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Double Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream

Double Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream

I have a thing for cupcakes. (Maybe because they are small?) And I particularly love these cupcakes because they’re made with salted caramel, which means caramel and butter are involved.

blog_image by Julied

blog_image by Julied

I have a thing for cupcakes. (Maybe because they are small?) And I particularly love these cupcakes because they’re made with salted caramel, which means caramel and butter are involved.

I have a good friend, Carrie, who tells me all the time that she doesn’t like salted caramel. So, if you’re like her, you can make the caramel without the salt and it will be caramel buttercream!

I’m so glad to be working with Land O’Lakes again to bring you another recipe. And because this one’s a little special, I consider it a holiday recipe.


You can make your own caramel sauce or use store-bought sauce. If you use regular caramel, you can easily make it salted caramel by adding sea salt to taste.

Also, when I’m making these cupcakes, I usually put the cupcakes in the oven and then make the salted caramel and the buttercream, but you can make the caramel and the buttercream ahead of time - even a couple of days before!

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Sift all of the dry ingredients, especially the cocoa powder, because it always has hard bits in it. Leave out the salt. Mix together.

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Take two tablespoons of the dry ingredients and mix in with the chocolate chips ahead of time, then set aside. I do this to help to prevent the chips from sinking…some still will, but that’s okay. Also, I use the miniature chocolate chips because the big ones sink to the bottom of the cupcake no matter what!

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Cream the butter and the sugar together.

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Add eggs and mix.

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Then, add the coffee, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and milk. Once you mix together, it will look curdled.

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I always carefully add the dry ingredients in two or three batches and stir.

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Add the chocolate chips.

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Mix with a rubber spatula.

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I use a 1/4 cup measuring cup for these cupcakes.

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And then bake at 350 degrees F for 16 to 18 minutes.

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While they are baking, make your caramel sauce. Don’t stir once you turn the heat on. You can pick up the pot and swirl around, but don’t stir.

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Once they are an amber color…

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add the butter and whisk vigorously.

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Then, add the heavy cream and whisk vigorously again.

Remove from heat and add vanilla extract and sea salt and mix together.

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And now for the buttercream! I like to use both salted and unsalted Land O Lakes® Butter for this buttercream.

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After mixing the butter, vanilla extract and powdered sugar, it becomes a regular ol’ vanilla buttercream…

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until you pour in the salted caramel!

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And there you have it!

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Cupcakes that I KNOW you’ll love! A few friends taste-tested for me and they really enjoyed them. Now it’s time for you to make them for your next holiday get together!

If you make any of my recipes and decide to share them on Instagram or Twitter, be sure to tag me @thelittlekitchn and use the hashtag #thelittlekitchenrecipes! I love seeing your posts and photos!

Double Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream

Yield: 24 to 28 cupcakes
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Double Chocolate Cupcakes
2 1/4 cups cake flour 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1 tablespoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 1/4 cups mini semisweet chocolate chips 1 Land O Lakes® Unsalted Butter Stick (1/2 cup)
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup brewed coffee, cooled
3/4 cup milk

Salted Caramel
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons water
1/2 cup heavy cream, room temperature
1/2 Land O Lakes® Unsalted Butter Stick (1/4 cup), cubed, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons sea salt
Salted Caramel Buttercream Icing
1 Land O Lakes® Unsalted Butter Stick (1/2 cup), softened
1 Land O Lakes® Salted Butter Stick (1/2 cup), softened
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
6 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup salted caramel, cooled
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Sift cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix together with a large spatula in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Measure out mini chocolate chips, place in a small bowl and add 2 tablespoons of the dry mixture and stir together. Set said both bowls.

Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, on medium for 2 minutes, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl halfway through with a rubber spatula. Add eggs and mix for 2 minutes (scrape the bottoms and sides of the bowl). Add vanilla extract, vegetable oil, coffee and milk. Mix thoroughly for about 1 minute (batter will look curdled).

Add the dry ingredients in two batches and mix together until they are combined (don’t overmix and don’t forget to scrape the bottoms and sides of the bowl). Add chocolate chip mixture and fold into the batter using a rubber spatula.
Portion out 1/4 cup of the cake batter into each lined muffin tins. Bake at 350 degrees for 16 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center in a couple of cupcakes comes out clean. Carefully remove cupcakes from the muffin tin and cool on wire cooling racks.
Salted Caramel
Add 3/4 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons water to a stainless steel pot (that has a heavy bottom and high sides). Mix to combine and then turn heat to medium-high.
Lift the pot and swirl, but don't stir. Cook until the sugar turns to a caramel color, about 10 to 11 minutes (watch carefully so it doesn't burn).
Turn heat down to low. Add butter (it will be really hot, so be careful) and whisk until thoroughly combined. Again, being careful, add heavy cream and whisk thoroughly.

Remove from heat, add vanilla extract and salt (add more if you like it even saltier) and whisk thoroughly. Allow to cool completely before putting into an airtight container and refrigerating.

Salted Caramel Buttercream

In the bowl of your stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, thoroughly soften 1 Land O Lakes® Unsalted Butter Stick and 1 Land O Lakes® Salted Butter Stick on low to medium speed. Add vanilla extract and mix well. Turn off your mixer and, in two batches, add the powdered sugar and stir until well blended (it will look like a dough). Be careful, the powered sugar can go everywhere! Add salted caramel sauce and mix for about 3 to 4 minutes. I like to cool my buttercream before using. Refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes (overnight even) or just place on the kitchen counter for a little while before icing your cupcakes.

Pipe buttercream over cupcakes using your favorite tip in a decorator/frosting bag. Drizzle leftover caramel sauce on top and serve!



Disclosure: The Little Kitchen has partnered with Land O’Lakes for an exclusive endorsement of Land O Lakes® Butter for their Kitchen Conversation blogger program. This blog post is sponsored by Land O’Lakes.

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