Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes

Close-up of chocolate caramel cupcake served on a wooden board

These moist and easy chocolate cupcakes have a pleasant coffee note and are topped with the world’s best caramel frosting. Everyone who tries them says “Mmmmm!” after the first bite, so you should give them a try too!

Simple and Easy Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes

This recipe has undergone many changes (nothing new here!), as I tried to make it fancier by adding filling or drizzling it with caramel sauce, adding salt flakes, or changing the caramel frosting. However, each time I tried, there was always too much of something, like being too rich, too sweet, too salty, or just too heavy to eat. This process reminded me that simple things are usually the best, so I decided to stick with a simpler version that tastes amazing and is super easy to make.

Chocolate caramel cupcakes on a dark background

Easy and TASTY Caramel Frosting

This caramel frosting is one of my favorites. It takes just a few minutes to make, and you don’t need to prepare caramel sauce in advance. Simply open a can of condensed caramelized milk. This frosting is not too buttery or rich, but it pipes like a dream and holds its shape. While it’s also delicious on its own, I think the combination of coffee and caramel is absolutely heavenly. Adding a bit of coffee will make this frosting incredibly tasty. If you’re not a coffee drinker or are concerned about caffeine, I recommend using decaffeinated coffee instead of skipping it altogether.

Close-up of chocolate caramel cupcake served on a wooden cutting board
Chocolate caramel cupcakes
Chocolate caramel cupcakes
Cut chocolate caramel cupcake, close-up of a cupcake texture

Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes

Close-up of chocolate caramel cupcake served on a wooden board

These moist and easy chocolate cupcakes have a pleasant coffee note and are topped with the world’s best caramel frosting. Everyone who tries them says “Mmmmm!” after the first bite, so you should give them a try too!

  • Prep Time15 min
  • Bake / Cook Time25 min
  • Total Time40 min
  • Yield12 cupcakes

Ingredients

Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 50 ml / 1,7 fl oz strong black coffee (preferably espresso)
  • 25 g / 0,9 oz natural cocoa powder
  • 10 ml / 0,3 fl oz rum or brandy
  • 150 g / 5,3 oz unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 200 g / 7 oz light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs (~120-140 g / 4,2-4,9 oz without shells)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 160 g / 5,6 oz wheat flour (cake or plain flour)
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ⅛ tsp salt

Caramel Frosting

  • 260 g / 9,2 oz caramelized condensed milk
  • 130 g / 4,6 oz unsalted butter (softened)
  • 15 ml / 0,5 oz / 1 tbsp strong black coffee (preferably espresso)
  • ⅛ tsp salt

Directions

Chocolate Cupcakes

1

Prepare coffee and till it’s still hot pour it onto cocoa powder. Add rum and mix everything well till you get an even melted chocolate-like consistency. Set aside to cool.

Cocoa powder bloomed with coffee and mixed with rum

2

Preheat the oven to 160°C / 320°F and line a cupcake pan with 12 standard-sized cupcake liners (bottom diameter ~5 cm / 2 inch).

3

In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt well. Set aside.

Flour and baking powder mixed in a glass bowl

4

In a separate bowl, cream room-temperature butter with sugar for a few minutes until light and fluffy.

Butter creamed with brown sugar in glass bowl

5

Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until combined.

Eggs added into a cupcake batter

6

Add cooled coffee-cocoa mixture and vanilla extract. Mix until combined.

Bloomed cocoa powder added into a cupcake batter

7

Sift flour with baking powder into the batter and mix everything with a silicone spatula or a spoon just until combined.

Flour sifted into a cupcake batter

Ready chocolate cupcake batter

8

Distribute the batter between 12 standard-sized cupcake liners (bottom diameter ~5 cm / 2 inch). You should have about ⅔ of the liners filled.

Chocolate cupcake batter distributed between 12 cupcake liners

9

Bake in the middle rack of the oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.

10

Remove baked cupcakes from the pan and transfer them to a rack to cool completely.

Caramel Frosting

1

Prepare coffee and set aside to cool.

2

Whip room temperature caramelized condensed milk with a handheld or a stand mixer until it gets soft and its consistency is even.

Caramelized condensed milk in a glass bowl

Whisked caramelized condensed milk in a glass bowl

3

Add softened butter and whip further until everything is well combined.

Caramelized condensed milk mixed with softened butter

4

Add cooled coffee and salt and mix until everything is well combined.

Caramel frosting in a glass bowl

5

If the frosting looks slightly too thin to be piped, pop it into the fridge until it firms up a bit, remix by hand before using.

Frost the cupcakes

1

After the cupcakes have cooled completely, transfer the caramel frosting into a piping bag and decorate the cupcakes.

2

Serve immediately or keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Let them come to room temperature before serving.

notes

  • If you are concerned about consuming caffeine, use decaffeinated coffee or change to the same amount of hot water for cupcakes. For the caramel frosting, use decaffeinated coffee or skip coffee altogether.
  • Lower baking temperature and slightly longer baking time help cupcakes to rise more evenly. 160°C / 320°F worked best for me in this case, but you can slightly adjust the temperature according to your oven.
  • While making the caramel frosting, it’s important to start with whipping caramelized condensed milk alone. If you skip this step or start with whipping butter, you will end with a lot of lumps of caramelized condensed milk and it will be impossible to reach even frosting texture.
Close-up of chocolate caramel cupcake served on a wooden cutting board
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