Chocolate Caramel cupcakes consist of crazy moist chocolate cupcakes filled with sticky and buttery homemade caramel sauce and covered with a light caramel whipped mascarpone cream frosting. They are fluffy, tender with the most amazing chocolate and caramel notes without being overly sweet.
These chocolate cupcakes with caramel filling are very well balanced in sweetness mainly due to the whipped caramel frosting, however if you want to further decrease the sweetness, you can easily turn them into salted caramel cupcakes by adding good quality sea salt to the caramel sauce.
My 7 Secrets making crazy moist cupcakes
1. Do not change the Ingredients
I suggest not to change the recipe ingredients unless you are an expert and aware of how to fully reformulate it. If you decide to leave out eggs or choose to go for dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, etc., I can almost guarantee that it will result in an imbalance in the ingredients making the pink cupcakes either too dry, too crumbly, too wet, or too oily, etc. in their texture. It is absolutely possible to make moist “free-from” cupcakes but that requires a totally new recipe instead of skipping certain ingredients
2. Use the Secret ingredient
I call it the secret ingredient, it is not really secret though since I share this tip in all my muffin recipes. Once the cupcake batter comes together – before baking – mix a small amount of (½ teaspoon) white vinegar with a small amount of (½ teaspoon) baking soda. The mixture will foam a bit, then quickly fold it into the cupcake butter – I promise this will make cupcakes airy and much lighter than cupcakes you are used to. These cupcakes will stay super moist and tender even after days if they ever last that long.
3. Learn the Technique
You very much have to be careful not over beating your cupcake butter. It might be tempting to pour everything into a stand mixer but please make sure to use a Hand whisk from the point when butter and sugar are already creamed. Beating the cupcake batter too hard can result in too much gluten development and we don´t want that.
4. Be precise while measuring your ingredients
For a consistent, happy baking experience always measure your ingredients with the help of a Digital scale. Cup measurement is inaccurate and not an appropriate way to measure ingredients. Just a little bit too much dry ingredients (eg. flour) or too few wet ingredients (eg. milk) can easily ruin your cupcakes` texture and make them dry.
5. Pay attention to temperature
Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperate while making these Pink cupcakes. If your butter is too hard, your milk or egg is too cold, they won´t emulsify properly with the rest of the ingredients resulting in unappealing texture on your cupcakes. When it comes to temperature, oven temp is also super important as baking these cupcakes on too high temp or for too long can result in a dry texture. Make sure you invest in an inexpensive Digital oven thermometer to be able to measure your oven temp correctly.
6. Might apply soaking syrup
The soaking syrup is a common trick people use to make their cakes moist, you can use the same method for cupcakes. It is not mandatory and I don´t use it in this Pink cupcake recipe but you can always brush the top of the cupcakes or even drizzle them with syrup that fits with the flavor eg. raspberry syrup in this case
7. Storage the cupcakes correctly
Once cupcakes are well baked and beautifully frosted, the appropriate storage is definitely something you have to bear in mind to avoid dry cupcakes. Instead of leaving them on a plate, store cupcakes in a container with a tight-fitting lid on – in the fridge.
For the chocolate cupcakes
- Butter: Use always unsalted butter as you want to be in control of the quantity of the salt. I am using European-style 82% fat content butter in all my cupcake recipes. In this Chocolate muffin recipe, the butter needs to be at room temperature which technically means soft enough to be able to cream but not too soft or runny so avoid last-minute microwaving. The right consistency and temperature of the butter is a very important factor when it comes to the cupcake texture, so please make sure you leave the butter out on the kitchen counter to soften for a few hours before using it
- Granulated Sugar: Standard, all-purpose granulated or white sugar is perfectly fine for making cupcakes, nothing fancy. If you want to learn about the different types of sugar and how to use them in baking, please read my article in here
- Egg: Room temperature as always
- Flour: All-purpose flour or pastry flour makes the best cupcakes. They are so-called “soft flour” which are low on protein resulting in a delicate, tender texture. It is always a good idea to sift your flour as it tends to form lumps. If you want to be a Pro when it comes to deciding what type of flour to use in your baking, please read my article in here
- Cocoa powder: Generally always use unsweetened, 100% cocoa powder in baking. I use dutch-process cocoa powder, it has a lovely dark colour and it is lower in acidity
- Salt: An essential ingredient in most dessert recipes. Balances flavor and enhances other ingredients
- Baking powder: Has two functions: increase the volume and lighten the texture
- Milk: Room temperature whole milk is the best
- Coffee: If you are not using coffee in your chocolate desserts, you are missing out and I think you should seriously consider trying it. Believe me, the cupcake itself won’t taste coffee at all but coffee enhances the taste of chocolate. I recommend brewing a strong espresso type of coffee and use it fresh as part of your "wet ingredients" along with milk
- White vinegar+baking soda: The SECRET ingredients to make cupcakes super moist and tender even after days, the exact opposite of those sad-looking dry ones from the supermarkets
Exact ingredient quantities can be found at the bottom of this page, in the RECIPE CARD.
