Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes

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I totally didn’t plan this.

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One of the many benefits of having a teenage niece across the street are those times she decides she wants to bake – and wants your help. Here I was minding my own business, doing things that were probably productive, possibly healthy and definitely didn’t involve cupcakes, and then there she was, just-baked chocolate cupcakes in hand, wanting to make frosting together.

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(She made red velvet cupcakes too, but that’s another story.)

Her goal: salted caramel on chocolate cupcakes. We made a brown sugar frosting, and the caramel was her idea – her plan was to run to the store to buy caramel sauce to dribble overtop, but I explained that caramel could be made easily out of the sugar we already had in probably less time than it would take to run to the store. We brought sugar to a simmer with a bit of water to help it along – and a drop of lemon juice, which helps caramel stay in its liquid state and not crystallize. We swirled the pan until it turned golden, then drizzled some in a thin stream into cold water to make it turn hard and crackly – fun kitchen science – then whisked in some cream (it foams and bubbles – more delicious science!) which turns it into a sauce you can drizzle over ice cream – or cupcakes.

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Em: That’s it? We made caramel?

Me: Yep.

Em: It’s so good! And so much cheaper!


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Look how lovely!

A piping bag with a star tip and some sugar and a pot, and these beauties can be yours.





Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes

About Julie

18 comments on “Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes

  1. Christine
    May 4, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    Ooh. This makes me eager to try salted caramel again. Does the water help it to reach the boiling temperature more quickly? In my past failed attempts, it was just straight up sugar which took forever to get to temperature and then subsequently burned in a matter of seconds. Thanks! 🙂

  2. Medeja
    May 5, 2014 at 4:57 am

    These cupcakes look fantastic! Just irresistible!

  3. Wendy
    May 5, 2014 at 5:04 am

    These cupcakes look soooo delicious! I really like salted caramel chocolates. This recipe has just become a must make and a great way to treat Mom on Mother’s Day.

  4. Julie
    May 5, 2014 at 9:02 am

    Christine – it can be tricky to turn dry sugar into caramel – it goes from sugar to burnt in seconds! The water helps it dissolve first and turn golden more evenly – adding just a small amount means it won’t take as long to cook off before the sugar turns to caramel!

  5. Laurie from Richmond
    May 5, 2014 at 10:48 am

    i love caramel, but I don’t like salt in it. I’d make them without salt, just caramel glaze. It’s really yummy

  6. Julie
    May 5, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    Laurie – you can totally do that! No need for salt. Although a tiny pinch does keep it from tasting flat…

  7. Anita
    May 5, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    Looks delish! I will make them this week! Thanks!

  8. Suki F
    May 5, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    Sounds delicious! Chocolate sounds amazing! But that photo with the red velvet ones got me thinking about how much I would love to do some like that.

  9. Anonymous
    May 6, 2014 at 7:52 am

    Love your baking stories!!!

  10. Nicole Boyhouse
    May 6, 2014 at 8:38 am

    Lemon juice! Good tip!

  11. Aimee
    May 8, 2014 at 11:09 am

    Julie, you are a genius. I am having friends over today and making the classic brownies, ice cream and caramel sauce. I tried Ina’s caramel sauce which was just boiling sugar and water. My batch crystallized. So I moved onto Canadian Living’s caramel sauce, which was the same method of boiling sugar and water but this time adding the technique of using a pastry brush to brush water along the inside of the pan. Again, my batch crystallized. Then I remembered that you posted about caramel sauce this week and behold….the third try was successful! Yay! Honestly, it was the lemon juice. That secret ingredient kept the caramel sauce from crystallizing and made this recipe super easy to make. Thank you! Thank you! You totally saved that day. If batch number three didn’t work, I was going to have to load two little kids into the car to run to the store for more whipping cream….which running in with two little kids for one item is like poking your eyes out with a pencil. So thank you again!

    • Julie
      May 13, 2014 at 8:20 pm

      Aimee – I’m so glad it worked out! I’m not a fan of brushing the sides of the pan with water to wash off the crystals – adding more water just makes it take longer to cook off and make caramel. The bit of lemon juice works wonders! Yay!

  12. Vivian
    May 15, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    Wow…made these last weekend to rave reviews. I did do the water brush technique but forgot the lemon juice. Still worked okay. Will do the lemon juice next time…and there will be a next time!

  13. michelle
    June 22, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    I am so happy I started following you. I love all of your post and cant wait to start baking again!~!

    June 26, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    lovely caramel.. simply wonderful.. i am too imperfect in making caramel at home, i hope this time i don’t repeat the same mistake while making caramel.. 🙂 thanks julie. please keep sharing

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