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

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  1. 10/03/2012 at 6:37 am

    what a brilliant compliment! they do look so professional! and they sound absolutely delicious!

  2. 10/03/2012 at 6:54 am

    Julie these are gorgeous! Your icing looks amazing!!

  3. 10/03/2012 at 7:53 am

    I can almost taste these…

  4. 10/03/2012 at 9:08 am

    I seriously almost just licked my computer screen. WANT.

  5. 10/03/2012 at 9:43 am

    Anything with salted caramel, and I am in heaven!

  6. 10/03/2012 at 9:53 am

    These cupcakes look amazing! Can’t wait to try these!

  7. 10/03/2012 at 9:56 am

    would you believe i’ve never had a salted caramel mocha in my life? either way, these look fantastic + i’d love to get my hands on one right now!

  8. 10/03/2012 at 9:57 am

    Looking good. =)

    I bet they’re waaaay tastier that that “cupcake place in the shopping center”! hehe

  9. 10/03/2012 at 10:09 am

    Those cupcakes look fantastical, Julie! Salted caramel–it can do no wrong, yo. Plus, I LOOOOVE that you used boxed cake mix to dress these pups up.

  10. Pam
    10/03/2012 at 10:10 am

    These are so good! Perfect combination of salty and sweet!

  11. 10/03/2012 at 10:40 am

    these look fantastic Julie!! So glad you are feeling better :)

  12. 10/03/2012 at 11:47 am


    That is all I can say.

  13. 10/03/2012 at 11:51 am

    Now, this I would adore!!!

  14. 10/03/2012 at 11:57 am

    These cupcakes look to die for!

  15. Julie Carpenter
    10/03/2012 at 11:58 am

    These are delicious!! I am lucky to work with Julie, and she shared one with me. Absolutely amazing!

  16. 10/03/2012 at 12:03 pm

    These look so good! I think you should eat one of these with the Starbucks Drink!

  17. 10/03/2012 at 12:19 pm

    Love this recipe! My mom has always added a pudding mix to boxed cake mix and it always makes them so moist. I have to try this buttercream too!

  18. 10/03/2012 at 12:45 pm

    Those cupcakes look gorgeous and fresh looking. You really got me hooked on this – cake mix + choco pudding…what’s easier and fun way for semi-homemade. :D

  19. 10/03/2012 at 12:58 pm

    Oh my god give me the frosting right now… and a side of cupcake ;)

  20. 10/03/2012 at 12:59 pm

    I absolutely love this flavor combo – one of my favorites of all time! I’m not a coffee person so I’ve never had the Starbucks drink, but I’m confident I’d love these all the same :)

  21. Your frosting looks incredible – so high and it sounds heavenly!

  22. 10/03/2012 at 2:11 pm

    I can not even handle that frosting! Looks so good!

  23. 10/03/2012 at 2:18 pm

    The fact that you melted caramel into the frosting is JUST PLIAN GENIUS!!!!! I.AM.MAKING.THESE!!!!

    • 10/03/2012 at 2:30 pm

      Yessssssssssss! You will LOVE!

  24. 10/03/2012 at 2:37 pm

    That frosting sounds INSANE!! Love it!

  25. 10/03/2012 at 2:57 pm

    Woah, that frosting sounds incredible! The whole thing sounds incredible!

  26. 10/03/2012 at 3:24 pm

    Wow, Julie, you’ve really outdone yourself here! I need to make these ASAP, eat like 10 of these, and then burn off the calories at the gym for 2 weeks. It’ll be so worth it :)

  27. 10/03/2012 at 4:20 pm

    You have mad frosting skills and these cupcakes look down right delicious!

  28. Christine M
    10/03/2012 at 5:51 pm

    Hi, can you tell me which size of devil’s food cake mix box you used? The sizes are now varied by manuf. Some are 15.25 and some are 16.5 – Thank you!

    • 10/03/2012 at 6:11 pm

      I don’t remember. I used the Duncan Hines Deluxe Moist devils food one. So I guess find that one & see what ounce size it is? Sorry!

