Dark Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting

/// March 17th, 2015

Dark Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting I’ve been on a bit of a salted caramel bender lately, so it felt appropriate to kick-start this week off with dark chocolate brownie cupcakes piled high with salted caramel frosting. Also, there’s a giveaway! This recipe right here is from a famous little blogger you might know as JOY THE BAKER. The one and only. It’s from her latest book Joy the Baker Homemade Decadence: Irresistibly Sweet, Salty, Gooey, Sticky, Fluffy, Creamy, Crunchy Treats, and as you might have guessed, I’m giving you a chance to win a copy! But that’s not all – I’m also giving away the holy grail of kitchen appliances – a KitchenAid 6 Qt. Professional Series Standmixer. 

Not bad for a Tuesday, right?

Dark Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting Alright, so let’s jump into this recipe with both feet! We begin at the base of this delicious dessert: the dark chocolate brownie cupcake! These cupcakes are rich, fudgy, and utterly decadent. They are slightly more dense and chewy than a typical chocolate chocolate cupcake, but um, that’s because they’re brownie cupcakes! The tops of the baked cupcakes will be shiny and kind of crinkly (just like a tray of brownies fresh from the oven), so don’t panic if they look a little different than what you’re expecting. They’re going to satisfy you 100%!

IMG_7620-2-2-3 Now that we’ve worked out the brownie cupcake situation, let’s mosey on into salted caramel territory. This frosting is legit! Sweet, salty, and very easy to eat by the spoonful… straight from the mixing bowl. Whaaaa? Joy would approve <— I’m 99.5% sure of it.

But don’t eat all of it, ok? We need some for our cupcakes!

Making this frosting is a little different than the usual “beat butter; add sugar; add cream; you’re done” scenario. You’re going to start by making a caramel sauce. This is really easy and only takes a few minutes on the stove-top. My biggest piece of advice here is to stay close while the caramel is cooking. Caramel happens fast, and if you walk away to check your email or feed your dog, you may very well return to a pot full of burnt ingredients. And that would a shame.

Dark Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting Once the caramel is cooked and cooled (just a few minutes!), you’re going to add it to a mixing bowl, add in some confectioners’ sugar, and beat it until it’s nice and smooth. You’ll add more sugar as you go, and beat it on high for a few minutes. Then it’s done! See? Not too scary, right? Now you’re free to decorate your brownie cupcakes as you please! I chose to swirl the frosting on high, sprinkle with flaky sea salt, and finally top with a chewy little caramel. I’m dramatic like that.

Dark Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting Wanna know how you can enter for a chance to WIN a copy of Joy the Baker Homemade Decadence: Irresistibly Sweet, Salty, Gooey, Sticky, Fluffy, Creamy, Crunchy Treats AND a KitchenAid 6 Qt. Professional Series Standmixer? It’s easy. Pop over to Joy’s blog (that’s a treat in itself!), poke around, then come back here and leave me a comment stating which recipe of hers you’d try first! Be sure to leave your comment (with a valid email) in the section below.

Dark Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting Spoiler Alert: I’m giving away a copy of Joy the Baker Cookbook: 100 Simple and Comforting Recipes tomorrow (and another awesome surprise!) so be sure to tune in and check it out!

4/2/2015 Update: Giveaway has ended and the winner has been contacted via email.

Dark Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting and a Giveaway

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Serving Size: 1 cupcake

Rich Dark Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes topped with a mind blowing Salted Caramel Frosting! These are irresistible!


  • For the Dark Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (I used high quality chocolate chips here)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (be sure not to pack your flour here)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • For the Salted Caramel Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Line a cupcake pan with liners; set aside.
  2. Place the butter and chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and place that bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the simmering water. Stir until the butter and chocolate are completely melted. Add in the brown sugar, espresso powder (if using), and vanilla; whisk well to combine. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool for a few minutes.
  3. Once the mixture has slightly cooled, add in the eggs and yolk, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Whisk in the flour, salt, and baking powder - careful not to over mix here! Fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Divide the batter among the prepared cupcake cups.
  5. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 21-25 minutes. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. In the meantime, make your frosting!
  7. For the Salted Caramel Frosting:
  8. In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-heat, combine the butter, cream, vanilla, brown sugar, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar melts and the mixture comes to a low simmer; about 4 minutes. Remove the mixture from heat and let it cool for 2 minutes, then transfer the mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add 2 cups of confectioners' sugar to the bowl and beat on medium-low speed until well combined. Add in another 1-2 cups of confectioners' sugar and beat until thick and fluffy; 4-6 minutes. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.


