Caramel Frappucino Cupcakes

Birthday cupcakes are one of my favorite things to make because I get to adapt my friends’ favorite flavors and use a little creativity to make cute birthday treats. For Alyssa, she named things like mocha, caramel, and cinnamon, so the wheels in my head started turning. I recently made delicious mocha cupcakes, but I wanted to make sure to kick it up a notch — can’t make the same thing twice when you have a baking blog! Thus, caramel frappucino cupcakes — mocha cake, whipped cream frosting, filled and drizzled with homemade caramel sauce.

I first saw these cupcakes over at Grin and Bake It, but I wanted some more caramel worked in other than just a light drizzle, so I took out a chunk of cake, filled it with caramel, and hid the evidence with a thin slice of cake. You can get away with this mound of sweet caramel because the frosting is super light and balances the chocolate and caramel nicely. Turns out this is Alyssa’s favorite kind of frosting too — it’s nice how things just work out like that sometimes.

I went into Starbucks to offer to buy some of their frappucino cups for a fun way to store these cupcakes, but turns out that’s against company policy, and I just don’t have the cash or room in my diet for 18 fraps. If you can swipe some green straws and get your hands on plastic cups with domed tops, I think it would be intolerably cute to display these by cutting down the cups and placing each cupcake inside.

Some tips for the caramel — this isn’t what I think of as a true caramel sauce, there’s no amber colored sugar or candy thermometers involved, so it’s easier to make, but as a result, I found it didn’t hold up as well. I made the caramel sauce a few days before the cupcakes and refrigerated it, but when I went to warm up the caramel, I found that the top layer had crystallized and resulted in a grainy texture throughout. My tip for you is to make this caramel sauce right before using it if you can, and if you have to refrigerate it, place plastic wrap right on top of the caramel so that it touches and prevents a crystallized top layer. Or if you’re brave and want to attempt a more traditional caramel sauce, go for it! No denying mine was still delicious and pleased the birthday girl :)

Happy Birthday, Alyssa!

Caramel Frappucino Cupcakes
Adapted from Grin and Bake ItFor the cupcakes:

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed, hot coffee
1 tsp espresso powder

– Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 18 muffin tins with cupcake liners
– In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt
– Brew the coffee and dissolve the espresso powder in the coffee
– In the bowl of an electric mixture, beat buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla together on medium speed until well combined
– With the mixer on slow speed, add the dry ingredients in 3 batches, mixing until only just incorporated
– Add the coffee and stir until combined, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula
– Fill cupcakes liners a little more than halfway (don’t put too much in!), and bake for 14-16 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean

For the Whipped Cream Frosting

2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla

– It’s best to chill your bowl and whisk attachment before whipping the cream for the fastest results, so remember to stick your clean bowl in the freezer for a few minutes after you’re done making the cupcakes
– Once cooled, beat the heavy cream on high speed until stiff peaks form
– Add the sugar and vanilla and beat further until incorporated
– Place frosting in a piping bag with a large round tip and decorate cupcakes as desired

For the Easy Caramel Sauce:

1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp light corn syrup
1-1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

– Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a boil, and boil briskly for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally
– Cool before placing in a piping bag or plastic squeeze bottle (If you plan to refrigerate before use, make sure to use plastic wrap touching the top layer to help prevent crystallization)
– Once the cupcakes are cooled, use a serrated knife to cut out a small cone-shaped chunk from each cupcake
– Fill with caramel, cover hole with slice of cake, top with frosting, and drizzle more caramel on top

Recipe yields 18 cupcakes

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29 Responses to “Caramel Frappucino Cupcakes”

  1. #
    oneordinaryday — September 27, 2010 @ 9:57 pm

    Looks and sounds delicious!

  2. #
    Joanne — September 28, 2010 @ 12:23 am

    They wouldn’t sell you their cups! That’s just crazy talk. Oh well, these look absolutely delightful anyways. You probably could have bribed them with one of these babies.

  3. #
    hannah {thepastrykook} — September 28, 2010 @ 7:43 am

    ahhaha i never thought of doing cupcakes the frappe way! they look terrific!

  4. #
    Jennifer — September 28, 2010 @ 12:17 pm

    Great job these look sooooo gooey yummy!!!

  5. #
    Big Boys Oven — September 28, 2010 @ 1:30 pm

    wow I can have a doxzen of this cupcakes! yummy delicious!

  6. #
    cookies and cups — October 3, 2010 @ 12:48 pm

    Those look sooo yummy! That filling ~ oh my!!

  7. #
    Amber — January 12, 2011 @ 2:11 pm

    In the directions, it says the recipe calls for baking soda, but you didn’t put the measurement in the ingredients listing. Can you please tell me how much soda to use? Thanks!

