Cakes & Cupcakes

Salted Caramel Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes

August 28, 2019

A rich, dark chocolate cupcake with a hint of espresso and topped with a heavenly homemade salted caramel buttercream. These […]

A rich, dark chocolate cupcake with a hint of espresso and topped with a heavenly homemade salted caramel buttercream. These cupcakes are ultra decadent and simply irresistible!


PJ Sundays. Foggy mornings that give way to clear, blue skies. Lazy summer weekends. Morning snuggles. Goodnight hugs. Cereal milk. My girls’ smiles. Pink hydrangeas. Bright yellow lemons in plain white bowls. Puppy kisses. Chocolate covered t-shirts after eating ice cream sandwiches. An empty sink. A full glass of rose. Decaf lattes and folded newspapers. Crisp, white linen. Chips and guacamole. Salty margaritas. A short to-do list. A long run. Folded laundry. Cookies in my carry on. Thank you notes. Breakfast for dinner. That feeling at the end of the day and everyone is tucked into bed. Sunday brunch. Holding hands. A new fall sweater. Salted. Caramel. Chocolate. Espresso. Cupcakes. These are a few of my favorite things.



Lately I’ve found myself keeping a mental note of my favorite things…a running tally in my memory bank that helps me to remember that it’s the little things that make us the happiest. Most have been favorite things for as long as I can remember. Some are silly. And meaningful all at the same time.

This summer I’ve been taking special notice when no one is looking of all the little moments that make me smile. Trying desperately to hang on to the simple things in life that seemingly become more important when even more urgent things are happening.

If I’m being honest, this summer has been an odd one. Full of sun and fun and the usual schools-out-for-summer shenanigans amongst my little party of five. But this summer in particular has also carried with it a nagging little feeling of anxiousness and a sense of changing tides that I just can’t shake. Tomorrow morning we’re off to move my oldest daughter into her college dorm and we’ve been spending this last week soaking up all of her favorite things, favorite places, and of course, her favorite sweets.


It’s been one last, big, giant hurrah before the new adventure begins 2301.2 miles away from home. I’ve been filling her up to the brim with all of her most loved sweets and treats before she goes off all on her own and I’ve got a batch of my classic chocolate chip cookie dough chilling in the fridge as we speak. Because cookies in my carry on is my favorite and I hate to travel without them.

If I could find a way to transport these Salted Caramel Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes halfway across the country, I would. This buttercream is lick-from-the-bowl worthy and my girl is the first one in line with a spoon in hand every time.


These cupcakes are pretty epic if I do say so myself. They are basically a triple threat…they have chocolate, espresso {just a smidge to enhance the chocolate} and salted caramel all in one seriously delicious dessert. I’m not trying to tell you how to live your life, BUT you really shouldn’t miss out on this ridiculously good cupcake. Make ’em once and you’ll make them again and again. And again. Promise.


I’ve posted the recipe for this Salted Caramel Chocolate Espresso Cupcake before but it only came with a single photo and was a bit buried at the end of a post I wrote not too long ago about The Newbie Food Blogger’s Guide to Success. If you’re interested in starting a blog, or maybe you recently took the leap, then you can read my top tips here. If you’re just here for this mile high salted caramel buttercream goodness then grab the recipe below and crank that oven up to 350. I have a sneaky feeling this cupcake might just become one of your favorite things too.

Happy Baking!

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Salted Caramel Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes

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  • Author: Browned Butter Blondie
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 18 mins
  • Total Time: 38 mins
  • Yield: 12-14 1x
  • Category: Cakes


A rich, dark chocolate cupcake with a hint of espresso and topped with a heavenly homemade salted caramel buttercream. These cupcakes are ultra decadent and simply irresistible!