This recipe is from the Joy The Baker Homemade Decadence Cookbook. The recipe is written in my own words and all opinions are, as always, my own. This giveaway is not sponsored; it's just because I love you guys!

Dark Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting

You might also love these One-Bowl Lemon Ricotta Cupcakes

One-Bowl Lemon Ricotta Cupcakes These Salted Caramel Pretzel Pecan Bon Bons are also delicious!

Salted Caramel Pretzel Pecan Bon Bons And these Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Dipped Marshmallows are off-the-hook!

Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Dipped Marshmallows

84 thoughts on “Dark Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting

    1. Carolyn

      Chocolate bourbon pecan pie is wonderful , I have been making it for 15 plus years. I use gentleman jack bourbon whiskey, don’t use anything you wouldn’t drink, it makes all the difference

  1. Terri Coppel

    I loved Joythebaker’s blog!!! Am going to make the Brown Butter Banana Cranberry Bread, — sounds fabulous and my family will love it!!!

  2. Rachel

    I will be trying her brown sugar cookies, possibly today. I love the description: like a sugar cookie with brown sugar and a chocolate chip cookie w/o the chips. :)

  3. Marla

    I have an overabundance of blood oranges I’d love to use in her Brulee Orange and Cream Cheese Pound Cake!!

  4. Annette

    This recipe looks so good – I could almost taste the cupcakes just looking at them! I love salted caramel anything and will have to try this.

    From her site, I’d like to make, “ROASTED STRAWBERRY BUTTERMILK CAKE.”

  5. Amy

    I would love to try the apple cinnamon baked donuts with brown butter glaze. Is there any part of that that does not sound delicious!?!!?

  6. Kayle (The Cooking Actress)

    ASHLEY! ASHLEYYYY! YOU ARE KILLIN’ ME! That salty caramel-y frosting is like….ridic. and the brownie cupcakes…so chocolatey.

    but seriously…I want to marry that frosting.

    and there are a ton of Joy’s recipes that I love–including her Bourbon Pecan Pie with Dark Chocolate!

  7. Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel

    ASHLEY! These cupcakes are AMAZING. I’m loving the combination of the fudgy brownie cupcake and that heavenly salted caramel buttercream, and your pictures make me want to reach through my computer screen, through time traveling across the country, and into your kitchen where I can swipe a couple. Love!!

  8. Jenifer

    I’m on the quest for a better chocolate chip cookie recipe so I’ll be trying Joy’s recipe for the best brown butter chocolate chip cookies! Can’t wait to try them.

  9. Kelli W.

    All of her recipes sound delicious, but her Pear Spice Cake with Walnut Praline Topping looks decadent and divine!

  10. Sandy klesel

    I found this site on pinterest and need to make a dessert for my bible study class. I am going to make the carrot cake recipe and can’t wait to serve it. Please enter me in any give ways you may have. Thank you. Sandy

  11. Stephanie

    I like the salted caramel cheesecake pie. Love anything salted caramel, especially if it’s heavy on the caramel.

  12. Jeffrey

    After checking out her blog for a bit I am most intrigued by the beer brownies. I actually don’t drink beer but have used it in cooking/baking. I’ve made pizza dough and soft pretzels with a German Beer and Cake with a Chocolate Stout.

  13. Marty Musser

    I’m not normally much of a pie person, but Joy’s Salted Caramel Cheesecake Pie looks amazing! I have to try it.

  14. Gabi

    I just went over to Joy’s and the recipe I am absolutly going to make is the Peach Cobbler Cinnamon Rolls-Recipe – they sound just perfect for Easter Breakfast!

  15. Laura H

    Everything on Joy’s blog looks fantastic! The recipe I would most like to try is the peach cobbler scones :)

  16. Ciaran Lane

    Ok sooooo I just learned from Joy how to create Brown Butter, it’s always been one of those things you just kinda do but now I know the whole reason as to why it’s solo good! I also learned how to not make but nail a good stick all over your teeth caramel….FINALLLY! Oh and the fact that I could eat donuts for the rest of my existence and Joy seems to be a dab hand at making the likes I could possibly propose to her…….If she baked for me. But for real I’m from Ireland and these recipes are what I want to go home and make for my family and friends and say “see not everything is ready made”!!!!

