Salted Caramel Cupcakes with Chocolate Bourbon Buttercream

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…But first, a random update: After thirteen days of owning our first home, working on it from sunrise to sunset, spending too many dollars and time at Home Depot, and medicating numerous minor injuries, one thing has become crystal clear to my husband and I: Owning a house is hard work, but we are completely, utterly smitten with our new space. All day every day since we turned the key on June 1 has been spent painting, assembling, cleaning, and improving this place to make it a home. Though there’s still more to do, the pieces are slowly but surely coming together and I’m excited to eventually show you more! Thank you so, so much for all of your well wishes and kind words, especially those Texans welcoming me to your home state! Your encouragement has made me smile when I’ve needed it the most.

Now, onto the chocolate!

Sea Salt Caramel Cupcakes

When dinner burns, housework never seems done and life generally just isn’t going your way, there’s always dessert. Make it yourself, or go out and get it however you can. Just rejoicing in one simple, heavenly bite of something chocolaty, cakey and down right delicious can make a bad day go right.

Caramel Cupcakes Recipe

Life has been anything but fancy lately, but I wanted to inject a little sweetness into our daily routine with these sinful, scrumptious cupcakes. The soft cake, filled with sweet homemade caramel was perfectly moist. Swirled with the rich chocolate buttercream with a hint of deep, dark bourbon flavor, they were to die for.

Salted Candied Caramel Rounds

These little candied caramel rounds didn’t hurt the look of the cupcakes, either! I created them by just drizzling a little caramel onto a lined baking sheet (either parchment or silicone lining are fine), sprinkling a little coarse salt on top, and letting them harden. Then, I just gently scooped them up and stuck ‘em into the cupcake. Fancy schmancy and super simple. Trust me, if I could do it, you can too!

Caramel Cupcakes

Whether as a special Father’s Day treat for Dad, or as a sinfully yummy sweet for yourself, family or friends, these cupcakes will hit the spot! The cake is fluffy and flavorful, and the chocolate bourbon buttercream is like nothing you’ve ever tasted. Try them for yourself and you’ll see what you’ve been missing!

Salted Caramel Cupcakes with Chocolate Bourbon Buttercream

Servings 15 cupcakes

Ingredients

Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk

Chocolate Bourbon Buttercream:

  • 8 oz. unsweetened chocolate chopped
  • 6 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 16 Tbsp. 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 6 Tbsp. milk plus more, if needed
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. good-quality bourbon whiskey

Candied Salted Caramel Rounds:

  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2-4 tablespoons of large-crystal sugar

Instructions

Cupcakes:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line muffin tins with papers. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  • Cream butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until pale fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated.  Add vanilla.  Mix and scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and beating until combined after each.
  • Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each about halfway full.  Bake for about 25 minutes. When done, transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely.

Chocolate Bourbon Buttercream:

  • Melt the chocolate and cool to room temperature.
  • With an electric mixer, combine the confectioners' sugar, butter, milk, vanilla and salt, and beat on low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes, then reduce the speed to low. Add the chocolate and bourbon, and beat until combined, then increase the speed to medium and beat for 1 minute more.
  • If the frosting is dry, add more milk, 1 tsp. at a time, until it is creamy but still holds peaks.

Candied Salted Caramel Rounds:

  • Lay out a large piece of parchment on your work surface and spray with cooking oil (such as canola). Fill a large tub (or your sink) partially full of ice water.
  • Put sugar, salt and cold water in a heavy pan; stir over low heat until sugar dissolves.  Increase heat and bring syrup to a boil.  Lower heat slightly and swirl the pan once or twice so the syrup colors evenly; do not stir.  When caramel is a deep amber color, plunge the base of pan into iced water for about 2 seconds to stop further cooking.
  • Dip a spoon in the caramel and let it fall onto the parchment paper in a drizzle.  Move the spoon in a circular motion as the syrup falls from the spoon. Repeat 15 times.  When caramel has hardened (it will still be sticky) sprinkle over large-crystal sugar.  Remove from paper and adorn cupcakes.

Join the Conversation

  1. These look so delicious! I can’t believe you’re finding time to bake in the midst of moving. You rock! :)

  2. Congrats on your new home! We just moving into a new home on June 1st as well and like you, have been working day and night to make it ours :)
    Best of luck :)

    p.s. those cupcakes look amazing!

  3. These are so beautiful!

    Making a new home your own is SUCH hard work, but so rewarding :)

  4. All I can say is wow! These are so cute and how are you making time to bake! Can’t wait to see pictures of the new house!

  5. These are beautiful! Love the salted caramel idea :)

  6. Moving is a BIG ordeal, especially when you actually have to work on the house a little bit! We had to do quite a bit of work, but fortunately, our house is pretty small :) so it didn’t take as long!

    And I’ve been waiting for this cupcake recipe since you posted the teaser on fb! These look awesome!

  7. How fun are these!?! They look delicious and beautiful Georgia.

  8. These look lovely Georgia! I made this Sprinkle Bakes recipe awhile back and they were delicious! I love the frosting you used and may have to recreate this one. Good luck with getting settled. I know how un-nerving it can be!

  9. So glad you’re settling in to your new home! Those cupcakes are gorgeous. :) As if the bourbon-laced frosting wasn’t enough, you’ve topped them with salted caramel. Yum!

  10. Mmmm…those look amazing, Georgia! Those caramel toppers are elegant and pretty on top of that choco buttercream…I’ll take two! Are you acclimating to the heat yet? I’m already over it, and it’s still June…I’m ready for October!

  11. You had me at salted caramel!

  12. These look just gorgeous! And I never would have guessed that those toppers would be so easy to make. I definitely want to try those!

