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Chocolate Caramel Corn Cupcakes

Chocolate caramel corn cupcakes are filled with caramel and topped with caramel corn frosting!

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Cooling time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 38 minutes
Servings 18
Author Kelsie

Ingredients

Cupcakes:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs + 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee cooled to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup whole milk at room temperature
  • about 6 tablespoons caramel sauce for filling

Frosting:

  • 2 cups air-popped popcorn from a scant 3 tablespoons popcorn kernels
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup caramel sauce at room temperature
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons whole milk or heavy cream as needed
  • store-bought caramel corn such as Cracker Jack for decorating, if desired

Instructions

Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 18 muffin cups with cupcake liners and set pan aside.
  2. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt together in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes on medium speed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl; turn mixer to low and beat in eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract.
  4. Combine the coffee and whole milk in a glass measuring cup. With mixer on low, add the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the milk-coffee mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
  5. Divide batter evenly between prepared muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 of the way through. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the cupcakes spring back when pressed gently with your fingertip. Allow to cool in muffin tins for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely before filling and frosting.

Frosting:

  1. Place popcorn in the bowl of a food processor and process until it’s finely ground—this will take some time. Set aside.
  2. Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until creamy. Beat in salt and vanilla to combine. With mixer on low, gradually add 3 cups of the powdered sugar. Turn mixer to high and beat until very light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in caramel sauce, then fold in the ground popcorn with a rubber spatula. If frosting is too thick, add a little milk to thin it. If it’s too thin, add additional powdered sugar.
  3. Once the cupcakes are completely cool, carefully cut a small hole about 1/2 inch deep in the middle of each. You should be able to pull a cupcake plug, of sorts, out when you cut the hole—keep these. (I used the wide end of a pastry tip for the hole but you can use a paring knife.) Spoon or pipe about 1 teaspoon of caramel sauce into each cupcake. Replace the cupcake plugs, a bit of cake trimmed off the bottom if necessary. Frost and decorate with caramel corn, if using. Serve and enjoy.