For the homemade caramel filling
- Granulated sugar: Use white granulated sugar, nothing fancy. If you want to learn about the different types of sugar and how to use them in baking, please read my article in here
- Glucose syrup: This is a professional caramel filling recipe that is made with glucose syrup, what it does is, make the caramel softer, creamier, it won´t harden as much, and is also easier to prepare because it prevents sugar crystallizing. I suggest you try purchasing glucose syrup for the best result, however, if you cannot access it, I will have a traditional caramel recipe at the end of this post, that is made of sugar, butter, and cream only
- Butter: Use always unsalted as you want to be in control of the quantity of the salt. I am using 82% fat content butter in all my recipes. It is very important that butter needs to be at room temperature meaning soft. If the butter is too cold, it won't incorporate properly into the caramel sauce, in the meantime, if butter is melted, again, won´t emulsify properly
- Heavy cream: Also known as whipping cream, has a fat content between 36% and 40%, the one I am using is 36%. Avoid substitutes like vegetable-based “whipping cream”
Exact ingredient quantities can be found in the RECIPE CARD, at the bottom of this page!
I have a whole detailed Guide about making the perfect caramel. This homemade caramel is sticky, buttery, and very well-balanced in sweetness. It’s only 10 minutes of work, once you try it, you will never buy it from the store ever again!
For the caramel frosting
- Mascarpone: Very rich Italian cream cheese, exceptionally smooth and easy to spread, or whip. The flavor is milky and slightly sweet, use the full-fat version (41% fat)
- Heavy cream: As per above, use high-fat content (36%) cream and avoid substituting it
- Caramel: We will be adding caramel to the frosting that will bring flavor as well as sweetness, so no powdered sugar is added to this frosting
Exact ingredient quantities can be found in the RECIPE CARD, at the bottom of this page!
4 Expert Baking tips
1. How to make moist chocolate cupcakes
This is a super simple base chocolate cupcake recipe that makes 6 wonderful tall bakery-style cupcakes. The recipe can be doubled or halved easily.
There are 2 important considerations to bear in mind while making the cupcakes:
1. Do not overmix the cupcake batter: Key thing is not to overmix the cupcake butter. Once you cream butter and sugar with an electric hand mixer, I suggest switching to Hand whisk. Add in the egg, then mix for a few seconds, then add in dry (flour+cocoa powder+baking powder+salt) and wet (milk+coffee) ingredients in 4 steps: wet, dry, wet, dry, that keeps the mixture well blended. Make sure you finish with dry ingredients. Please note that room temperature ingredients encourage proper emulsification of the cupcake batter therefore make sure that butter, egg, milk, etc. are all at room temperature.
2. Do not overfill your cupcake tin: For this cupcake recipe, I recommend filling your cupcake tin until ¾. The recipe is designed to make 6 tall cupcakes. Cupcake cases are coming in different sizes in terms of their height, try to buy the taller ones. My muffin case is 35mm / 1.3 inch in height and 65mm / 2.5inch in diameter. If you overfill your cupcake tin it will result in “mushroom-style” cupcakes! On the other hand, if you don´t fill it enough, they will rise but will stay tiny. If your cupcake case is a different size, you will need to adjust and make more or less than 6 cupcakes
Bake at 175 C / 347F for 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean, then let them cool completely on Cooling rack before frosting.
2. How to make caramel filling for cupcakes
Making homemade caramel sauce literally takes about 5 minutes (depending on your stove and saucepan) and can be the best filling for this chocolate cupcake. I have a very detailed step-by-step homemade caramel tutorial, please make sure you check it out! If you cannot access glucose syrup, I have a basic caramel recipe using sugar only, cream and butter only.
- Melt the sugar and glucose syrup in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. It is ok to stir the mixture a few times with a heatproof rubber spatula but no need to stir it while heating
- In the meantime, heat cream until simmering. Do not boil the cream (as that would result in losing some of its volume), only simmering
- Be careful not to burn the caramel, once the sugar starts to turn into golden brown, adjust the stove to medium heat
- Once caramel achieved the right temperature/color, immediately pour over the hot cream and keep whisking with a hand whisk or rubber spatula. The mixture will rapidly bubble, do not worry, it is normal
- Cook the caramel for a further 1-2 more minutes, withing this time frame the mixture should bubble less and thicken slightly, but no need to cook it longer
- Remove caramel from the stove and pour it into a large enough bowl so it can cool as quickly as possible. You can run the caramel through a sieve, if in doubt, but with the glucose syrup added, you should not have sugar bits in the mixture
- Let caramel cool to about 40C / 104F and mix in butter in 3 steps stirring vigorously between each addition. Please note that the butter won´t get incorporated if 1. butter is too cold 2. caramel is too warm 3. you add too much butter at once. It is fine to use a hand whisk, rubber spatula, or hand blender
- Once butter is incorporated, move caramel into a jar or container and let it further cool. Use it at room temperature
Tip: You can turn this caramel filling into salted caramel sauce by adding 1 teaspoon of good quality sea salt to the mixture at step 5
3. How to make caramel frosting
This caramel frosting is super simple, it consists of full-fat cream, mascarpone, and homemade caramel sauce whipped until fluffy, pipeable consistency. It is creamy, milky, a super stable frosting, and way more delicious and less sweet than caramel buttercream!
