Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Icing

I used to try to find recipes online by searching for recipes with gluten free, dairy free etc. in the heading. My husband had a great idea, why not just find a regular recipe because we know that it works, and adapt it with my gluten free flour mixes.

I placated him only to discover that most of the time it actually works really well and tastes delicious!

This is a recipe I found online and thought sounded delicious and had to make. I have had people begging me for them since I made them in March for my birthday. I also made them for my brother’s wedding reception and had several people exclaim that it was the best cupcake they have ever had.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting

  • Servings: 12 cupcakes
  • Print

Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 3/4 cups All-Purpose Flour (used my GF all purpose flour mix)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder (1)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (2)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (I use grapeseed oil) (3)
  • 3/4 cup white cane sugar
  • 1 large egg (I use Bob’s Red Mill Vegan Egg Replacer or a flaxseed egg to make it egg free) (4)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (5)
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk (to make dairy free use per 1 cup milk alternative, 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice)
  • 1/4 cup boiling water

Salted Caramel Sauce

Caramel Frosting

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (6)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar (I use Wholesome Organic Icing Sugar) (8)
  • 1/2 cup salted caramel sauce (see above)
  • 2-3 Tbsp cream, as needed (I have never needed any additional cream, if you do and need dairy free, you could use coconut cream)

Chocolate Cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a muffin pan with muffin papers. (I like to use silicone cups as who knows what is in the paper)
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder & salt.
  3. In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat together the oil, sugar, egg, and vanilla extract (about 1 minute). Carefully beat in buttermilk.
  4. Mix in the flour mixture about 1/2 at a time, turning off the mixer and scraping down the sides of the bowl in between.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, carefully beat in the boiling water.
  6. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling each about 2/3 full (It is super sticky, I find using an ice cream scoop with trigger release the best due to how sticky it is)
  7. Bake for 16-19 minutes, or until the tops feel slightly firm to the touch, toothpick comes out clean.

Salted Caramel Sauce

  1. Add the sugar to a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Heat the sugar while whisking constantly.
  3. Eventually, after whisking gently, the mixture will become smooth and dark amber in colour. Be careful and whisk constantly or else your caramel can burn.
  4. Carefully whisk in the chopped butter until it is fully melted (it will bubble up).
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the cream.
  6. Stir in the vanilla extract & salt. Set aside to cool (I store it in jars in the fridge)

Caramel Frosting

  1. In a large bowl beat the butter until fluffy (about 2 minutes).
  2. Beat in 2 cups of powdered sugar, starting with mixer on low, increased to medium to incorporated.
  3. Mix in 1/2 cup salted caramel sauce (you will not need all that you made). It must be 100% cooled before adding it to the frosting.
  4. Beat in the remaining powdered sugar about 1/2 cup at a time, alternating with 1 Tbsp of cream until the desired sweetness and consistency is reached.
  5. Frost the cupcakes using a knife or a piping bag (I used a 1M tip). Optionally, drizzle each cupcake with more salted caramel sauce. (If you are using the MELT butter your icing will be SUPER soft. Ice and put immediately into a fridge and only remove right before serving)

Recipe Notes
(1) Baking powder is not corn free. Find corn-free if need be.
(2) Many that are allergic to corn are sensitive to iodized salt as corn is used in the processing. Sea salt is better, but some are still quite sensitive.
(3) Don’t use “vegetable oil” as it can be corn or soy oil. Canola oil is one of the worst oils for cross contamination with corn. I usually use grapeseed oil. Olive oil isn’t always 100% olive oil either, so if you are sensitive, be careful.
(4) Some egg replacers contain corn, Bob’s Red Mill Vegan Egg Replacer is a good option, but you can also use flaxseed meal and make an egg if you need to be egg free as we do.
(5) Vanilla is made with alcohol, usually corn based, so many make their own safe vanilla. I haven’t done this yet as I need to get some vanilla beans. I’ll post how to make it when I do, just know, without homemade vanilla, this likely isn’t truly corn free.
(6) Depending on allergies use whatever butter you need. There are several options: MELT, Earth Balance, Miyoko’s, coconut oil, goat butter).
(7) When looking at canned coconut milk or cream be sure to check for gums. The one I buy is gum free as corn is used to make all the “gum” ingredients such as guar gum.
(8) Powdered sugar/icing sugar contains cornstarch to prevent clumping. I buy Wholesome Organic Icing Sugar as they use tapioca starch instead. It is possible to make your own.
(9) Store your cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days or in the fridge (if you use any dairy alternative butters the icing tends to be softer so needs to be stored in the fridge). Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen and thawed as desired and leftover frosting can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container.

One thing you always need to make sure is that all ingredients you are using are safe for everyone you want to eat it. Check for “may contain” ingredients or “processed in safe facility as”. Best bet, if you are making for someone else, check with them what brands they recommend that they know are safe for them to eat.

I hope that you can enjoy these as much as we do. I definitely find that these are better the second day when made gluten free.

Let me know if you made these and how they turned out!

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