Sunday, September 18, 2011

Caramel Filled Caramel Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

I had the pleasure of making cupcakes for our friends/neighbor's son's third birthday.  I love when people request cupcakes above and beyond vanilla and chocolate, they're so much fun to make and eat.  I'm all about tasty cupcake fillings, and what better filling for caramel cupcakes than more caramel.  Seriously, can you ever have too much caramel?

I had some trouble finding an actual recipe for caramel cake, most of the cakes just use brown sugar instead of white, or a mixture.  Finally I found this recipe from Shuna fish Lydon which uses a caramel syrup in the batter.  The cake didn't have the strongest caramel flavor and would have been completely overpowered by the chocolate frosting, so the filling definitely added to the caramel deliciousness.  I used a standard chocolate frosting recipe, and it came out nice and fluffy, perfect for piping.  Some colored sprinkles were a must for this sweet boy's birthday celebration!

Caramel Cake
from Shuna fish Lydon
(adapted to make cupcakes)
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup caramel syrup (recipe follows)
2  large eggs, room temperature
splash vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line 24 muffin tins with cupcake liners.  Sift together flour and baking powder.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth.
Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.  Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl.  Scrape down bowl and increase speed. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform.

Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dry ingredients. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time.  Add another third of the dry ingredients, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dries.

Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds. making sure batter is uniform.
Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 of the way full.  I actually found the recipe made about 18 cupcakes per batch, but you could probably fill the tins a bit less full and get more.  Bake for approximately 22 minutes.  Let cool for about 5 minutes and then remove cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

Caramel Syrup

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup water for "stopping"

In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand.  Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush.  Turn heat on high.  Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.

When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump and sputter, it is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and prepared to step back.  Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly (about 5 minutes).

Caramel Sauce for Filling
from Martha Stewart

2 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon salt (if you like salted caramel increase this to at least 1 1/2 teaspoons)

Heat sugar with the water and corn syrup in a heavy saucepan over high, stirring occasionally, until syrup is clear; clip a candy thermometer to side of pan and stop stirring.

Cook until syrup comes to a boil, washing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush as needed. Boil, gently swirling pan occasionally, until mixture is caramelized and just reaches 360°F. Remove from heat and slowly pour in cream; stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in sea salt.

Use immediately; if caramel begins to harden reheat gently until pourable.

Chocolate Frosting

2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons butter, softened to room temp
5 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, sift together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa, and set aside.
In a large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth, then gradually beat in sugar mixture alternately with whipping cream. Blend in vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. 


To finish, use a paring knife to cut a cone-shaped piece (about 1/2 inch deep) from the center of each cupcake and throw away the pieces (or eat them). Spoon 1 to 2 teaspoons warm Salted Caramel Filling into each hollowed-out cupcake. You will notice the caramel will sink into the cupcake a little, just fill it up a bit more.  Make sure the caramel is completely cool before you pipe over your frosting or it will probably start to melt your frosting.

Use a pastry bag with a medium open-star tip and pipe chocolate frosting onto each cupcake, swirling tip and releasing as you pull up to form a peak. Garnish each cupcake with a pinch of sea salt. Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are filled and frosted. Store at room temperature in airtight containers - do NOT refrigerate.

Linked to:
Sweets for a Saturday
Sweet Indulgences Sunday


  1. I know that the use of caramel as a cupcake filling is awesome! I have had it before but not with chocolate-I can only imagine how delicious these are-Yum!

  2. I love anything caramel. These sound delicious. especially the filling.

  3. I have never made caramel cupcakes, but this is not the first time I heard that it is really hard to get the cake part to taste like caramel. These look really good, great idea to fill them with caramel.

  4. Oh my, I need to have you make me some cupcakes. Wonderful combo. Gorgeous pic.

  5. Yummmm.. I love your take on caramel and chocolate. Delish!! Gotta start making some cuppies, but then my family told me they need a break from cakes. Hahahah.. Till then.. Cheers, Jo

  6. Oh, you did a gorgeous job on these, Corinne. I'm sure your neighbors were so happy. I love caramel, too. And, I'm sure the chocolate just enhanced the caramel flavor. I'd like to invite you to share your recipe on Sweet Indulgences Sunday.

  7. Gosh these look yummy! I'm a new follower from Something Swanky and I can't wait to read more of your recipes. :) Crazy for Crust


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