Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting

There’s a famous cupcake shop in Seattle called Cupcake Royale. They have some of the best cupcakes I’ve ever tried – they’re moist, soft, piled high with frosting, and basically heaven in adorable cupcake form. Plus, you can get a delicious milkshake to go with your cupcake. Because clearly, that’s very necessary.

The last time I was in Seattle I did some very strenuous taste test. And after a very scientific, meticulous study – their chocolate cupcake with caramel frosting was my favorite. It has a soft cake crumb and delicious chocolate flavor that’s rich without being overbearing. Then it’s topped with thick, creamy salted caramel buttercream that’s somewhere in between caramel sauce and caramel fudge and out of control delicious.

I never use oil in vanilla cupcakes (you need butter for more flavor). But you don’t need the extra flavor in chocolate cupcakes. And since oil is liquid at room temperature instead of butter (which is solid) – oil is perfect for chocolate cupcakes because it keeps the crumb so moist and light. Then buttermilk is key for a soft, delicate texture with zero dry cupcake crumbs.

Then for the best chocolate flavor, we only need cocoa powder for this recipe. I like to use dutch process cocoa for a richer taste. Then we’re adding boiling water to the batter because it makes the cocoa “bloom” which basically means that it intensifies and improves the chocolate factor.

Then for the caramel frosting. Ok – it’s delicious. It’s rich. It’s filled with caramel goodness. And it’s soooo creamy. I’ve seen quite a few caramel frosting recipes that use brown sugar – but did you know that the difference between caramel and butterscotch is that caramel uses white sugar and butterscotch uses brown sugar????


  • Chocolate Cupcakes
  • 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil , or canola
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • Salted Caramel Sauce
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter , cut into 5-6 pieces
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream , cannot be substituted for milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Caramel Frosting
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter , softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup salted caramel sauce
  • 2-3 tablespoons cream , as needed


  1. Chocolate Cupcakes
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line a muffin pan with muffin papers.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder & salt.
  4. In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat together the oil, sugar, egg, and vanilla extract (about 1 minutes). Carefully beat in the buttermilk.
  5. Mix in the flour mixture about 1/2 at a time, turning off the mixer and scraping down the sides of the bowl in between.
  6. ..................................

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