  8. #
    Anonymous — June 3, 2011 @ 12:09 am

    i made these for my moms Birthday and she loved them…except i used bought carmel haha

  9. #
    confessionsofabrighteyedbaker — December 27, 2011 @ 7:33 pm

    Oh my gosh I want one of these cupcakes!

  10. #
    Anonymous — January 21, 2012 @ 7:48 pm

    Can’t wait to try!

  11. #
    Nora @ — February 15, 2012 @ 10:49 pm

    These are fabulous! I have actually made them several times but I originally printed off the recipe and could not remember where the site was – just stumbled on it and wanted to share how wonderful these are – I have given the recipe to several people!

  12. #
    Heather — March 8, 2012 @ 2:52 pm

    Your recipes are amazing! I’m hosting a baby shower in a few months and I have gotten so many great ideas from you. Thank you for posting. Great blog!!

  13. #
    Kalei — May 11, 2012 @ 6:47 pm

    These look FANTASTIC !! I was just wondering how I should store them ? If i kept it a room temp would them whip cream melt ?

    • Erica — May 14th, 2012 @ 12:08 pm

      I would recommend keeping them in the fridge until you’re ready to serve them since yes, the whipped cream would melt!

  14. #
    Anonymous — May 16, 2012 @ 11:59 am

    I really want to bake these but can the kosher salt be sub with regular salt???

    • Erica — May 16th, 2012 @ 12:01 pm

      Yup, shouldn’t be a problem!

  15. #
    Judy — May 19, 2012 @ 11:53 am

    they look yumm. Can I use regular nescafe coffee? Whats buttermilk, can I use regular milk and butter?

    • Judy — May 19th, 2012 @ 12:03 pm

      oh sorry just found subs for buttermilk. Lemon and Milk – In a 1-cup measuring cup, add 1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. Top the lemon juice with with skim, low fat or whole milk. Stir and let sit for two minutes. After two minutes, your milk is both acidic and curdled. we don’t get buttermilk in this part, I’ll use this sub!

  16. #
    Kate — July 26, 2012 @ 4:00 am

    These cupcakes are amazing. I opted to fill mine with a caramel butter cream frosting, because my experience with caramel filling is that it tends to get absorbed into the cake too easily. The cake is divine and I love that they are topped with whipped cream. I also topped mine with espresso instead of more caramel, for that extra coffee flavor. This cupcake is literally everything I’ve ever wanted in cake.

  17. #
    Lena — August 31, 2012 @ 8:58 pm

    Kate, what is caramel butter cream frosting? or maybe I should say, where would I find it or the recipe to make it?

  18. #
    Hannah — October 29, 2012 @ 5:06 pm

    I entered a Best Dessert contest with your Caramel Frappucino Cupcakes recipe, and won! This makes the fourth time I’ve made them and they are a crowd favorite now. I made 36 in total (the batter goes a long way) and frosted 12 with the whipped cream and caramel. I’m going to frost the other 24 with a peanut butter cream cheese frosting.
    Just wanted to say thanks and I LOVE your blog!

  19. #
    Paige Smith — January 5, 2013 @ 10:21 pm

    I just made these cupcakes and for some reason they didn’t turn out right! The first thing I noticed when the batter was mixed was that it wad extremely thin! Then siince the recipe said it made 18 cupcakes I made 18 cupcakes but it defintely could of made more. I am not sure if my cupcakes overflowed a little because they were watery or because they were too full… maybe both but then they definitely should be more than 18… I love all the recipea on this blog and have made a few of them so I dunno what hapened! I made these for my birthday and was so excited! But we will see if I can salvage them with the caramel and whipped cream and some pretty decorating!

    • Erica — January 6th, 2013 @ 10:51 pm

      I’m really sorry the cupcakes didn’t work out for you!! I am not sure what went wrong, did they still taste good? I hope you had a happy birthday regardless!

  20. #
    Becky H. — March 12, 2013 @ 2:34 pm

    I made these yesterday, and everyone raved about them! The batter was very wet & messy, but the cupcakes turned out moist (in a good way). Ended up getting 24 large cupcakes & 20 mini ones (for the minis, I baked them at 350 F for 10-11 minutes). They were flippin’ adorable.

  21. #
    Pamela B — April 26, 2013 @ 12:09 am

    I am a pre-school teacher. If you go to Starbucks and ask them to donate the cups they will give you some.

  22. #
    Ashley — June 25, 2013 @ 2:44 am

    Perhaps next time just get “extra” coffee sleeves to decorate the cupcakes :)

  23. #
    Jordyn — October 8, 2016 @ 7:00 pm

    I’m not a huge chocolate person, even though I try to be, but these are the absolute best cupcakes – I love them! Like many others have said, they are a crowd favorite! I even made them for my friend’s bachelorette party and everyone was asking for more! Thanks for sharing. (I would, however, call these Caramel Mocha Frappucino Cupcakes because of the chocolate and coffee.)


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