  29. 10/03/2012 at 6:03 pm

    I’ll take two please. They look absolutely perfect!

  30. 10/03/2012 at 10:18 pm

    Wow these are stunning, Julie! These seriously have my mouthwatering. I would have no willpower around these.

  31. 10/03/2012 at 11:42 pm

    If you don’t bring me five of those, I’m making you snuggle with the dog this weekend. Actually you probably won’t have much choice- he’ll probably cuddle with you anyway hahah We need to fit some baking time into the weekend haha

  32. 10/04/2012 at 12:07 am

    omgahh. i love salted caramel flavor. this is a total win ♥

  33. 10/04/2012 at 8:17 am

    that frosting…salted carmel sounds so delicious right now!!!!!

  34. These look amazing! Love the salted caramel/chocolate combination!

  35. 10/04/2012 at 10:42 am

    Hi Julie! I’ve made these exact cupcakes before – you just cannot go wrong with chocolate and salted caramel. Love the chocolate cupcake recipe, too. You get the ease of a boxed mix with a unique homemade taste. It’s brilliant!

    Salted caramel mocha lattes are my mom’s favorite starbucks drink. Anything salted caramel is my favorite though! Beautiful piping job too!

  36. 10/04/2012 at 11:08 am

    Woah…these look AMAZING! I want one. Now!

  37. 10/04/2012 at 1:00 pm

    My face wants to be all up in that buttercream.

  38. You had me at salted caramel. This is my all time favorite fall/holiday flavor! The frosting sounds fabulous!

    If you’re ever in AZ stop into Zinburger – they have a salted caramel milkshake that is to die for!

  39. Christine M
    10/04/2012 at 2:04 pm

    Thanks Julie, that helps alot! these are on my “to-do” list

  40. 10/04/2012 at 2:14 pm

    Oh man! Chocolate and salted caramel heaven! Um, yes Ill take all of them please!!!

  41. 10/04/2012 at 7:44 pm

    I thought I already commented, but these look wonderful!

  42. 10/04/2012 at 8:14 pm

    The fact that you said this tastes just like the first sip of Starbucks is my main motivation to make this frosting ASAP!!! I adore salted caramel…probably a little too much as my jeans are not happy with me either! I love how absolutely perfect your frosting looks:-)

  43. Kim
    10/04/2012 at 9:10 pm

    Could you color this frosting? I need blue frosting for my son’s party.

    • 10/04/2012 at 10:23 pm

      Yeah, you probably could. I just don’t know if the light brown & blue would make a funky color or not.

  44. 10/04/2012 at 9:19 pm

    Okay. You know what? I have to stop visiting your blog until my husband comes home! You are killing my diet!

  45. 10/05/2012 at 9:57 am

    Whoa. You’re good at piping! I might have gasped when I saw that last picture. And I love this combination!

  46. Melanie
    10/07/2012 at 4:41 pm

    These cupcakes are amazing! I just finished them up and couldn’t resist a taste test! I sprinkled a little crystallized sugar on top.

  47. 10/10/2012 at 5:58 pm

    Your cupcake frosting look spectacular! I’ve been practicing but my pipping skill is a disaster :( Love love love your blog by the way!!!

  48. Ana
    10/15/2012 at 3:23 pm

    Wow, another hit Julie! The perfect combination of sweet and salty. I could just eaten the buttercream as it was simply divine. And the cupcake was yummy too! Very moist and full of chocolate flavor. Loved the mini chocolate chip “surprise”. Highly recommended for baking!

  49. Heidi
    10/27/2012 at 5:11 am

    This recipe is amazing!!! The cupcakes turned out delicious and tasted as good as they looked on your blog which is always a thrill! Thank you for sharing!

  50. Kayla
    11/01/2012 at 10:49 am

    Was your frosting taffy like?
    I made this with those little caramel melt balls instead of the candies and my frosting was thick like a soft taffy.
    Too much caramel?

    • 11/01/2012 at 11:06 am

      No, my frosting was stiff & buttercream like. Definitely not taffy-like. Yes, likely too much caramel.

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