Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream take my Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes to a whole new salted caramel level! With a homemade salted caramel buttercream drizzled with ooey-gooey caramel sauce, these cupcakes will leave you drooling for more than one! If you love cupcakes, be sure to check out my Cupcakes Page for all your cupcake needs😉.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream

Recently, I was asked to make a birthday treat for a friend, and I knew he loved the taste of salted caramel. There is this store by my house that sells these individually wrapped chocolate covered caramels topped with sea salt.  Every time I go there, I look forward to the checkout where I know they are sitting, patiently waiting for me to cave and buy one.  I can barely make it to my car before its gone.  They are seriously mouth-watering.  So that got me thinking. How can I get that mouth-watering taste in a birthday treat? After some brainstorming, I decided to take my chocolate cupcakes and top them with a salted buttercream and caramel drizzle. Well, it worked, and they were a hit!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream

Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream Recipe

There are three parts to this recipe that makes it so perfect–the chocolate cupcakes, salted caramel buttercream, and caramel sauce.

Chocolate Cupcakes Ingredients:

If you have my book, Surprise Inside Cakes,  you know that I love a chocolate cake recipe uses sour cream. I am a big fan of Sour Cream Chocolate Cake and love that I was able to incorporate it into cupcakes. I also love how thick it makes the batter; you can scoop it with an ice cream scoop and every single cupcake will be perfectly proportioned.

The better quality ingredients you use, the better your cupcakes will taste. Try for room temperature ingredients when making these chocolate cupcakes and buttercream frosting.

Piping Frosting onto Chocolate Cupcake

How to Make Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Salted Buttercream

It starts with the perfect chocolate cupcake for this recipe. What makes this recipe different? Two ingredients that are not the “norm” in most chocolate cupcake recipes; sour cream and real melted chocolate. They do amazing things to this cupcake! Be sure to preheat the oven to 350°F while you prepare the batter.

  1. Line your cupcake pan with liners. This recipe will make between 16 and 18 cupcakes, so use one or two pans, if needed.
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave and set it aside. You will mix that in later.
  3. Using a stand mixer, whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and sour cream for about 1 minute.
  4. In a medium bowl, sift the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Add the melted chocolate and butter to the stand mixture and whisk for about 30 seconds.
  6. Next, adding about 1/4 cup of the sifted mixture at a time, mix in the dry ingredients on low until it is all incorporated. Don’t overmix!

Once everything is mixed together, you will notice that the batter is really thick. That’s a good thing! Scoop it with an ice cream scoop and every single cupcake will be perfectly proportioned. Bake the cupcakes for 15-18 minutes, or until the tops of the cupcakes ‘spring back’ when lightly pressed. Let them cool before adding the buttercream.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream Being Piped On

How to Make the Caramel Topping

In a microwave-safe bowl, add the caramels, the butter, and the milk.  Head over to the microwave and set it for 30 seconds.  Remove the bowl and stir, and then pop it back in.  You will repeat the 30-second intervals for between 1-3 minutes total until it is all melted together. You will use this caramel topping in the salted buttercream recipe as well as for the drizzle over the buttercream.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream

How to Make Salted Caramel Buttercream

Having your butter and milk at room temperature helps greatly. Substituting whipping cream for milk is a great idea, but not necessary if you get the butter whipped up nicely. (I do not recommend skim milk in this recipe.)

In a stand mixture, combine the butter, confectioners sugar, salt, and 1/2 cup of your caramel sauce. Start mixing on low until every ingredient is combined. Then, mix it on high for a couple of minutes, or until the buttercream is smooth and fluffy. The milk is added for your desired consistency, so start with just a little bit, and continue to add more milk to make it smoother. Buttercream can be made in advance, so to save some time, make it ahead of time! Store it in the refrigerator for up to a week or the freezer for up to 3 months.

Once each part of the recipe has been made, it’s time to assemble this decadent salted caramel dessert. Top each cupcake with the salted caramel buttercream. Drizzle the remaining caramel on top of the buttercream. Seriously, these are so good!

Cut into Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream
5 from 1 vote

Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Salted Buttercream

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 33 minutes
A moist chocolate cupcake is topped with a caramel salted buttercream and drizzled with caramel, making these Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Salted Buttercream a dream dessert come true!



  • ½ cup (1 stick or 113g) unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • ¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (115g) sour cream, room temperature
  • ½ cup (42g) cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • ¾ cup (95g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  • 1 bag (11 ounces) caramel bits
  • ¼ cup (1/2 stick or 57g) butter
  • 1 tablespoon milk


  • 1 cup (2 sticks or 226g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups (500g) confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup caramel sauce
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk, as needed



  • Preheat the oven to 350°F degrees. This recipe makes 16-18 cupcakes, so prepare one pan (or maybe two) with cupcake liners.
  • Melt the butter and chocolate together in the microwave. Microwave in 30-second increments, stirring in between each time. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, add the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and sour cream and whisk on medium speed until smooth. (about 1 minute)
  • In a medium-sized bowl, sift the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together until thoroughly combined.
  • Add the cooled butter/chocolate to the stand mixer and whisk until smooth, about 30 seconds.
  • Slowly add in the flour mixture, about 1/4 cup at a time with the stand mixer on low.
  • As soon as you are done adding the flour turn the mixer off. (You do not want to over-mix!)
  • The batter will be very thick.
  • Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full with batter. Bake for 15-18 minutes. The center of the cupcake should spring back up if gently pressed.
  • Remove from oven, and set aside to cool for 10-15 minutes before adding buttercream.


  • Melt the caramels, butter, and milk in a microwave-safe glass or ceramic bowl in 30-second intervals, stirring after each melting. Set aside to use in the buttercream recipe as well as the caramel drizzle.


  • Combine the butter, sugar, salt, and salted caramel sauce in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
  • Start mixing on low speed until the sugar is incorporated with the butter. Increase the mixing speed to high and beat until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  • Adjust the consistency with milk as needed.
  • Store unused buttercream in the refrigerator in an airtight container and bring it back to room temperature before using it to pipe or frost.


  • Top each individual cupcake with buttercream and a drizzle of salted caramel sauce.

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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

  1. This sounds SOOOO delicious, but Uh oh! The caramel sauce calls for “1/4 cup butter” with “1 stick” in parentheses. But 1/4 cup is actually 1/2 stick… so should it be 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) or 1/2 cup (1 stick)? Thanks for the clarification!! Looking forward to making these!! 😋

  2. I made these and tje brownies. I thought the cupcakes were on the dry side. Anything I can do differently the next time? I baked them for 15 minutes. The brownies were perfect. Thanks!

  3. Salted Caramel frosting- Just wondering if the this frosting holds its shape well with piping. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi, Shanay! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. We used salted butter for the caramel sauce. Have a great day!

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