Caramel Cupcakes

November 29th, 2008

 You cannot imagine how excited I was when I saw this recipe.  Everyone has their irresistable dessert flavor, and mine is caramel.  And since it’s not always easy to combine caramel with my other irresistable dessert item (buttercream frosting), this recipe was a home run in my book.  So in between Halloween and Thanksgiving, I set aside a Saturday afternoon and gave these a try. 

And I will take these cupcakes over Turkey, over halloween candy, over mashed potatoes and over crazy costumes (let’s not even consider the brussel sprouts).  They were that, that good.

I know others made this as a cake, but in dire need of portion-control this holiday season, I went with cupcakes.  And my frosting-heavy preparation methods really needed me to double the buttercream portion, but I restrained.

Next time, restraint will not have anything to do with this recipe.  I cannot even explain how good these are.

November Daring Bakers Challenge
Recipe Courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater
Hosts: Dolores, Alex, Jenny


10 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 Cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 Cup Caramel Syrup (see recipe below)
2 each eggs, at room temperature
splash vanilla extract
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk, at room temperature


Preheat oven to 350F

Butter one tall (2 – 2.5 inch deep) 9-inch cake pan.

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.

Sift flour and baking powder.

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 dry ingredients. {This is called the dry, wet, dry, wet, dry method in cake making. It is often employed when there is a high proportion of liquid in the batter.}

Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds, making sure batter is uniform. Turn batter into prepared cake pan.

Place cake pan on cookie sheet or 1/2 sheet pan. Set first timer for 30 minutes, rotate pan and set timer for another 15-20 minutes. Your own oven will set the pace. Bake until sides pull away from the pan and skewer inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool cake completely before icing it.

Cake will keep for three days outside of the refrigerator.


2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup water (for “stopping” the caramelization process)
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 on heat to highest flame. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.

When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump and sputter about! It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and be prepared to step back.

Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers. {Obviously wait for it to cool on a spoon before touching it.}


12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons caramel syrup
Kosher or sea salt to taste

Cook butter until brown. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.

Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner’s sugar a little at a time. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of cream and or caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all confectioner’s sugar has been incorporated. Add salt to taste.

Tags: desserts · food

41 responses so far ↓

  • 1 HoneyB // Nov 29, 2008 at 7:47 am

    Looks delicious!  I love the browned butter caramel frosting!

  • 2 Elizabeth // Nov 29, 2008 at 7:53 am

    So you went for cupcakes…and wow! They look divine!!

  • 3 nikkita // Nov 29, 2008 at 8:44 am

    gosh those look yummy and very inviting. why is it that I havent had enough of these caramel cakes! (hehe)

  • 4 Caitlin // Nov 29, 2008 at 8:50 am

    That frosting – restraint should be nowhere in that equation – soooo good.  Okay, fine, portion control is probably a good thing 🙂

  • 5 RecipeGirl // Nov 29, 2008 at 8:55 am

    I want one of these for breakfast.  They’re just like muffins, right?  I’m with you… caramel is THE flavor.  Love it.

  • 6 Gretchen Noelle // Nov 29, 2008 at 9:06 am

    Wonderful job with these cupcakes, glad you love caramel!

  • 7 megan // Nov 29, 2008 at 10:23 am

    The cupcakes look excellent! LOVED the frosting!

  • 8 VeggieGirl // Nov 29, 2008 at 11:20 am

    I too am obsessed with caramel, so I’m LOVING this month’s Daring Bakers Challenge, beyond words.

    Your cupcakes are perfection!!

  • 9 Emily // Nov 29, 2008 at 11:36 am


  • 10 Heather Peskin // Nov 29, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    What beautiful cupcakes! The frosting has a nice warm caramelly color.

  • 11 Renee // Nov 29, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    I agree!  This recipe was a winner.  I love the hue of your caramel frosting.

  • 12 Katherine // Nov 29, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    I know I would absolutely love these.

  • 13 Aparna // Nov 29, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    Your cupcakes look perfect. Your caramel syrup must have been dark. The frosting is a lovely colour.

  • 14 Payal // Nov 29, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    Your cupcakes are great color. Looks very yummy!

  • 15 Marce // Nov 29, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    I love your cupcakes and the big swirl of frosting. I need to make this recipe again, it was great.

  • 16 clumbsycookie // Nov 29, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    Nice frosting swirls! They’re adorable!

  • 17 Maria // Nov 29, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    Nice looking cupcakes!! I love the frosting on top!

  • 18 Erin // Nov 29, 2008 at 11:18 pm

    Your cupcakes look so pretty, especially the frosting!  Caramel is a close second to chocolate to me, so I loved these as well!

  • 19 Shaheen @ Ambrosia // Nov 30, 2008 at 12:02 am

    The cupcakes look so perfect. One more challenge conquered

  • 20 zestycook // Nov 30, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    All I can say is perfection!

  • 21 Rebecca // Nov 30, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    I’m so jealous.  I did cupcakes too, and I never got the lovely, rich brown color that yours have–especially the frosting.  Great job with the challenge!

  • 22 heather // Nov 30, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    wow. those are just beautiful! i love caramel, too.  it’s so creamy and delicious!!

  • 23 Elle // Dec 1, 2008 at 12:10 am

    Gorgeous cupcakes! Caramel really is a great flavor to bake with!!

  • 24 Find a Culinary School // Dec 1, 2008 at 3:54 am

    Awesome cupcakes, I liked to try different flavors of cupcakes. I haven’t tried caramel flavor cakes.
    After seeing your recipe, i am really interested in trying these cupcakes.

    Thanks for posting

  • 25 Elle // Dec 1, 2008 at 9:01 am

    They look so pretty!  I came thisclose to making cupcakes, but my luck with cupcakes isn’t the greatest.

  • 26 Paula // Dec 2, 2008 at 9:33 am

    Beautiful cupcakes! I agree I LOVED this recipe! yumm:) Great job!

  • 27 Dani // Dec 3, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    These look and sounds delicious!!!!

  • 28 Dolores // Dec 12, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    I’m so glad we hit a home run for you with our pick for November’s challenge. Your cupcakes look bakery-worthy. Thanks for baking with us.

    And I’m with you… next time throw restraint to the wind. When it comes to goodies like this one, moderation is for monks. 🙂

  • 29 Hanna // Dec 19, 2008 at 12:01 am

    These were definitely fun to make!! I was having a girls get together and decided to do something a little special and have recently not been able to get your amazing recipes off my mind! haha the cupcakes turned out much denser than I wouldve liked however the caramel syrup and frosting are DELICIOUS

  • 30 Caramel Syrup | sugarlaws // Dec 22, 2008 at 7:22 am

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  • 31 Yvette // Jun 19, 2009 at 4:41 am

    For the caramel lovers – a yummy marscarpone caramel sauce to try.  I used this in the cupcake recipe and it was really good.  🙂

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