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.

caramel cupcakes topped with salted caramel frosting and caramel candies

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.

caramel cupcakes topped with salted caramel frosting and caramel candies

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.

caramel cupcakes topped with salted caramel frosting and caramel candies

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.

caramel cupcakes topped with salted caramel frosting and caramel candies

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. 🙂

caramel cupcakes topped with salted caramel frosting and caramel candies

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! 

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caramel cupcakes topped with salted caramel frosting and caramel candies

Salted Caramel Cupcakes

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 23 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 12-14 cupcakes
  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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


Ingredients

Caramel Cupcakes

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (188g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 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, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) whole milk*

Thick Salted Caramel Frosting

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 115g) salted or unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (200g) packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 23 cups (240-360g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • salt, to taste
  • optional: salted caramel candies for decoration

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). 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.

Notes

  1. Milk: You can also use buttermilk– do not use skim milk or 1% milk.
  2. Frosting: Extra frosting can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Allow it to come to room temperature again before frosting anything.
  3. Cupcake recipe adapted from Cupcakes by Shelly Kaldunski, frosting recipe by Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Keywords: salted caramel cupcakes

2 images of caramel cupcakes topped with salted caramel frosting and caramel candies

35 Comments

  1. Wow! Sally, I just made these and OH.MY.GOODNESS. These are FANTASTIC! I think I have a new favorite cupcake!! Salted caramel is my new addiction and I had to bake these. The cupcakes are delicious, I would even consider eating them without the icing. The icing is just as tasty, luckily I have a little extra so I’ll have to think of something to add it to :), these literally taste like they came from a fancy bakery, thanks for the great recipe!!

  2. Just made these for my Dad for fathers’ day. He loves them and they are delicious! Thank you : )

  3. Turned out perfectly. It’s obvious you have worked hard to develop such a quality recipe, thanks for sharing it – they are absolutely divine!

  4. Can I use half and half instead of heavy cream for the frosting?

    1. No, heavy cream must be used to make the caramel.

  5. Hi. Can this frosting be used to ice a two layer chocolate cake? Will it be enough?

    1. It won’t be enough – I suggest doubling the recipe.

  6. Nila @ The Tough Cookie says:

    Hi Sally, I know you’ve posted this recipe ages ago, but I have a quick question about the frosting. Or rather, about the frosting technique. In the post you mention that you frosted these cupcakes with a knife, rustic style, but how though? I’ve tried it a couple of times and I could never get the frosting to look so perfectly swirled.

    I’d love some tips, because I really like the look of these cupcakes 🙂

    1. Nila, this is a very thick frosting which makes it easy to have it look a little “rustic.” I simply swirl the frosting. Pile some in the center and then work it around in a circular motion. That’s all I do!

  7. These were hands down, the most delicious cupcakes I’ve ever made. They were so good and turned out so great.

  8. Oh my goodness. These were the BEST cupcakes I have ever made. Everyone (including me) loved them. Thanks!

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

  10. 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!?

    1. I pipe it all the time!

  11. This is my go to recipe for cupcakes. I have made and taken these cupcakes to many occasions and I always get rave reviews. Excellent!

  12. Hi Sally!

    I am about to bake these cupcakes. I just wanted to clarify whether to let the caramel cool slightly or completely. In the top description, it states to cool completely. In the recipe instructions, it states to slightly cool. Thanks for your help! These look so yummy!

    1. Hi Cindy, sorry for the confusion! You want it to come about to room temperature – for me this took about 15 minutes. Hope this helps!

  13. Hi Sally!
    I’ve been looking for an easy salted caramel cake recipe and came across your cupcake recipe and it sounds amazing! I was wondering if I can use a double 12 cupcakes batter and make a two layers, 8 inch round cake with it?

    1. Hi Abeer! My suggestion is to make 2 separate batches. There will be plenty of batter for 3 8-inch cakes. For only 2 8-inch cakes, you’ll need to 1.5x the recipe.

  14. Hi, I want to make caramel cupcakes but not salted! If I leave the salt out of the frosting will it still taste OK?

    1. You can certainly leave out the pinch of salt and then taste it and add it in if you need it to cut some sweetness.

  15. Thank you for this wonderful recipe that i used to bake a festive cake for our Chinese New Year’s gathering today. Moist cake and the salted caramel frosting is a top hit with the children and young ones!

  16. I made some Salted caramel cupcakes a couple of months ago and they paled in comparison to these. Oh my goodness these rock when it comes to taste and texture this will be my go to recipe from now on when somebody asks for salted caramel the frosting is amazing thank you so much for this recipe.

  17. The cake was incredible. Thank you!

  18. I’m a very novice baker, but I am obsessed with your recipes! I made these caramel cupcakes last night topped with your chocolate cream cheese frosting…UN.BE.LIEVABLE.

    My husband and I ate 3. A piece! Thank you for your amazing recipes!!

  19. I’ve made and enjoyed many of your recipes and was so excited to try this one but it is wayyyyy too much. The cupcakes in their own are tasty, but extremely sweet and a little heavy. I also didn’t understand what made them caramel — the taste is brown sugar to me. The caramel frosting is so sweet I couldn’t eat the frosted cupcake. I do have a huge sweet tooth but these are overkill. I’m picking the frosting off to try them with something lighter like smbc or maybe even just barely sweetened whipped cream. Hopefully they’ll be edible that way.

    1. Hi J! Thank you so much for trying this cupcake recipe and for leaving your feedback, too! Sorry it didn’t work out for you.

  20. Hi Sally! Can i replace the butter with margarine, and heavy cream with whipped cream? Thanks

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Angel, We don’t recommend using margarine for this recipe. For the frosting whipping cream is fine!

  21. Frosting was way too sweet and overshadowed the cupcakes completely. I usually like Sally’s recipes but this one didn’t do it for me!

  22. For the 1st time I sadly got negative feedback on my cake with these 🙁 Was told the cupcake itself was just too overpoweringly sweet. The texture was good though.

  23. I see this recipe was posted years ago – but when I Googled Salted Caramel Cupcakes it was one that came up – and I know Sally has great recipes. Oh my gosh it was fantastic! I doubled the recipe for my friend’s birthday and had only rave reviews from all 20 people who had one! It was the best cupcake I’ve ever had, and the icing was so delicious – the texture was almost like fudge – which was actually great for transport as it thickened enough to be very stable! And it was a super crazy hot humid day and any other icing would have been a runny mess. So not only were they the most delicious cupcakes ever but won in practicality too! Thanks so much for your recipes – they’re brilliant!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      We’re so glad to hear these cupcakes were a hit, Taryn! Thank you for giving this recipe a try and reporting back.

  24. Juliette M Reed says:

    Dear Sally,
    Do you think I could use cake flour , maybe even half? Just to lighten the cake crumb. Love all your recipes.
    Thank you,
    Juliette Reed

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Juliette, That should be just fine with this recipe. Let us know if you try it!

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