Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes

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    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

    Salted caramel chocolate cupcakes: your favorite coffeehouse drink in cupcake form!
    Prep Time: 20 mins
    Cook Time: 30 mins
    Total Time: 50 mins
    Servings (adjustable, but please note that results, timing, and cookware may vary when adjusting servings): 2 dozen
    Calories: 383kcal
    Author: Julie Chiou
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    • 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


    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tins with baking cups.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Add the remaining 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat until well combined.
    • Put the frosting in a piping bag fitted with a pastry tip of your choice.
    • Pipe the frosting on top of the cooled cupcakes.
    • Store cupcakes in an airtight container for up to 4 days.


    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 :)
    Nutrition Facts
    Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes
    Amount Per Serving (1 Cupcake)
    Calories 383 Calories from Fat 225
    % Daily Value*
    Fat 25g38%
    Carbohydrates 39g13%
    Sugar 33g37%
    Protein 2g4%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
    *Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. 
    Cake recipe from Kevin & Amanda
    Julie Wampler of Table for Two
    Meet The Author: Julie Chiou
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    Recipe Rating


  • Brenda says:

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

  • Debbie says:

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

  • Michele Jones says:

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

    • Julie says:

      It’s the 3.4 oz size.

  • Eileen says:

    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.

  • Jaquielyn says:

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

    • Julie says:

      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!

  • Angela Grishow says:

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

    • Julie says:


  • northern cottage says:

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

    • Julie says:

      Thank you, friend!! :)

  • Mialee says:

    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!

    • Julie says:

      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.

  • Jenn says:

    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?

    • Julie says:

      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.

  • Tracy says:

    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!

    • Julie says:

      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 says:

        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! :)

        • Julie says:

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

          • Tracy says:

            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!

  • Alicia says:

    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.

    • Julie says:

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

  • Bianca says:

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

  • Bianca says:

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

  • Bianca says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

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

  • Rita says:

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

    • Julie says:

      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 says:

        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.

  • angela says:

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

    • Julie says:

      No, it shouldn’t change anything.

  • Christina says:

    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 says:

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

  • Lucinda says:

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

  • Kristie says:

    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 says:

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

  • Mandy Effler says:

    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 says:

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

  • Billie says:

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

    • Julie says:

      Hope you enjoyed them!

  • Shyann says:

    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 says:

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

  • Ashley says:

    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!

  • Laura says:

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

    • Julie says:

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

  • Nicole says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

        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


  • Karen Reedy says:

    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.

  • Crystal says:

    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 says:

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

  • Camille Stern says:

    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 says:

      Awesome! I hope they turned out for you :)

  • Eva D says:

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

    • Julie says:

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

  • Karen says:

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

    • Julie says:

      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 says:

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

  • rehana says:

    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 says:

      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.

  • Adriana maria says:

    Excelente receta,gracias por compartir y enseñar

  • Jenn says:

    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!

  • Anastasia Pelelas says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

        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 :)

  • Haley says:

    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?

  • Donna Cox says:

    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 says:

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

  • Mirna says:

    Hi there. Are we talking soft caramels or candy like Worthers Butterscotch Caramels? Thank you, looking forward to trying this!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Soft caramels!

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