I made myself cupcakes.  Well, I shared them with Kyle too but really, I made them for myself.  And for good reason…my birthday was Sunday!  And as I approach my ::ahem:: mid-30s, I’m finding that I’m not nearly as fussy about what type of birthday dessert gets made for or by me.  Every single year growing up, my single birthday request was for a marbled cake with chocolate butter cream – no compromises.  Last year, I switched things up big time with this pink vanilla bean birthday cake.

This year, I decided to go with cupcakes that I had been dreaming up all summer.  My Friday afternoon treat this summer has been my old favorite Starbucks drink and very rarely ordered, a caramel frappuccino – with whipped cream, which I can justify having just once a week, can’t I?  Anyway, I read through probably 20 different recipes for caramel frappuccino cupcakes I found online and 95% of them had chocolate cupcakes as their base.  And that made no sense to me at all because the drink contains no chocolate!

So I made espresso-caramel cupcakes, topped them with whipped cream frosting, and drizzled on some vanilla bean caramel sauce.  And oh yeah, these cupcakes totally hit their mark.  The cupcakes, even without frosting, were outstanding – rich coffee flavor and a hint of buttery caramel with great structure and a really soft crumb.  For a caramel frappuccino cupcake, the whipped cream frosting is basically obligatory to stick to the theme of the drink, but it can definitely be swapped out for a coffee Swiss meringue butter cream if you so choose and I’m sure that was be completely amazing as well.  And the caramel?  It’s completely amazing and if you opt for a different caramel for these cupcakes…or ever…you’re totally missing out.  Perfect cupcake treat?  Check.  Deflect the anxiety of an almost-mid-30s birthday?  Definitely.

Caramel Frappuccino Cupcakes

Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: about 2 dozen cupcakes

A great tip for this multi-step recipe is that once the cupcakes go into the oven, immediately wash and dry the mixing bowl and stick it and the wire whisk attachment in the fridge to chill it before making the whipped cream frosting. A cold bowl keeps the whipped cream chilled better than a warm/room temperature one does. The caramel sauce can be make days (weeks!) in advance – just warm it ever so slightly in the microwave before drizzling it on to the cupcakes.

Ingredients

    For the cupcakes:
  • 1 ¾ cups sugar, divided
  • 1/3 cup very hot water
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp coarse salt
  • 1 tbsp espresso powder
  • ¾ cup (12 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup strongly brewed coffee, warm or at room temperature
  • For the whipped cream:
  • 2 ½ cups cold whipping cream
  • ½ cup + 2 tbsp powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract, clear if you have it
  • For the caramel drizzle:
  • ¼ cup vanilla bean caramel sauce

Instructions

  1. To make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350° F. Line two 12 cup muffin pans with cupcake liners; set aside.
  2. Spread ½ cup of the sugar out in an even layer in the bottom of a small saucepan. Heat the pan to medium and when the sides of the sugar begin to liquify, start slowly stirring the sugar together until all of the sugar has melted and only liquid remains. (Lower the heat to low if the sugar or liquid sugar begins to brown too quickly. If the sugar clumps, turn the heat to low and let it melt – try not to stir it so it has a chance to heat up slowly.) Once the liquid reaches a deep amber color (you can check this by dropping a little onto a white plate), remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour in the hot water while whisking quickly to incorporate the water into the sugar. Once the caramel mixture is completely smooth, set it aside to cool.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, stir the flour, baking powder, salt, and espresso powder together until well-combined; set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and the remaining 1 ¼ cups sugar together at medium-high until they are light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time until they incorporate fully before adding the next, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in the vanilla extract. Stir in the caramel. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions alternating with two equal additions of the coffee, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Allow the ingredients to just incorporate into the batter before adding the next. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure all ingredients are fully mixed in. Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners. Bake for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the center cupcakes comes out mostly clean, with just a few tiny crumbs clinging to it. Let the pans cool on wire racks for 5 minutes then remove the cupcakes and let them completely cool on the racks before frosting.
  5. To make the frosting: Pour the whipping cream into a chilled stand mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment and beat at medium-high speed until soft peaks are formed. Sprinkle in the powdered sugar and continue to beat the cream until stiff peaks form when you pull the cream up with the whisk. Beat in the vanilla extract until just incorporated. Be careful not to over beat the cream or it will be clumpy when you pipe it.
  6. To assemble the cupcakes: Using a large star tip (I used Ateco #828) fitted inside a pastry bag (or the snipped-off corner of a plastic zipper bag if you don’t have a pastry bag), pipe the whipped cream frosting onto the cupcakes. If the frosting becomes too soft (which can happen if you handle the bag too much), transfer the frosted cupcakes to the refrigerator for a few minutes until the frosting sets up a little. Using a small squeeze bottle or a spoon, drizzle the caramel sauce on top of the whipped cream frosting and serve. The cupcakes can be stored at room temperature for a couple of days (because the sugar stabilizes the cream) but the frosting will soften considerably so keeping them in the fridge (covered) is probably a better idea.

