These Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cupcakes are made with a moist Dark Chocolate Cake, filled with Salted Caramel Sauce, topped with a rich and decadent Dark Chocolate Buttercream and a sprinkle of sea salt. They're simply irresistible!
You didn't think I would share a recipe for the dreamiest dark chocolate buttercream and not provide a delicious recipe to go with it, did you? I originally had the idea to pair that buttercream with some moist dark chocolate cupcakes, but that seemed a bit too basic for me.
I made a large batch of my Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce that I was planning to use in some upcoming recipes. Since I had a ton leftover, I decided "what the hell?" Let's add some salty goodness to these dark and dreamy cupcakes!
Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
If you're a lover of dark chocolate and salted caramel, these cupcakes are perfect for you! A soft, tender and rich dark chocolate cupcake that's filled with ooey gooey salted caramel sauce that oozes out once you take a bite.
Crowned with the chocolat-iest dark chocolate buttercream, more salted caramel sauce and coarse sea salt — these cupcakes are both sinful and heavenly!
Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
There are three parts to this cupcake: the chocolate cake, the salted caramel sauce and the dark chocolate buttercream frosting. For the dark chocolate cupcakes, I used my favourite go-to chocolate cupcake recipe and replaced the unsweetened cocoa powder with dark cocoa powder for a deeper colour and flavour.
The cupcakes are super easy to make! All you need to do is add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, add some boiling water and you're good to go!
Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce
Next is the salted caramel filling. A lot of people are intimidated when it comes to making homemade caramel sauce, but I promise you it is SO EASY!! It only requires 4 ingredients (excluding the vanilla which is completely optional) and takes less than 15 minutes to make. I go into more details on how to make your own salted caramel sauce in this post, and I've also included step-by-step photos if you're more of a visual learner.
You can use store-bought salted caramel sauce if you don't want to go through the trouble of making it yourself. However, Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce tastes a million times better, in my opinion, and the ooey gooey perfection you end up with is definitely worth the extra work.
How to Fill the Cupcakes
After making our lovely Salted Caramel Sauce, we're gonna use it to fill up our chocolate-y cupcakes! To do this, I used the bottom of a large piping tip (you can also use an apple corer) and I pressed it down into my cupcake to create a hole in the centre. I used to use a small knife to cut out the centre, but I found this new method creates a deeper hole which allows us to add more filling!
Now if you don't want to fill your cupcakes you can skip this step, but it makes the cupcakes so much better. The salty caramel filling paired with the rich chocolate cupcake is out of this world!
And the way the salted caramel just oozes into your mouth when you take that first bite? Words can't even explain. Just take a look:
Dreamy Dark Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Moving on to the decadent Dark Chocolate Buttercream. Oh my God, this frosting is dark chocolate heaven! I made a batch of my Dreamy Dark Chocolate Buttercream Frosting and used this star tip to pile it high on top of these cupcakes.
The recipe makes quite a bit of frosting so you may have some left, depending on how tall you like your frosting swirls. You can store the leftover frosting in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer, or you can do what I like to do which is eat the rest by the spoonful! No judgements here.
To dress these cupcakes up some more, I topped them with more Salted Caramel Sauce. You may notice in my photos that some of the caramel drizzle looks thinner than others. That's because the caramel was a bit too thick for me to drizzle it, so I stupidly microwaved it for too long which made the caramel darker and thinner. Taste wise, it's perfectly fine, but photography wise? A disaster.
On top of the caramel sauce is a sprinkle of coarse sea salt. The sea salt complements these cupcakes perfectly as the salt balances out the sweetness of the frosting, creating the perfect salty and sweet dessert! I can't get enough!
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Let’s get baking!
Dark Chocolate Cupcakes:
- 1 and ½ cups All purpose flour
- 1 and ½ cups granulated Sugar
- ¾ cup "black" or dark unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 and ½ teaspoons Baking powder
- ½ teaspoon Baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 large Eggs, room temperature
- ½ cup Vegetable oil
- ¾ cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
- ½ cup hot coffee or boiling water
- 1 recipe of my Dreamy Dark Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- Coarse sea salt and extra salted caramel sauce, for decorating (optional)
- Make one recipe of my Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce and set it aside to cool.
For the Dark Chocolate Cupcakes:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (177C), and line 1 standard cupcake pan with paper liners and line a second cupcake pan with 7-8 liners. This recipe makes about 19-20 cupcakes.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking power, baking soda and salt. Whisk to combine.
- In a measuring cup, whisk together the eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Add boiling water OR hot coffee and mix until combined and smooth. Batter will be runny.
- Scoop batter into cupcake liners, filling them ⅔ way full. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Remove cupcakes from oven and allow to cool in pans for about 10 minutes, then transfer to cooling racks to cool completely before frosting.
- While cupcakes are cooling, make one recipe of my Dreamy Dark Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.
- Use the bottom of a piping tip or an apple corer to cut a hole out the top of the cupcakes. Fill with Salted Caramel Sauce.
- Transfer frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip (I used Wilton 6B) and pipe a swirl on each cupcake. Drizzle with more salted caramel sauce and a sprinkle of coarse sea salt. Enjoy!
- Leftover cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Bring to room temperature before serving. Unfrosted cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days.
- Frosting can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for several months. Before using — allow frosting to come to room temperature, then re-whip in a stand mixer, adding additional cream or milk until the frosting is smooth and fluffy.
- Salted Caramel Sauce can be made a few days ahead of time and stored in a jar in the refrigerator. Re-heat in the microwave for about 30 - 45 seconds before using.
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