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cupcake on a plate with more caramel cupcakes and a bottle of milk in the background

Caramel Cupcakes

Caramel cupcakes are sweet and buttery and filled with caramel.  What could be more delicious?

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 16 minutes
Cooling time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 46 minutes
Servings 14
Author Kelsie

Ingredients

Cupcakes:

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons whole milk

Frosting and filling:

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3 to 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup caramel sauce at room temperature, divided + more for drizzling
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk or heavy cream if necessary

Instructions

Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 14 to 15 muffin cups with cupcake liners and set pan aside.
  2. Place the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
  3. Place the butter in another medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer set to medium until very smooth and creamy. Gradually beat in the sugar. Continue beating for 3 to 4 minutes, until very light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in the egg yolks 1 at a time, then beat in the vanilla.
  5. Use a rubber spatula to mix in the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix until just smooth.
  6. Divide batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each cup a little more than half full. Bake 16 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
  7. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Frosting:

  1. Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until creamy. (Or use an electric mixer and a large mixing bowl.) Add 3 cups of the powdered sugar and mix on low to combine.
  2. Add 1/2 cup of the caramel sauce, the vanilla, and salt, then turn mixer to medium and mix until smooth.
  3. If frosting is too thin, add additional powdered sugar. If it’s too thick, add milk. Set frosting aside.
  4. Use a small paring knife to cut a hole about 1 inch wide and a scant 1 inch deep in each of the cupcakes. Reserve the cake you cut out of the holes.
  5. Pipe or spoon about 1 1/2 teaspoons of caramel sauce into each hole. Trim the cake you removed from the holes so it will fit over the caramel as a sort of plug, then replace the plug in the hole.
  6. Frost cupcakes as desired, then refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes to set the frosting. Drizzle with caramel sauce and serve.

Recipe Notes

Be sure both your butter and your caramel sauce are at room temperature before you make the frosting, otherwise the frosting will not mix together properly.

If the cupcakes are too soft to cut into, refrigerate them for 30 minutes to an hour and they’ll firm up enough that you should be able to cut into them easily.