Source

source: Smells Like Home original idea, cupcake recipe adapted from Annie’s Eats

http://www.smells-like-home.com/2012/08/caramel-frappuccino-cupcakes/

Caramel Frappuccino Cupcakes

  • Prep Time: 15min (caramel for cupcakes) | 15min (cupcakes) | 5min (frosting)
  • Cook Time: 18-20min
  • Yield: about 2 dozen

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:
1 ¾ cups sugar, divided
1/3 cup very hot water
3 cups cake flour
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp coarse salt
1 tbsp espresso powder
¾ cup (12 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup strongly brewed coffee, warm or at room temperature

For the whipped cream:
2 ½ cups cold whipping cream
½ cup + 2 tbsp powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract, clear if you have it

For the caramel drizzle:
¼ cup vanilla bean caramel sauce (can be made weeks in advance)

Instructions

  • 01

    To make the cupcakes:  Preheat oven to 350° F.  Line two 12 cup muffin pans with cupcake liners; set aside.

  • 02

    Spread ½ cup of the sugar out in an even layer in the bottom of a small saucepan.  Heat the pan to medium and when the sides of the sugar begin to liquify, start slowly stirring the sugar together until all of the sugar has melted and only liquid remains.  (Lower the heat to low if the sugar or liquid sugar begins to brown too quickly.  If the sugar clumps, turn the heat to low and let it melt – try not to stir it so it has a chance to heat up slowly.)  Once the liquid reaches a deep amber color (you can check this by dropping a little onto a white plate), remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour in the hot water while whisking quickly to incorporate the water into the sugar.  Once the caramel mixture is completely smooth, set it aside to cool.

  • 03

    In a medium mixing bowl, stir the flour, baking powder, salt, and espresso powder together until well-combined; set aside.

  • 04

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and the remaining 1 ¼ cups sugar together at medium-high until they are light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time until they incorporate fully before adding the next, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Mix in the vanilla extract.  Stir in the caramel.  With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions alternating with two equal additions of the coffee, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Allow the ingredients to just incorporate into the batter before adding the next.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure all ingredients are fully mixed in.  Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners.

  • 05

    Bake for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the center cupcakes comes out mostly clean, with just a few tiny crumbs clinging to it.  Let the pans cool on wire racks for 5 minutes then remove the cupcakes and let them completely cool on the racks before frosting.

  • 06

    To make the frosting:  Pour the whipping cream into a chilled stand mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment and beat at medium-high speed until soft peaks are formed.  Sprinkle in the powdered sugar and continue to beat the cream until stiff peaks form when you pull the cream up with the whisk.  Beat in the vanilla extract until just incorporated.  Be careful not to over beat the cream or it will be clumpy when you pipe it.

  • 07

    To assemble the cupcakes: Using a large star tip (I used Ateco #828) fitted inside a pastry bag (or the snipped-off corner of a plastic zipper bag if you don’t have a pastry bag), pipe the whipped cream frosting onto the cupcakes.  If the frosting becomes too soft (which can happen if you handle the bag too much), transfer the frosted cupcakes to the refrigerator for a few minutes until the frosting sets up a little.  Using a small squeeze bottle or a spoon, drizzle the caramel sauce on top of the whipped cream frosting and serve.

  • 08

    Storage: The cupcakes can be stored at room temperature for a couple of days (because the sugar stabilizes the cream) but the frosting will soften considerably so keeping them in the fridge (covered) is probably a better idea.

Smells Like Home original | cupcake recipe adapted from Annie’s Eats

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  • August 24, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    Happy belated birthday!! These cupcakes are a wonderful way to celebrate!

    • taraliptak
      September 2, 2013 at 8:22 AM

      As long as you’re not keeping them outside, they’ll be fine for a few hours at room temp.

  • August 24, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    Gorgeous photos! They look delicious, too!

  • August 25, 2012 at 5:28 AM

    These look so cute! And tasty! And decadent! And… 🙂

    Happy Belated Bday, btw.

  • August 25, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    These are super delicious looking cupcakes!
    What wonderful treats for your birthday

  • Elena
    August 28, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    Hi. This is my go-to website – I love everything I’ve tried here. Last night, I made the vanilla bean caramel sauce and I agree that it is not to be missed. That said, I have a question about step 2 in these cupcakes. When do I add the caramel mixture to the cupcake batter? I re-read the recipe a few times and realized that I can’t find where it should be added back in. Perhaps when I add the coffee? Thanks!

    • August 28, 2012 at 8:28 PM

      Elena: This is so nice to hear! And thanks for the head’s up about the caramel. You just mix it into the batter after the vanilla – I just added that. 🙂

  • August 29, 2012 at 12:04 AM

    I was on Foodgawker and was immediately drawn to these…I only allow myself a frap on occasion as well but I may just have to switch it out for one of these next time! Looks so good!

  • Tiana
    October 6, 2012 at 5:58 AM

    Hi!
    I was wondering if I could use all-purpose flour instead of cake flour.

