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Cakes & Cupcakes / Desserts

Easy Salted Caramel Cupcakes From Scratch

These easy salted caramel cupcakes from scratch are light, airy, and surprisingly easy! Caramel cupcake batter baked until golden brown topped with caramel buttercream and a drizzle of homemade caramel syrup. I like to top my cupcakes with a sprinkle of Maldon salt. These would be perfect for a birthday or special gathering, or simply for the caramel lovers!

caramel cupcakes on a marble platter

Highlights of these caramel cupcakes:

  • Light and airy cupcakes
  • Homemade caramel sauce used in three ways
  • The perfect sweet and salty mix
  • Cupcake batter comes together quickly and easily
  • Buttercream is easy to make

Spread or pipe caramel buttercream on top of cooled cupcakes

Tools I used for this caramel cupcake recipe:

Caramel cupcakes bake until perfectly golden brown with a light and airy texture. Fill tins 2/3rds full.

If you like these easy salted caramel cupcakes from scratch, you’ll love these other desserts!

Easy Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Chocolate Snacking Cake with Peanut Butter Buttercream

Chocolate Covered Caramel Shortbread Cookies

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

Grocery Store List & Substitutions:

(this recipe reuses a lot of the same ingredients!)

  • Granulated sugar
  • Unsalted butter, softened
  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Kosher salt
  • Vanilla extract
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Sour cream, full fat
  • Light brown sugar
  • Large whole eggs, room temperature
  • Powdered sugar

Homemade caramel sauce comes together quickly, and is used in the cake batter, buttercream frosting, and as a drizzle!

Instructions for the salted caramel cupcakes:

Caramel sauce:

  • In a small saucepan, heat water and sugar over high heat. Stirring frequently until the sugar has dissolved. Once the sugar starts to bubble, stop stirring. Allow to cook over medium-high heat until you get a dark amber color. 8-10 minutes.
  • Once amber, turn off the heat. Carefully add in the butter and stir to combine. Remove from the heat and pour in the heavy whipping cream, stirring frequently as the caramel will bubble. Mix in the salt and vanilla extract. Pour into a glass jar to cool. 

Cupcakes:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, line a 12-cup cupcake pan. Set aside. In a small bowl combine the sour cream and heavy whipping cream. Whisk until smooth. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine. Set aside.  
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream the butter until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add in the sugars and cream again for 1-2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, as well as the vanilla extract. Carefully mix in the sour cream mixture, water, and the cooled salted caramel sauce. 
  • Add in the dry ingredients, mix well until completely combined. Use a portion scoop to scoop into the prepared pan. Bake at 350 for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting. 

Buttercream:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until light and fluffy. 3-4 minutes. Add in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time. Mix thoroughly each time.  
  • Slowly mix in the heavy cream, cooled caramel sauce, salt, and vanilla. If frosting is too thick add in a little more heavy cream, if it is too thin add in more powdered sugar. 
  • Frost cooled cupcakes and top with a drizzle of the homemade salted caramel sauce! 

*Leftover salted caramel sauce will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Let come to room temperature before using.

muffin tin full of cupcakes

Easy Salted Caramel Cupcakes From Scratch

5 from 1 vote
Course: Dessert
Keyword: Cake, Caramel, Cupcakes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Cooling time 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 24 cupcakes
Calories: 488kcal
Author: The Hearty Life
Cost: $$
Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Ingredients: 

For the caramel sauce:

  • 1 cup Granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 6 tbsp Unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup Heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract

For the cupcakes:

  • 1/2 cup Unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup Granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup Light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large Whole eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 1/2 cup Cooled caramel sauce, from above
  • 2 cups All-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp Baking soda
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup Sour cream, full fat not light
  • 1/2 cup Heavy whipping cream

For the buttercream:

  • 1 cup Unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4-5 cups Powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup Heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup Cooled caramel sauce, form above
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt

Instructions:

For the caramel sauce:

  • In a small saucepan, heat water and sugar over high heat. Stirring frequently until the sugar has dissolved. Once the sugar starts to bubble, stop stirring. Allow to cook over medium-high heat until you get a dark amber color. 8-10 minutes.
  • Once amber, turn off the heat. Carefully add in the butter and stir to combine. Remove from the heat and pour in the heavy whipping cream, stirring frequently as the caramel will bubble. Mix in the salt and vanilla extract. Pour into a glass jar to cool. 

For the cupcakes:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, line a 12-cup cupcake pan. Set aside. In a small bowl combine the sour cream and heavy whipping cream. Whisk until smooth. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine. Set aside.  
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream the butter until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add in the sugars and cream again for 1-2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, as well as the vanilla extract. Carefully mix in the sour cream mixture, water, and the cooled salted caramel sauce. 
  • Add in the dry ingredients, mix well until completely combined. Use a portion scoop to scoop into the prepared pan. Bake at 350 for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting. 

For the buttercream:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until light and fluffy. 3-4 minutes. Add in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time. Mix thoroughly each time.  
  • Slowly mix in the heavy cream, cooled caramel sauce, salt, and vanilla. If frosting is too thick add in a little more heavy cream, if it is too thin add in more powdered sugar. 
  • Frost cooled cupcakes and top with a drizzle of the homemade salted caramel sauce! 

Nutrition:

Serving: 1 cupcake | Calories: 488 kcal | Carbohydrates: 46 g | Protein: 2 g | Fat: 20 g | Saturated Fat: 13 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5 g | Trans Fat: 1 g | Cholesterol: 70 mg | Sodium: 320 mg | Potassium: 46 mg | Fiber: 0.3 g | Sugar: 18 g | Vitamin A: 677 IU | Vitamin C: 0.1 mg | Calcium: 35 mg | Iron: 1 mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

caramel cupcake with caramel buttercream and caramel drizzle

Did you make this recipe?

I would love to see it! Take a picture and post to Instagram with the tag @theheartylife and the hashtag #theheartylife – You can also leave me a question or comment below! If you’ve tried this recipe, feel free to give it a star rating on the recipe above.