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Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream

Jocelyn Delk-Adams' Chocolate Cupcakes + Sweet Potato Coffee Cake
Jocelyn Delk-Adams' Chocolate Cupcakes + Sweet Potato Coffee CakeNathan Congleton / TODAY
Cook Time:
15 mins
Prep Time:
12 mins

Chef notes

These are seriously the best moist chocolate cupcakes that will melt in your mouth after every bite! Decadent, delicious, rich and irresistible, this is the best chocolate cupcake recipe you'll ever taste — especially when topped with amazing caramel buttercream!

Swap option: Substitute white chocolate for chocolate drizzle or butterscotch buttercream for caramel buttercream. For the chocolate cupcake buttercream, it's already caramel-flavored but you can remove the caramel and replace with more heavy cream for just a vanilla flavor.


  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon thick caramel sauce, store-bought or homemade
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chocolate Drizzle
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 5-6 tablespoons milk


For the cupcakes:


Preheat oven to 350°F and line cupcake/muffin pan with cupcake liners.


In a medium sized bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk, oil and vanilla and set aside.


In a separate large bowl, add flour, both sugars, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and whisk to combine.


In batches, add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and whisk until smooth.


Lastly, mix in hot water and whisk until combined and perfectly smooth. The batter should be somewhat thin.


Add batter to cupcake liners filling only halfway and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean.

For the buttercream:


In your stand mixer, add butter and salt at medium low speed.


Next turn the mixer down to low and slowly add powdered sugar in small portions until all is added then turn the speed to medium high to combine.


Add heavy cream, caramel and vanilla extract and mix until nice and fluffy. Add in food coloring at this point if desired.

For the drizzle:


Add chocolate chips and 5 tablespoons milk to a microwave safe bowl.


Microwave on high for 30-45 seconds or until chocolate has melted down.


Whisk together chocolate chips and milk until completely smooth and well combined. If you would like your sauce thinner for drizzle, add another tablespoon of milk and combine until completely smooth.

To assemble:

Allow cupcakes to cool until room temperature then frost with buttercream and drizzle the chocolate over the tops.