Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes

Salted caramel chocolate cupcakes-your favorite coffeehouse drink in cupcake form!

Salted caramel chocolate cupcakes-your favorite coffeehouse drink in cupcake form!

I’m SO EXCITED to share with you all this cupcake recipe. I truly believe this is the best cupcake I’ve ever made. The buttercream tastes exactly like the first sip of the salted caramel mocha drink you get at Starbucks (well, sans caffeine).

It’s my favorite holiday/seasonal drink and now it’s in cupcake form – brilliant!

I brought this cupcake to so many people. I brought it in for my coworkers and I brought it to happy hour with my friends. Upon my arrival with the cupcake box to the bar, the bartender asked me, “oh, are those cupcakes from the cupcake place in the shopping center?” You have no idea how awesome it felt to tell her, “nope, I made them!” with a big, cheesy grin :) I love that my frosting skills have improved so much. I remember my first few trials with frosting. Oh man, those were the days!

These will probably be the moistest cupcakes you will EVER EVER have. Seriously. Also, in the process of buttercream recipe testing, I ate so much buttercream that my hips are cursing me and my jeans aren’t happy!

Alright, so, if you aren’t in the mood to get up to go to Starbucks, whip up a batch of these and you won’t even miss that green lady in your hand :)

Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
50 mins

Salted caramel chocolate cupcakes: your favorite coffeehouse drink in cupcake form!

Servings: 2 dozen
  • 1 box devil's food cake mix
  • 1 package of Jello instant chocolate pudding
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
For the salted caramel buttercream
  • 15-20 caramel candies, unwrapped
  • 3-4 tbsp heavy cream
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, divided
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tins with baking cups.
  2. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl, mix together cake mix, instant pudding, sour cream, vegetable oil, eggs, milk, and vanilla. Mix very well. Gently stir in the chocolate chips with a spatula.
  3. Equally divide the batter into the baking cups, filling 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 18-22 minutes, let cool for 5 minutes in pan, then remove and place them on wire cooling racks to cool completely.
  4. In the meantime, make your buttercream by first melting the caramel candies and heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once the caramel is all melted, stir in 1/2 tsp. of salt.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add in the remaining 1 tsp. of salt.
  6. Gently add half of the powdered sugar to the butter and beat until light and fluffy. Then drizzle in the caramel while the mixer is on low. If the caramel has hardened up a bit that you can't pour it, heat it up just enough so you can pour it into the mixer with ease.
  7. Add the remaining 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat until well combined.
  8. Put the frosting in a piping bag fitted with a pastry tip of your choice.
  9. Pipe the frosting on top of the cooled cupcakes.
  10. Store cupcakes in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Recipe Notes

The frosting won't be enough for you to pipe as much as I did on all the cupcakes. You might want to double the frosting if you want to pipe a lot like I did, or you can just pipe a tiny swirl :)

Cake recipe from Kevin & Amanda


Posted on October 03, 2012

dinner for two by julie wampler



Perfect for: singles & couples, newlyweds, empty-nesters, college students, YOU!


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  1. Brenda
    12/02/2012 at 4:56 pm

    I just made these & they are amazing. Cake is moist. Frosting is perfect. Thanks for this great recipe!

  2. Debbie
    12/10/2012 at 3:57 pm

    I followed the recipe exactly – they were yummy and the frosting is definitely caramel with a wonderful salt flavor.

  3. Michele Jones
    12/19/2012 at 10:20 am

    Going to try this! By the way, what size box of pudding? There are the tiny boxes and med size boxes…

    • 12/19/2012 at 10:28 am

      It’s the 3.4 oz size.

  4. Eileen
    12/23/2012 at 8:41 pm

    Just made these for my families Christmas Eve party! They’re amazing. I’m sure everyone will devour them in a matter of minutes LOL.

  5. Jaquielyn
    01/25/2013 at 8:39 am

    Found your blog from Katelyn James’ website!! This recipe looks incredible!! Do you recommend any particular brand for the caramel candies?

    • 01/25/2013 at 8:42 am

      No brand, just really any caramel candies you can find. I’ve used Milk Maid and Kraft brands before, though, if that helps you at the store! :) thanks for popping by!