  13. Sooooo pretty and looks so delicious!
    And yes, being a homeowner is hard work and requires $$$$$$$$$$

  14. These are fun cupcakes, love the little flourishes on top. Congratulations on your move and on finding the time to bake and post in the midst of all of it;-)

  15. They look so pretty and elegant!

  16. They look like little halos :) Lovely.

  17. So funny – I love this combination of flavors and I am featuring a salted toffee shortbread cookie on my blog today, I guess us foodies think along the same lines! These look so beautiful and delicious, love you fun presentation! thanks, Chris

  18. I could seriously get lost in those cupcakes!

  19. They look beautiful! I’m glad you’re getting settled in and that you are loving your new space. You’ll have to post some pictures of your new kitchen once you have it the way you like it.

  20. So happy to hear that everything is going so well with your house, Georgia! Can’t wait to see more pictures of all the hard work you’ve been putting into it!

    On another note, these cupcakes are just beautiful! I love the caramel candy rounds.

  21. Beautiful! Great job!
    Karen

  22. I *need* to make some of those swirls and try them out on every dessert I make. Okay, so maybe tat is overboard but really… those look so fun and cute!

  23. these are just straight up ART!!

  24. Georgia, these cupcakes are so gorgeous! It’s a lot of work to own a house, but it’s fun to create your comfortable home. We’re frequent HD shopper too. :-) Enjoy your new home! (p.s. I’ll be sharing one of your desserts tomorrow and link to you. :-) )

  25. Congrats on the new home! These cupcakes look like the perfect home improvement project break :) The candied caramel swirls are an amazing touch. Hope the projects settle down soon!

  26. What a wonderful treat for all of the hard work you’ve been doing! They look sinfully delicious!

  27. Oh my goodness, these are fabulous! I have been obsessed with bourbon in recipes, I have to try these. And those caramel swirls? Bookmarked!

  28. Georgia! You have out done yourself ;) These are amazing!! I am so going to try these, but will probably majorly fail caramel rounds. I’ll report back. Congrats on the new house!!

  29. I absolutely adore that spun sugar topping! How whimsical and creative!

  30. Georgia…here you are telling us about all this hard work you are doing, yet you still find time to make something as amazing as these cupcakes… I’m impressed :)

  31. Wow wow wow. These sound amazing!

  32. Oh, WOW!

    Look at how FANCY you are! You rock the Casbah :)

  33. Glad to hear the house is going (sort of) well! It will feel amazing when it’s all done, but for now, enjoy the chocolate!

  34. You are a woman after my own heart….bourbon, salt, caramel, and chocolate all in one perfect cupcake. DELISH

  35. You had me. At Salted. Caramel. Cupcakes.

    These are mouth-watering!!

  36. Bourbon and buttercream co-existing together? I’m drooling!!

  37. I am so happy with you on your new home – it really is a lot of work in the beginning – but SO exciting too! These cupcakes are over-the-top-gorgeous!

  38. You are definitely christening your new kitchen with some fabulous goodies. Congrats on your new home! :)

  39. Bourbon buttercream! How fabulously indulgent. I love how you’ve decorated the caramel, too. Definitely taking notes here (attributing to you of course) :)

  40. Those looks absolutely divine…

    xoxo

    T from THE WORLD TOUR
    A couple of lovers sailing around the world.
    http://sailingaroundtheglobe.blogspot.com

  41. These are gorgeous cupcakes! Those caramel sugar rounds are the perfect toppers.

  42. Congrats on your first home. My wife does most of the baking, I do most cooking. I love this bourbon frosting and those caramel toppers are show stoppers. Anyway, I bet my wife would love to make these.

  43. Aw, yay! I bet your new place is gorgeous! I can’t wait to own a home…you’re so lucky. DIY stuff is so much fun :)Congrats on your house!

  44. Georgia!! These cupcakes are beyond gorgeous, I am so impressed. Cupcakes are one of my favorite desserts to bake, as you can be so creative with the flavor, fillings & decorations. I’m so glad you commented on my blog so I could discover yours–so impressive. I will definitely be following from now on. :)

  45. These look so fanciful and I adore salted caramel. Great recipe!

  46. These look incredible – I tried myself to make caramel rounds before, to decorate a dessert I was making…. really wasn’t a success. Ended up being more like icing :/ Love your blog!

  47. First off- congrats on the move! Yes owning a house is (ongoing) hard work! Secondly, not only do these cupcakes look delish, they are beautiful. Don’t know if I would want to eat them or just stare at them!

  48. These are beautiful and sound delicious!

  49. Not only are these absolutely beautiful but they sound heavenly! Again, beautiful cupcakes.
    Congrats on your new home!

  50. I know I’m a little late to the party but these are amazing! I love the caramel decorations – as if they weren’t already special enough. It sounds like you are incredibly busy – hope it’s going well!

  51. Anonymous says:

    I just made these tonight after planning to make them for a long while. They were the best cupcakes I’ve ever made. Tons of compliments on them! Great recipe.

  52. I’m so glad you enjoyed the cupcakes and they turned out well for you! Thanks for stopping by and letting me know. :)

  53. I made these for a BBQ the other night and they were a hit!! Unfortunately I couldn’t sample them because I am training for a fitness competition, but I will make them again once it is over:)

  54. Is it salt or sugar sprinkled on the candied caramel rounds? It says salt in the description toward the top but sugar is mentioned in the recipe so I wasn’t sure.

  55. Hi Karla – I used salt on the candied caramel rounds, but you can use sugar. Either are delicious, but I prefer the sweet-salty combination.

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