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Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream

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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: Dessert


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



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 espresso

For Salted Caramel

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, room temperature
  • 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


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, combine eggs, sugars, oil and vanilla on medium-low speed until well combined.
  5. Add eggs, one at a time. Mix on low speed until well combined.
  6. Add half of the dry ingredients to the egg mixture, followed by 1/2 of the buttermilk. Repeat with the other half of the dry ingredients and buttermilk.
  7. Do not over mix.
  8. Add hot espresso and mix on low speed until just combined.
  9. Batter will not be too thick.
  10. Evenly distribute the batter between the cupcake cups, filling 2/3rds of the way full.
  11. Bake 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with few crumbs remaining.
  12. Remove from oven and cool in pan for 10-15 minutes before removing the cupcakes from pan. Let cool completely before frosting.

For Salted Caramel

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt 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.
  5. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before transferring to a bowl to cool to room temperature.

For Salted Caramel Buttercream

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


Store left over cupcakes in a cool, dry place for up to 3 days.
Cupcakes may be frozen before being frosted.