  6. Angela Grishow
    02/05/2013 at 1:26 pm

    What kind of mini choc. chips did you use? Semisweet?

  7. 02/22/2013 at 11:21 am

    happily pinning your yummies – thank you for sharing and making me drool! ♥

    • 02/22/2013 at 11:53 am

      Thank you, friend!! :)

  8. Mialee
    03/12/2013 at 6:49 am

    Hi! These are delicious! I had a hard time with the frosting though. Definitely not able to pipe it. It was very thick and stiff. I could pick up the frosting and smoosh it like a pancake then lay it on top the cakes ha! Ideas of what I did wrong? Too much caramel? Too much/not enough powdered sugar? Over mixing, not enough mixing? Caramel too hot??? I want to take these to a party, but would like them to look better this time. Thanks!

    • 03/12/2013 at 8:19 am

      I think it’s too much powdered sugar. If that happens, you could add a tbsp. of milk at a time until you get it to the consistency you want.

  9. Jenn
    07/25/2013 at 10:01 am

    This frosting is delicious, I made it once before, and now I have a friend requesting it on cupcakes for a birthday party. My question is can this frosting be made two days in advance? If so, what is the best way to store it?

    • 07/25/2013 at 10:42 am

      You could probably make it and store it in the fridge in an airtight container. Then, before frosting, take it out and let it sit to room temperature.

  10. Tracy
    11/18/2013 at 9:16 pm

    Just made these for my husband to take to work. Did you double the frosting recipe in order to get that much on each cupcake? It didn’t see to want to stretch that far (nor did it want to pipe as neatly as yours). I’m not thrilled with the way mine look but they taste delicious!

    • 11/19/2013 at 8:26 am

      Hi Tracy! I’m so glad you enjoyed these, they’re one of my favorite cupcakes, ever! No, I didn’t double the frosting, I just used what I had and frosted about 6-7 of them with the mile-high frosting you see, and then the rest, I just spread on with a butter knife :)

      • Tracy
        11/19/2013 at 11:14 am

        Thanks for replying. Your frosting is good enough to eat with a spoon! I wonder if you’d consider making a note in the printable recipe about the frosting. Since step 9 says to pipe the frosting on, I assumed you had done so on all of them. Might save other cupcake bakers a little frustration if they know in advance that the recipe does not make enough to pipe that much on all of them.

        Can’t wait to hear what my husband’s co-workers think. They got good reviews from my random taste testers! :)

      • 11/19/2013 at 11:48 am

        Thanks for the tip! I’ll go add in a note :)

      • Tracy
        11/19/2013 at 5:47 pm

        Thanks! I should have also told you that my teenage son LOVED the cupcake (without the frosting) and thinks it would be a good cake for hot fudge cake (with vanilla ice cream & hot fudge sauce). We’re trying it tonight!

  11. Alicia
    01/03/2014 at 2:29 am

    I just made a practice batch before my daughters birthday to see how I could make these work at high altitude. It was pretty simple, I just made the adjustments that the devils food cake said to (1/4 cup all purpose flour and 1/4 cup water) and followed the rest of this recipe exactly. They turned out great! Also I got the frosting to dye to a pastel green so I know a darker color would turn out fine as well.

    • 01/03/2014 at 8:31 am

      I’m so glad you were able to modify this accurately for high altitude, Alicia! I hope she enjoys it!!

  12. Bianca
    10/07/2014 at 11:27 pm

    Did you have problems with the consistency of the frosting? I made it and it tastes amazing, but the butter is separating.

  13. Bianca
    10/07/2014 at 11:30 pm

    Are you sure you added 2 sticks of butter and not 1?

  14. Bianca
    10/07/2014 at 11:37 pm

    I think there’s a little butter mistake with your recipe :) Maybe 1 stick instead of 2? I doubled the amount of powdered sugar to fix mine and added more heavy cream to soften it up, and now it’s perfect. Thanks so much for a yummy recipe!!! The cake and frosting are AMAZING!

