Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream and Caramel Glaze

Decadent dark chocolate cupcakes are piped with a salted caramel buttercream and drizzled in homemade Caramel Sauce with Vanilla and Bourbon for a delicious sweet and salty dessert.

We recently celebrated both girls’ birthdays. Madeline and Kendall’s birthdays are about a week apart from each other, so mid September is a little bit busy with all the preparations. I love birthday shopping for the kids though, especially the girls.

Making special birthday dinner and dessert for family and friends is basically my love language, so naturally this time of year I usually have a new recipe or two to share on the blog.

Just like last year, Madeline requested Chicken Parmesan for dinner. It is easily one of her favorite meals and I usually only end up making it a couple of times a year, so it is always a special treat for her for birthday dinner. We piled our plates high with pasta and homemade marinara sauce alongside the chicken and plenty of green salad.

For dessert, she didn’t have an unique ideas like last year’s request of “chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting and please pour raspberry sauce over them to look like blood.” For the potentially squeamish, that’s Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream and Fresh Raspberry Sauce. They were pretty good if you ask me, but this year’s cupcake is definitely my new favorite.

Madeline said she wanted chocolate cupcakes again but didn’t have any flavor ideas in mind besides that. I said, Madeline, do you trust me that I’ll make something you’ll love?

Of course she does because our kids are all smart enough to know that I understand their tastes and anymore it is pretty rare for me to make something they don’t love. Especially when it comes to dessert.


So, I decided since the Caramel Sauce with Vanilla and Bourbon was such a huge hit with the kids that I wanted to incorporate that into the cupcake recipe somehow.

I made a regular vanilla buttercream, but then I added some of the caramel sauce to it to create a salted caramel buttercream. Then, after piping the chocolate cupcakes with the salted caramel buttercream, I drizzled caramel sauce over top for a Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream and Caramel Glaze.

Oh my gosh they were decadent and delicious. I had to sample one as I was making them. Which was a mistake, because then I wanted to have another little taste and by the time dinner was over I was so stuffed that I didn’t even want to eat one when we actually had dessert.

Madeline, I’m so glad that you had such a great birthday! We love you and loved celebrating your birthday with you this past month. I’m so proud of how you are doing in your new school and glad that you love it so much. It has been so fun to watch you learn and grow and think back over all the progress you make year to year. Welcome to double digits!

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream and Caramel Glaze

Yield: 3 dozen cupcakes

Decadent dark chocolate cupcakes are piped with a salted caramel buttercream and drizzled in homemade Caramel Sauce with Vanilla and Bourbon for a delicious sweet and salty dessert.


For the Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes:

  • 1/2 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate
  • 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups Cake Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 3 large Large Eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups Granulated Sugar
  • 3/4 cup Salted Butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cup Buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup Milk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract

For the Salted Caramel Buttercream:

  • 3 sticks Salted Butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1 - 3 pinches Sea Salt, according to taste
  • 1 ½ pounds (24 ounces) Confectioners’ Sugar
  • 3-6 tablespoons Heavy Cream
  • 6 tablespoons Caramel Sauce with Vanilla and Bourbon, cooled completely to room temperature

For the Caramel Drizzle:


For the Chocolate Cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin tins with cupcake cups or grease using nonstick cooking spray.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave, in 15 second intervals, making sure to stir in between. Set aside to cool down for a bit. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar for 5 minutes, until it is pale and thick. Add in the butter. Mix until combined. Add in the melted chocolate. Now, add the vanilla and buttermilk. Beat until well incorporated.

Add the flour mixture and milk in alternating increments and beat until smooth. Divide batter into the cupcake tins.

Bake for 15-25 minutes (this will vary depending on your individual oven) or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.

For the Salted Caramel Buttercream:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Turn the mixer to low speed and slowly add the confectioners' sugar while continuing to beat.

Once well blended, add in the vanilla, salt, 3 tablespoons heavy cream, and the caramel. Mix on high speed until well combined and moist, periodically stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides with a spatula.

If desired, an additional 1 to 3 tablespoons of heavy cream until your desired consistency is reached. Beat at high speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy.

Pipe or decorate as desired. See Two Tone Frosting for Cupcakes and Cupcake Piping Tricks for piping tips.

For the Caramel Drizzle:

After piping the completely cooled cupcakes with the salted caramel buttercream, drizzle the tops with Caramel Sauce with Vanilla and Bourbon, dividing the caramel sauce evenly between the 3 dozen cupcakes.


For an even richer chocolate cupcake, substitute 1/4 cup cooled decaf coffee for 1/4 cup of the milk.