickness. Add a little cream or milk if you find the frosting too thick.
- Once cupcakes have fully cooled, frost with salted caramel frosting and garnish with a pretzel twist and drizzle of caramel.
- Cover and store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Cupcakes can be made ahead 1 day in advance, covered, and stored at room temperature. Frosting can also be made 1 day in advance, covered, and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. Bring to room temperature, then stir in 1 Tablespoon of heavy cream to thin out before using. (Frosting is thick after refrigerating.) Frosted or unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, and then bring to room temperature if desired.
- Cake Mix: You just need the dry mix in the 15.25 ounce box. Forget all of the ingredients that the back of the box calls for and instead use the ingredients this recipe calls for. (See step 2.)
- Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking the BEST cupcakes before you begin!
Keywords: chocolate cupcakes with salted caramel frosting