  17. Nancy Hilton

    Oh, my gosh! How can you pick just one!! The peanut butter bacon dark chocolate cookie recipe made my mouth water. Also interesting was the article about Muriel Hemingway and another about Tripadvisor. And, I guess I need to order an oven thermometer!

  18. Donna Calhoun

    Honestly, I would love the Beef and Olive and Raisin Enchilada’s in Joy’s Blog of recipes, only with corn tortilla’s!! I am making the Salted Caramel Brownies now…..

  19. Rachel

    Hi! I made this frosting today, but after beating it for the amount of time listed in the recipe, it was rather gooey. I then put it in the fridge to firm up so that I could use it in a piping bag, but then it became too firm and couldn’t be pushed through the icing tip. Any idea what went wrong?

    1. bakerbynature Post author

      Hi Rachel. Next time I would either just add a little more confectiners’ sugar (1/4 cup at a time) or let the frosting rest at room temperature for a few minutes. It does firm up quite a bit in the moments after it’s done beating. I hope that helps!

  20. Cynthia Robinson

    BEEF ENCHILADAS WITH GREEN OLIVES AND RAISINS look just amazing. I have been wanting to try Enchiladas and have never gotten around to it and these look really yummy.

    1. Cynthia Robinson

      and then either your One-Bowl Lemon Ricotta Cupcakes OR THE Dark Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting.

      HARD TO CHOOSE… LOVE LEMON AND RICOTTA combo and I am a chocoholic…

  21. Ingrid De Maeyer

    As I promised my son to make some waffles this week and blueberries are my favourites, am definitely going to make the blueberries waffles and the potatoes and chives galette looks very easy and tasty too!

  22. Donna Keel

    I believe I’ll try the VANILLA ALMOND ORANGE CLOUD COOKIES. Love anything with orange flavor. Also must try out these salted caramel cupcakes.

  23. Anissia Halstead Dias

    Hi, I am a home baker (from Mumbai City, India). I run a home based cake business. I absolutely loved the DARK CHOCOLATE BROWNIE CUPCAKES WITH SALTED CARAMEL FROSTING recipe and I will be trying it out for the New Year!! HopeI can take part in the Giveaway.
    I cannot access the website “http://joythebaker.com” as it says Joy the Baker is getting a snazzy new update and will return on 12/31 so fresh and so clean clean.
    Here’s wishing you A Happy New Year 2016!

  24. Alison

    Did anyone actually make these? Because I did, and they were awful! Cupcakes and frosting were both hard as a rock. Huge waste of time and money.

    1. bakerbynature Post author

      Hi Alison. I’m so sorry your cupcakes didn’t turn out. Sounds like the cupcakes may have been over baked and the frosting needed a little extra cream. I would love to help you troubleshoot what went wrong if you decide to make these again in the future.

  25. Debbie

    I just found this on your site and I cannot wait to try them! If I make the as mini cupcakes, how long should I bake them?


  26. J

    I made these dark chocolate brownie cupcakes for a dinner party (with white frosting for child decorating) and they were a HUGE hit! I really want to use this recipe again for my daughter’s upcoming birthday. How do you think this would do as a double layer circular cake? Could I just double the recipe? What about baking time and temp? Any help would be most appreciated !!

  27. Suzanne Hales

    I can’t wait to try the dark chocolate Brownie cupcakes with salted caramel frosting! ooooeeeemmmggg! If it wasn’t so late I would be at the grocery store buying the ingredients to make them asap! I will probably dream about them when I go to sleep tonight. The lemon ricotta comes almost a toss up but, Dark Chocolate brownie cupcakes trump lemon every time for me. YummY :) 😛

  28. Lisa

    Cupcakes turned out great! A few things…I ended up with 18 cupcakes and even so I had a ton of icing left over. Not sure if the excess icing was because it never “fluffed”? Regardless, super tasty!

  29. Lianna

    The dark chocolate brownie cupcakes with salted caramel frosting are DELECTABLE! However, I think you should edit your recipe or add a note to say you should also let the frosting cool before decorating. Even though I let the caramel sauce cool for about 3 minutes before making the frosting, the frosting was still a little warm when it was done. I put it in the freezer for a few minutes and began frosting, but the frosting immediately melted off the cupcake! :( I strongly recommend putting the bagged frosting in the freezer for 10-15 min before frosting to prevent this from happening.


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