    • Julie
      10/08/2014 at 8:02 am

      Hi Bianca, glad you were able to figure it out. No, I definitely meant 2 but at least it worked out for you! This is one of my favorite cupcake recipes :)

      • Bianca
        10/08/2014 at 12:30 pm

        Okay, thanks! I’m not sure what I did wrong. Either way thank you for the great recipes!

  15. Rita
    11/02/2014 at 4:45 pm

    How long should I bake them for mini cupcakes? They sound awesome.

    • Julie
      11/03/2014 at 8:13 pm

      I’m not sure – I’ve never done it that way. I’d imagine to just watch it and once it looks done to you, put a toothpick into it and see if it comes out clean. Start with maybe 8-10 minutes?

      • Karen Reedy
        06/21/2015 at 3:51 pm

        I had plenty of batter left over after I put the 24 full size cupcakes in. So I baked up the remainder of batter into mini cupcakes. I baked them for 19 minutes.

  16. angela
    11/02/2014 at 6:41 pm

    Would it change the frosting taste or texture if i put dye in the frosting?

    • Julie
      11/03/2014 at 3:09 pm

      No, it shouldn’t change anything.

  17. Christina
    11/17/2014 at 4:07 pm

    What size Devil Foods Cake Mix did you use? They used to be 18.25oz now, they come in either 15 or 16 oz boxes. Thanks! Looks delicious!

    • Julie
      11/18/2014 at 9:18 am

      I don’t remember what size mine was but you’re fine to use those smaller boxes!

  18. Lucinda
    11/20/2014 at 10:16 pm

    I love these cupcakes sooooooooo much! I love the Salted Caramel Icing! By far my favorite cupcake ever!!!!

  19. Kristie
    11/28/2014 at 11:15 am

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I used the frosting for an apple spice cake and it became a family favorite for Thanksgiving :).

    • Julie
      11/30/2014 at 6:01 pm

      Oh yay! So happy to hear these were a success on Thanksgiving!

  20. Mandy Effler
    12/03/2014 at 9:20 pm

    I have made this recipe many times and it comes out perfect every time! I did increase the icing a bit but that is because we love the icing! There is enough in this recipe if you don’t like mega icing! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe with us! They are a hit every time!

    • Julie
      12/04/2014 at 12:04 pm

      I don’t make these often enough – I need to! :)

  21. Billie
    02/16/2015 at 1:35 pm

    I just put these in the oven… can’t wait to try them!

    • Julie
      02/17/2015 at 7:33 am

      Hope you enjoyed them!

  22. Shyann
    02/23/2015 at 11:10 am

    Hi just to ask, if I were to use caramel sauce bought off the shelves how much should I use? Should I also heat it up & mix with the heavy cream again?

    • Julie
      02/24/2015 at 8:35 am

      Hi, I’m not quite sure. I would say maybe 2/3 cup? You shouldn’t have to heat it up with the cream.

  23. Ashley
    03/13/2015 at 1:51 pm

    My frosting also separated out and got real greasy – I had to smoosh it like pancakes over the cupcakes, but it ended up tasting great! I think now that I am paying for attention to the recipe, I used salted butter instead of unsalted. So that might be a mistake the rest of the commenters made! Make sure it is unsalted! Awesome recipe, thanks!

  24. Laura
    03/17/2015 at 4:22 pm

    Hi there – how would you recommend making the frosting if you already have salted caramel on hand?

    • Julie
      03/18/2015 at 7:35 am

      Hi Laura, someone right above your comment asked the same thing. I said maybe use 2/3 cup of salted caramel.

  25. Nicole
    06/11/2015 at 10:29 am

    I made these yesterday and the cake was great…I had problems with the frosting thought. It separated…is there a difference in caramels? I used Brach’s. It tasted great but was greasy and looked weird.

    • Julie
      06/12/2015 at 7:25 am

      Hi, Brach’s caramel might be too oily but I didn’t test it with that but I know from experience their caramels seem to be more on the oily side and definitely don’t yield a great texture for cooking.

      • Miriam
        04/02/2017 at 4:39 pm

        Well, this is 2 yrs after the comment, but I used Kraft caramels and my frosting also was very greasy…almost like marzipan consistency.

