These Salted Caramel Cupcakes are fluffy, moist, and full of caramel flavor! Garnish with flaky sea salt for the perfect salted caramel topping!
What’s in this Salted Caramel Cupcake Recipe?
If you love salted caramel, then you are going to love these moist cupcakes with a rich caramel frosting. The sweet salted caramel frosting on top of a fluffy cupcake makes for the most delicious cupcake!
- All-Purpose Flour: Give these cupcakes structure and texture.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar sweetens the cupcakes, while powdered sugar sweetens the frosting without making it gritty.
- Baking Powder: Gives theses cupcakes their light and fluffy texture.
- Vegetable Oil: Adds moisture to these cupcakes without impacting the flavor. Any neutral oil will work here.
- Milk: Adds moisture to the cupcakes. You can use any milk you like, including plant-based milk.
- Eggs: Add structure and richness to the cupcakes.
- Vanilla Extract: Gives the cupcakes a rich vanilla flavor and enhances the caramel flavor of the frosting.
- Unsalted Butter: Gives the frosting structure.
- Caramel Sauce: Adds a rich caramel flavor to the frosting.
Pro Tip: For lighter, fluffier cupcakes, use cake flour in place of all-purpose.
Variations on Sea Salt Caramel Cupcakes
- Caramel Apple Cupcakes: Add small pieces of diced apple to the batter.
- Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes: Add a tablespoon of cocoa powder to the batter for a rich chocolate flavor.
- Espresso Salted Caramel Cupcakes: Add a shot of espresso or a tablespoon of instant espresso powder to the batter for a delicious coffee-infused cupcake.
- Banana Salted Caramel Cupcakes: Add mashed ripe bananas to the batter for a sweet and fruity twist on the classic.
- Maple Salted Caramel Cupcakes: Add a tablespoon of maple syrup to the batter for a delicious fall twist. Sprinkle the frosted cupcakes with chopped walnuts.
If your cupcakes are a bit flat, that’s most likely because you didn’t add enough baking powder. Also, be sure to check the expiration date on your baking powder! If it’s expired, it just won’t do the trick.
Dry cupcakes can be caused by 2 things. You may have measured the ingredients incorrectly, or you might have overmixed the batter. It’s important to scoop and level your ingredients if you’re not using a scale, and it’s important to have a light hand when mixing the batter.
If your buttercream frosting is too thin, chill it for 10-20 minutes, then whip again. If it is still too thin, add powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it reaches the desired consistency. If your buttercream is too thick, add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it reaches the desired consistency.
If your buttercream looks curdled, it is likely too cold. Place the buttercream in a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water until the edges begin to melt, then whip again until it comes together.
How to Make Ahead and Store
These salted caramel cupcakes can be made up to 1 day in advance of when you plan to serve them. Store the cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature.
Store leftover salted caramel cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
How to Freeze
I recommend freezing the frosting and cupcakes separately. Freeze the cupcakes in an airtight container for up to 3 months, and freeze the frosting in a Ziplock bag for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before assembling. I recommend rewhipping the frosting before using.
I like to decorate these cupcakes with a drizzle of salted caramel sauce and a few flakes of sea salt. You can also top them with chopped caramel candies, caramel baking chips, or Rolos or Milk Duds. To enhance that salty-sweet flavor even more, sprinkle each cupcake with some Milky Way puppy chow!
Salted Caramel Cupcakes Recipe
For the Cupcake
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour 180 grams
- 1 cup granulated sugar 200 grams
- 1 teaspoon baking powder 4 grams
- ½ cup vegetable oil 100 grams
- ½ cup milk 114 grams, room temperature
- 2 large eggs 100 grams, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 4 grams
For the Cupcake
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line a 12-count cupcake tin with paper liners. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk the flour, granulated sugar, and baking powder together.1½ cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder
- In another bowl, mix the vegetable oil, milk, eggs, and vanilla extract together.½ cup vegetable oil, ½ cup milk, 2 large eggs, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix to combine. Make sure to mix just until no large lumps of flour remain– you don’t want to overmix.
- Divide the batter evenly between the muffin tins, filling ⅔ full (I used a ¼ cup cookie scoop to make sure they’re all the same size).
- Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool.
For the Frosting
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and vanilla extract together on medium speed until the vanilla is fully combined.½ cup unsalted butter, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the powdered sugar. If you add it all at once, you’ll end up with a cloud, so make sure to add it gradually.2½ cups powdered sugar
- Once all of the powdered sugar has been incorporated, add ¼ cup of salted caramel.½ cup salted caramel sauce
- Turn the mixer to medium-high speed and beat the frosting until it becomes smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with your choice of tip and set it aside until ready to use. I used a Wilton 2D tip, but you can use anything you like!
- Drizzle the cupcakes with the remaining salted caramel, if desired.
- For lighter, fluffier cupcakes, use cake flour in place of all-purpose.
- You can use any neutral oil in these cupcakes, such as canola or coconut. You can also use an equal amount of melted butter.
- Although I recommend using whole milk, you can use any milk you have on hand, including plant-based milks. For tangier, more tender cupcakes, try buttermilk!
- Do not overmix the cupcake batter, or else the cupcakes will be tough!
- Make sure to use room temperature ingredients for the buttercream; otherwise, it could end up lumpy.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting, or the frosting will melt off.