Chocolate Caramel Corn Cupcakes

Little known fact - popcorn is one of my favorite snacks. When I was in high school, my mom taught me how to make homemade popcorn from fresh kernels as opposed the stuff you put in the microwave. Ever since then, I have been obsessed.

Chocolate Caramel Corn Cupcakes | Sprinkles for Breakfast

And once you have a solid popcorn base, there are so many options. Butter, salt, parmesan cheese, chocolate, herbs - the list goes on and on. But because I am addicted to sugar - caramel corn is always my number one choice. 

Chocolate Caramel Corn Cupcakes | Sprinkles for Breakfast

So I went ahead and put it on top of a cupcake. The chocolate/caramel combination with the added crunch of the popcorn makes these guys unstoppable. You won't be able to have just one. 

Chocolate Caramel Corn Cupcakes | Sprinkles for Breakfast

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Chocolate Caramel Corn Cupcakes | Sprinkles for Breakfast

Chocolate Caramel Corn Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 2 cups sugar 
  • 1 3/4 cups flour 
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder 
  • 2 tsp baking soda 
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 tsp kosher salt 
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk 
  • 1 cup coffee 
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil 
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract 

Buttercream

  • 1 lb (2 cups) room temperature butter
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • water
  • candy thermometer

Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 c heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Chocolate Caramel Corn Topping 

Directions

for the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F,  and place cupcake liners into cupcake pan. 
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment,  combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix on low until dry ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  3. On low speed add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla.
  4. Once everything is combined beat on medium speed for 1 minute.
  5. Pour batter into cupcake liners 2/3 full.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean..
  7. Transfer pans to wire rack and let cool completely.

for the caramel :

  1. Place sugar and water into a saucepan over medium low heat and stir until sugar has dissolved. Dissolve any crystals forming on the side with a wet pastry brush.
  2. Once sugar has dissolved increase heat to high.
  3. At this point do not stir the mixture directly. Now and then, using the saucepan handle, give the pot a swirl to keep the mixture moving. The mixture will start to bubble after a minute or so.
  4. After 3-4 minutes the mixture will turn from a light amber to medium amber and then finally to a dark reddish brown color. Once the mixture starts to smoke, add the butter and heavy cream. The mixture will bubble wildly. Whisk to combine.
  5. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside to cool.

for the buttercream:

  1. In a small sauce pan put 3/4 cup of sugar and cover the sugar with a little bit of water until the sugar looks like wet sand. Cook on a stove top over high heat until it reaches 248 degrees (you will need a candy thermometer).
  2. While the sugar is cooking, whip eggs whites in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment at a high speed until they reach soft peaks.
  3. Once the egg whites reach soft peaks add the other 1/4 cup of sugar and mix on a high speed until the egg whites reach stiff peaks. You can keep mixing the egg whites at a high speed until the sugar is done cooking.
  4. Once the sugar reaches 248 degrees, immediately add it to the egg white mixture. Mix on a high speed for 30 minutes.
  5. After 30 minutes, add the room temperature butter and mix on a high speed for 5-10 minutes until the butter is fully combined and the mixture resembles buttercream.
  6. Add vanilla and room temperature caramel sauce. Mix until just combined.

for the topping: 

  1. Pipe a generous amount of buttercream on top of the cupcake. 
  2. Top the buttercream with a good amount of caramel corn. 
  3. Drizzle melted chocolate over the top. 

*Makes 24 cupcakes 

Chocolate Caramel Corn Cupcakes | Sprinkles for Breakfast
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