        Love the flavor, but unless you have any other suggestions, I will make my own salted caramel and try again.

        I was really hoping this would work, bc it’s a lot less work than making my own for 150 cupcakes for my nieces I Do BBQ. LOL


  26. Karen Reedy
    06/21/2015 at 3:53 pm

    I am assuming that we should use cake mix without the pudding added (like Duncan Hines) and skip the pudding mix if the cake mix already contains pudding (Pillsbury). Please confirm.

    • Julie
      06/22/2015 at 7:22 am


  27. Crystal
    09/22/2015 at 11:39 am

    These are going to be my next cupcake! I’ve been in a cupcake making frenzy lately :) I only have one question.. What tip did you use for the piping?

    • Julie
      09/22/2015 at 6:42 pm

      Good question…I believe it was an closed-star tip!

  28. Camille Stern
    02/28/2016 at 12:18 pm

    I found your recipe almost 2 years ago when I was living up in WY; I made adjustments for high altitude baking and everyone thought I was a rockstar baker! Your recipe, followed to a tee, has made me an excellent baker :-)
    These cupcakes made me a hit in TX and now I’m now in OK, getting ready to try this as a cake recipe for my grandson, minus the caramel in the frosting. Wish me luck… I’ll let you know how it turns out….
    Still my all-time favorite recipe,

    • Julie
      03/01/2016 at 7:24 am

      Awesome! I hope they turned out for you :)

  29. Eva D
    03/30/2016 at 1:15 pm

    Could I use a bag of the caramel baking bits in place of the bags of wrapped caramels?

    • Julie
      03/31/2016 at 7:48 pm

      I don’t think that’d work, unfortunately.

  30. Karen
    09/03/2016 at 3:41 pm

    How many cupcakes does this make? I’m assuming 2 dozen!?!

    • Julie
      09/04/2016 at 7:44 am

      Sorry about that, I recently converted my recipes to use a different plugin and it didn’t convert over all my words. Yes, it’s 2 dozen :)

      • Karen
        09/04/2016 at 10:47 am

        Thank you so much for your quick response! I’ll let you know how they turn out.

  31. rehana
    10/14/2016 at 5:23 pm

    please advise what to use in place of jello instant choc pudding as i am in the uk and need to check for alternative. thanks

    • Julie
      10/15/2016 at 11:26 am

      You could probably get away with instant custard type thing, if you guys have those there? If it’s like a plain flavor, you could add cocoa powder to it to make it chocolate.

  32. Adriana maria
    01/21/2017 at 11:22 pm

    Excelente receta,gracias por compartir y enseñar

  33. Jenn
    04/16/2017 at 8:35 am

    This was my first time making buttercream frosting and I’m not sure what I did wrong…maybe the caramel was too hot when I added it to the butter but it all turned into a melted mess. It still tastes good, but I’m currently cooling it in an ice water bath…hopefully this can firm it up and I’ll be able to use it…so disappointed!

  34. Anastasia Pelelas
    11/13/2017 at 5:18 pm

    Delicious and easy recipe – so rich and the contrast between the chocolate and salty sweet icing is a home run. Made waaaaay too much icing though – can it be frozen?

    • Julie
      11/14/2017 at 2:54 pm

      Oh no, I’m sorry it made so much icing! Did you double it or do the recipe as is? Someone made the recipe before and told me that there was too little icing so that’s why I put the recipe note in there to double it.

      • Anastasia Pelelas
        11/15/2017 at 5:22 pm

        No worries! I went ahead and froze the extra icing in freezer bags with no air. Look forward to using on the next batch of these cupcakes :)

  35. Haley
    11/15/2017 at 2:54 pm

    I am going to make these tonight but want to make sure my frosting is the right consistency and doesn’t melt or get too hard- do you use hard Carmels and melt them down or like the Carmel chews? Like werthers original?

  36. Donna Cox
    05/13/2018 at 10:49 pm

    I have made these cupcakes twice and they are awesome! They make so many, can these be frozen??? And if yes, do they turn out as well after freezing??

    • Julie
      05/15/2018 at 1:15 pm

      I don’t think these would freeze very well. You could try to halve the recipe!

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