Using the right ingredients at the right temperature is extremely important while making this caramel frosting; Mascarpone should be cold, use the full-fat version (41%+). Heavy cream should be also very cold, use the full-fat version (36%). The caramel sauce should be room temperature (if too hot, it would break the frosting, if too cold, it would be too solid to incorporate).
- Whip mascarpone and heavy cream until mixture slightly thickens into a sour cream consistency
- Add in soft, room-temperature caramel sauce
- Whip the cream for a further 1-2 minutes, until it reaches a creamy, fluffy consistency, then stop. It won´t get stiffer after this point, in fact, if you overbeat it, it will get only runnier then it will break. I don´t use my stand mixer to whip this frosting since it is really easy to overwhip it
- Once you are happy with the consistency of your frosting, move it into a piping bag fitted with your favorite nozzle tip
TIP 1: If you do not have mascarpone, the recipe works with high-fat Philadephia cream cheese as well
TIP 2: You can easily turn this frosting into a salted caramel frosting by adding a teaspoon of good-quality salt to the cream
4. How to assemble the caramel cupcakes
I recommend making the caramel filling first, as it needs to come to room temperature. Meanwhile, bake the chocolate cupcakes. Once the cupcakes and also caramel filling is cooled to room temp, prepare the whipped mascarpone frosting as per instructions.
- Make a small hole on each of the cupcakes and fill them with the caramel. Before filling, make sure that neither the cupcake nor the filling is warm
- Pipe frosting on top of each cupcake. Very important that you never frost cupcakes that are warm as that would melt the frosting
- Move a small amount of caramel into a pipig bag, make a small hole on the bag and decorate the cupcakes with the caramel
- Store the cupcakes in the fridge for 2-3 days
For more information read my how to store and freeze cupcakes baking guide.
The recipe makes 6 tall bakery-style cupcakes. My muffin case is 35mm / 1.3 inch in height and 65mm / 2.5inch in diameter. You can easily double or half it, however, you will need to adjust the ingredient quantities accordingly.
Most probably yes, you can, however, you can´t just leave out / change an ingredient without reformulating the entire recipe. When one ingredient changes, some other ingredients need to be changed too in order to keep the balance in the texture and flavor. Sadly, I am not able to provide substitutes for all sorts of allergies and diets.
This is a super moist cupcake and I have a whole section above about my 7 secrets to making moist cupcakes
The most common reasons for dry cupcakes: 1. ingredients not measured correctly eg. too much flour added to the mixture 2. inappropriate mixing technique eg. over mixed cake batter 3. over baked, meaning it dried out too much. Consider investing in an inexpensive Digital oven thermometer to be able to measure the correct oven temperature and please make sure to use a Digital scale during baking, cups are not an accurate way of measuring for consistent results.
Probably the cupcake would have needed more baking time. Either, it was taken out of the oven too soon, or perhaps your oven is under heat. Consider investing in a Digital oven thermometer if you tend to struggle with the baking part of your desserts.
Another issue that can cause raw texture is measuring the ingredients inappropriately eg. adding less flour to the recipe. Consider using a Digital scale
You will want to follow my tips above about the ingredients and how to properly whip this kind of frosting. Cream and mascarpone must be high-fat versions, caramel should be added to the mixture when it is already cooled to room temp. Make sure that you stop whipping the cream as soon as the mixture is fluffy and pipeable, as a minute later it will break and become runny.
Any leftover cupcake can be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for 1-2 days. I suggest you cover the dessert so it does not absorb any smell from the fridge, or from the kitchen.
You can freeze the muffins after baking however I obviously do not recommend freezing the entire cupcake after frosting. Please note that this mascarpone based frosting cannot freeze
More cupcake recipe ideas
Strawberry & Cream cupcakes – Moist vanilla cupcakes filled with strawberry sauce and decorated with a phenomenal whipped cream frosting and strawberries.
Apple Pie cupcakes - Love marriage between Cupcake and Apple pie! Melt in your mouth cupcakes with the most delicious, aromatic apple pie filling, super moist, creamy, and full of fall delicious spices you love.