For Cupcakes

  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup hot, freshly brewed espresso (or hot coffee)

For Salted Caramel

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt

For Salted Caramel Buttercream

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 1/24 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 6 TBSP salted caramel, room temperature
  • 12 TBSP whole milk
  • Extra caramel and chocolate shavings for garnish


For Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt until combined. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine eggs, sugars, oil and vanilla on medium-low speed until well combined.
  5. Add half the dry ingredients to the egg mixture, followed by half of the buttermilk. Repeat with the other half of the dry ingredients and buttermilk, scraping down the sides of bowl as needed.
  6. Do not over mix.
  7. Add hot espresso and mix on low speed until just combined.
  8. Batter will not be too thick.
  9. Evenly distribute batter between the cupcake liners, filling no more than 2/3rds full.
  10. Bake 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with few crumbs remaining.
  11. Remove the pan from oven and cool cupcakes in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely before frosting.

For Salted Caramel

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
  2. Add brown sugar and stir to combine.
  3. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Mixture will thicken.
  4. Add heavy cream, vanilla and salt and stir to combine completely.
  5. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before transferring to a bowl or jar to cool to room temperature.

For Salted Caramel Buttercream

  1. In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed for 1 minute.
  2. Reduce speed to low and add confectioner’s sugar mixing until combined.
  3. Increase speed to medium-high and mix until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Stop mixer and add salted caramel. Whip on medium speed to combine and then increase speed to high and mix for 3-4 minutes until buttercream is light and fluffy.
  5. If buttercream is too thick, add 1-2 TBSP whole milk. If too thin, add more confectioner’s sugar.
  6. Pipe buttercream onto cooled cupcakes and top with a drizzle of remaining salted buttercream. Top with chocolate shavings if desired.


Store leftover cupcakes in a cool, dry place for up to 3 days.
Cupcakes may be frozen before being frosted.
Store remaining salted caramel tightly covered in the refrigerator.

If you like these Salted Caramel Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes, you may also like:

Devil’s Food Cupcakes

Gluten Free Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and Blackberry Curd

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream

**Salted Caramel Recipe adapted from The Bake Feed’s Bake from Scratch Vol. II




  • Reply
    Ashley B
    September 28, 2021 at 6:37 am

    Hello! If using espresso powder, how much would you recommend using?

    Thank you! I can’t wait to make these

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      September 28, 2021 at 7:05 am

      I would start by dissolving a teaspoon or two in the buttermilk and then mixing it into the batter. Enjoy!

      • Anonymous
        September 28, 2021 at 7:38 pm

        Thanks for the quick response! Do you think I should add an extra quarter cup of buttermilk to account for the lost liquid that would have come from the coffee?

      • Heather Mubarak
        September 28, 2021 at 7:43 pm

        Instead of adding more buttermilk for moisture, add the 1/4 cup of hot water. It really helps the chocolate flavor “bloom” as they bake.

  • Reply
    April 20, 2020 at 4:01 am


    I’m new to your blog, but this recipe looks delicious! I would love to make these cupcakes, but I have celiac disease. I know you have a gluten free section on your blog, is there a gluten free flour blend you would recommend for replacing the all-purpose flour in this recipe? Thank you so much!

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      April 22, 2020 at 5:28 pm

      You can use any gluten free flour blend. I like Bobs Red Mill 1-to-1 gluten free baking flour. If you use a gluten free flour that does not contain xantum gum then you’ll need to add about 3/4 of a teaspoon. Enjoy!

  • Reply
    March 11, 2020 at 3:27 am

    If making the cupcakes ahead of time & freezing, how long can they be in the freezer? Then you just pop them out to defrost before icing? Any special way to freeze them? Thanks!

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      March 16, 2020 at 7:37 am

      Hi Mallory,
      I generally wrap cupcakes (unfrosted) in a layer of plastic wrap and then place that inside a ziplock bag before freezing. You can freeze these for up to 3 months. To defrost, allow the cupcakes to sit at room temperature on the kitchen counter and then frost them. Enjoy!

      • Anonymous
        December 10, 2023 at 8:31 pm

        Can I try this recipe with vegan butter?

    • Reply
      December 11, 2022 at 10:26 am

      Can this recipe be used for a layer cake?

      • Heather Mubarak
        December 11, 2022 at 8:56 pm

        Yes! Absolutely!!

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