    Great recipe! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • October 6, 2012 at 5:52 PM

      You could but the texture won’t be the same. The cupcakes may be a little “stiff”.

  • Emily
    November 11, 2012 at 11:54 PM

    The caramel making process is ridiculously hard. By the end, we just ended up buying caramel sauce from the bottle. Maybe we’re just really bad at baking…

  • December 5, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    What wonderful treats for your made for a birthday! I’ve featured this great recipes on my blog hoping that you don’t mind! If you don’t agree with that please contact me and I will remove it. All the best.

  • January 5, 2013 at 2:39 AM

    These turned out fantastic! Thank you so much for the wonderful and delicious recipe! I posted a picture of mine on instagram to show off how adorable (and tasty) they are! http://instagram.com/p/UF67fQoPnh/

    • January 5, 2013 at 9:05 AM

      Yay! So great to hear! Yours turned out perfect!!

  • Christine
    January 20, 2013 at 6:44 PM

    This is my first time baking.. If possible, can somebody post a tutorial video of making these caramel Frappuccino Cupcakes. My best friend’s daughter had passed away and i wanted to make her cupcakes because i know how much she loves cupcakes.. Thank you and have a blessed day! 🙂

  • Kendall
    March 28, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    question..i made this as a cake and it turned out kinda dense and a little dry ( I know partly because it was just slightly over done) but i was wondering if added vanilla pudding to it if that would moisten it up or just really screw it up? i’m making this for my dads 50th surprise bday and would really appreciate any feed back thanks

    • March 28, 2013 at 9:53 PM

      I totally loved these cupcakes as they were so I don’t have any suggestions for you about this recipe, I’m sorry. I’ve never made a cake with pudding mix so I really have no idea what it could do to this recipe. The only reason why I think it could have been a dense cake is if you overbeat the batter. You want to allow some of the air to remain in the batter while it bakes – that should make a difference. And yes, bake it less to avoid dryness. 🙂

      • Kendall
        March 28, 2013 at 11:51 PM

        excellent! thank you VERY MUCH!!

        • March 29, 2013 at 8:30 AM

          You’re welcome!

  • April 17, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    They just came out of the oven and are divine!! Thank you for this recipe, I’ll be frosting them tomorrow night for a friend’s birthday 😀 I had a bit of trouble with the caramel (but I always have issues with caramel :P) but it was well worth it.

  • April 30, 2013 at 2:36 AM

    Gorgeous! I definitely have to make this for myself – the caramel frap was my favorite childhood drink!

  • Jacki Burchell
    July 23, 2013 at 3:39 AM

    What is cake flour? Is it self raising flour? In AUS

    • taraliptak
      July 23, 2013 at 12:51 PM

      No, it is not self-rising flour. If you can’t find it where you are: To make cake flour, remove 2 tbsp of all-purpose flour from each measured cup in the recipe and replace them with 2 tbsp cornstarch. (So you take out 2 tbsp flour and add 2 tbsp cornstarch for each cup of flour.) Then sift the flour-cornstarch five times, back and forth between two large bowls. This is how I make cake flour at home and it works great.

  • Jenifer Hancock
    September 2, 2013 at 1:10 AM

    I made these for my daughter’s dance team’s bake sale. I was wondering if the frosting will hold up okay for the 4-5 hours of the sale.

  • Tommy
    September 7, 2013 at 9:52 PM

    I have a competition at work and im totally going to try this recipe! sounds like it will definitely make me win!

  • Kristen
    October 16, 2013 at 9:48 PM

    I just made these tonight for my co workers tomorrow and I could already tell by the measurements, these would yield more than 12 cupcakes. I halved the recipe and got 12. Trust me no complaints there lol. I served one to my mom and she LOVED! She likes cupcakes but I can tell when she is in love with this one and her expressions showed that. I used a squeeze bottle dulce de leche instead of making my own caramel and I used more than 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Awesome recipe and a twist on one of my favorite drinks.

    • taraliptak
      October 23, 2013 at 9:05 AM

      The recipe yields 24 cupcakes so halving it would definitely give you 12. 🙂 So glad you and your mom loved them and I love the idea of drizzling with dulce de leche!

  • taraliptak
    November 29, 2013 at 5:16 PM

    I responded to your question on the caramel post itself but I’ll respond here too in case others have issues with the sauce. I think I remember the sauce for the cupcakes being a thinner sauce on purpose so it blends well with the batter. The sauce for the drizzle will thicken as it cools. Hope this helps! Let me know how they turned out for you. 🙂

  • […] Why have a cupcake or a frappuccino when you can have both right here? […]

  • […] 6) Caramel Frappuccino Cupcakes, recipe courtesy of Smells Like Home […]

  • April 28, 2015 at 8:02 PM

    SO happy you loved these cupcakes! I’m so thrilled and honored you chose them for your birthday – it’s a special day to bake for and I always feel like what I bake needs to be a winner. Thanks so much for coming back to comment!

  • […] Caramel Frappuccino Cupcakes from Smells Like Home […]

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