Epic Tiramisu cupcakes - This tiramisu cupcake recipe is dream come true for coffee and tiramisu lovers! Coffee soaked melt in your mouth cupcakes with creamy mascarpone frosting on top dusted with cocoa powder!
Lemon poppy seed cupcakes - This Lemon Poppyseed cupcake recipe is one of the prettiest, easiest, most delicious cupcakes I´ve ever made! These cupcakes are moist, fluffy, tender with incredible aromatic lemon flavor, packed with poppy seed, and filled with tangy lemon curd.
Pink cupcakes - These crazy moist Pink cupcakes with marble cream cheese frosting are the prettiest, easiest, most delicious cupcakes you will ever make for Valentine´s Day, Baby shower, Birthdays, or any other occasion!
Chocolate Caramel cupcakes (VIDEO)
- 90 (⅓ cups) Unsalted butter soft, room temperature
- 100 g (½ cups) Granulated sugar
- 1 Egg room temperature
- 80 g (⅔ cups) All purpose flour
- 45 g (½ cups) Cocoa powder
- Pinch of salt
- ½ teaspoon Baking powder
- 65 g (⅓ cups) Whole milk room temperature
- 60 g (¼ cups) Coffee room temperature
- ½ teaspoon White vinegar
- ½ teaspoon Baking soda
Homemade Caramel filling
- 125 g (⅔ cups) Granulated sugar
- 75 g (⅕ cups) Glucose syrup
- 125 g (½ cups) Heavy Cream
- 27 g (2 tablespoons) Unsalted butter
- 120 g (½ cups) Caramel sauce using the homemade caramel
- 150 g (⅔ cups) Mascarpone 41% fat, use it cold
- 120 g (0.5 cups) Heavy Cream 36% fat, use it cold
- 120 g (½ cups) Caramel sauce using the homemade caramel
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
Start with the caramel filling
- Melt the sugar and glucose syrup in a large saucepan over medium-high heat
- Heat cream until simmering
- Once the sugar starts to turn into golden brown, adjust the stove to medium heat
- When caramel achieved the right temperature (160-180C / 320-356F) or color (golden brown), immediately pour over the hot cream and keep whisking with a hand whisk or rubber spatula
- Cook the caramel for a further 1-2 more minutes
- Remove caramel from the stove and pour it into a large enough bowl so it can cool as quickly as possible
- Let caramel cool to about 40C / 104F then mix in butter in 3 steps stirring vigorously between each addition.
- Let it chill to room temperature before using it as a filling and frosting
For the chocolate muffin
- Heat oven to 175 C / 347°F
- With an Electric hand mixer whip room temperature soft butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy then whip the egg in. Do not overbeat
- Sift flour, salt, cocoa powder, and baking powder together, this is the “dry ingredients”, while the room the milk and coffee mixture is your "wet ingredient"
- Start adding the dry and wet ingredients into the cupcake batter in the following 4 steps: wet, dry, wet, dry. Fold with a Rubber spatula fold each time. Finish with dry ingredients
- Mix vinegar and baking soda together in a small bowl, it will be super bubbly. Immediately fold the mixture into the cupcake batter. This is the secret ingredient to keep the cupcakes soft for days without the taste of vinegar of course!
- Spoon or Pipe the mixture into Cupcake pan till approx. ¾. This recipe makes 6 large cupcakes
- Bake for 25 min or until a skewer inserted comes out clean then let them cool on Cooling rack before filling and frosting
- Whip cold mascarpone and heavy cream for about one or two minutes with Electric hand mixer until it reaches a sour cream texture
- Add in room temperture caramel sauce and whip for a further 1-2 minutes until frosting reaches a fluffy, pipeable consistency. Do not overwhip
- Once cupcakes and caramel both cool room temperature, make a small hole on each of the cupcakes and fill them with the caramel sauce
- Pipe the frosting on top and decorate with more caramel
- Store in fridge
- Measure your ingredients with a Digital scale for accuracy
- All ingredients for the cupcake must be at room temperature to properly emulsify: eggs, milk, etc.
- Do not skip the white vinegar+baking soda "secret ingredient":)
- For frosting make sure you use high-fat content cream and mascarpone. Low-fat dairy products won´t whip up properly
- For the caramel, you can skip the glucose syrup, please check my ultimate caramel filling guide for details
- Make sure you read my Expert tips section above to maximize your success. A short recipe alone is not able to cover all the necessary details, and science behind baking.
- While whipping the frosting, pay very close attention to the consistency and stop whipping immediately after it gets fluffy. Overbeating would result in breaking the cream and instead of becoming stiffer, in fact, it will get runnier
- Never frost warm cupcakes, make sure they are chilled to room temperature
- If you have never used a piping bag and piping nozzle before, it is worth making a cheaper buttercream and practicing before