Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Dark chocolate + salted caramel...

Still can't find a flavor combo I love more! I think maybe it has something to do with balance. Chocolate cupcakes can be a little boring sometimes, and straight-up caramel cupcakes often end up overly-sweet. These  cupcakes nail the balance each flavor needs perfectly. 

Why make these Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel cupcakes?
  • The darker tones of the chocolate and the sprinkle of sea salt balance the sweetness of the caramel. Win-win!
  • Every bite has a perfect balance of dark chocolate and the richness of salted caramel filling and caramel cream cheese frosting. 
  • Only one bowl required for the cupcakes and one more for the frosting! Everyone's busy; fewer dishes is always better! 
  • Whether you're looking for an impressive dessert to satisfy family or guests or treat your own sweet tooth, these cupcakes are sure to please! 
“How should I store these cupcakes?”
  • Store in a cupcake carrier or sealable container; use plastic wrap if needed for a better seal. If storing overnight the sea salt may start to 'melt' and dissolve onto the frosting surface. So I'd recommend adding the caramel drizzle and sea salt within a few hours of serving.

  • Cupcakes will keep at room temperature for 1-2 days or in the fridge for 3-5 days as long as they're protected from drying out! 

(Disclosure: As an Amazon associate I may earn from qualifying purchases, and my posts often contain affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you!) 

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Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Dark chocolate and salted caramel is a match made in heaven - here's how to make delicious Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Decorating time30 minutes
Total Time1 hour 35 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes, Dark Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes, Dark chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes
Servings: 24 cupcakes
Calories: 310kcal



Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour (350g)
  • 2 ¼ cups granulated sugar (450g)
  • 1 ¼ cup dark cocoa powder (100g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (5g)
  • ¾ teaspoon salt (4g)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks/250g; room temperature)
  • 4 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk (350mL)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting


  • 24 chocolate-covered caramels (I bought mine at Costco, but I've also used Riesen chocolate-covered caramels on similar cupcakes and really liked them)
  • 1 Tablespoon large-grain sea salt (to top cupcakes; optional but I recommend adding if your caramels aren't salted already)


Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

  • Preheat an oven to 350℉ (180℃). Line cupcake pans with liners.
  • Mix together dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt) in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle (or hand mixer or whisk) until well combined.
  • Add in bits of softened butter, mixing until no lumps of butter are visible and the mixture looks crumbly.
  • Whisk together eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients and mix until no dry ingredients are visible. Scrape down the bowl and beat for another 20 seconds.
  • Fill each liner ⅔ full (using a large cookie scoop to transfer the batter makes this a quick and easy process).
  • Bake for 20-25 min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow them to cool completely on a wire cooling rack before frosting. Set in the fridge or freezer to accelerate the cooling process if desired.

(Caramel sauce)

  • Caramel sauce can be purchased at any grocery store or here on Amazon, but if you're up for an adventure and want to make your own - AverieCooks is the home of my favorite caramel sauce of all the recipes I've tried so far! No caramel recipe is fool-proof, but this one gave me the least trouble with burning and crystalizing.

Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with milk and caramel until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add vanilla and salt if needed and beat until well combined.


  • Once the cupcakes have cooled, core them - you can use a cupcake corer, the back end of a large piping tip, or....you can do what I do and cut a cone-shaped core out with a plastic knife. Up to you!


  • For the filling in these cupcakes, I combined 1 cup of caramel sauce with ¾ cup of frosting - I found that filling cupcakes with just caramel sauce just made the entire cupcake sticky, even if I used thick homemade sauce. Spoon or pipe filling into cored cupcakes.


  • Now you're ready to decorate! Transfer frosting to a large piping bag fitted with a closed star tip (or tip of your choice). Pipe in large swirls onto your cupcakes. Decorate the top of each frosting swirl with a caramel drizzle, a chocolate-covered salted caramel, and a small sprinkle of coarse sea salt!
  • Done and done! Enjoy! 🙂



(Please note nutrition information is an estimate and may not be exactly accurate. Counts will also be lower in all fields if the entire batch of frosting is not used.) 


Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 310kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 2.4g | Fat: 19g

Did you make these Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel cupcakes?

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