These rich and decadent Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Pretzel Cupcakes are sure to be a crowd favorite! They are filled with an easy homemade salted caramel filling and topped with a heavenly caramel buttercream, perfect for Valentine’s Day or any special occasion!
With Valentine’s Day less than one week away, I had to share one of my all time favorite cupcake recipes. As you may have figured out, I’m a bit of a chocoholic and I’m not planning on recovering anytime soon. Mexican Dark Chocolate Mousse, Chocolate Apricot Scones, and Dark Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova are just a few of the numerous chocolate recipes I’ve shared here at The Saucy Fig. However these Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Pretzel cupcakes might just take the cake (Literally!!) They are straight up Addicting with a capital A. Just one bite, and I promise you will be hooked!
The Best Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream
They start with super soft, rich chocolaty dark chocolate cupcakes, which are then filled with heavenly homemade salted caramel and topped with fluffy, extra dreamy caramel buttercream frosting. Oh and of course you can’t forget that dark chocolate salted caramel pretzel bark on top. Cause that would be a BIG mistake, let me tell you.
When you take that first bite, your taste buds are going to thank you for making these cupcakes. They are perfectly textured with a soft gooey caramel center and a nice crunchy topping from the pretzel bark. When I crave treats I often have a hard time deciding if I want something sweet or salty, but with these you don’t have to! They have just the right balance between sweet and salty. Plus, dark chocolate, caramel and sea salt are a perfect trifecta of flavors and ain’t nobody gonna mess around with that trio.
Tips for the Perfect Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes
- The secret to these perfectly moist and tender cupcakes is the hot water. It does wonders in this recipe and the results are the BEST fluffy and moist chocolate cupcakes ever.
- I use both baking powder and baking soda in this recipe, for perfectly light and fluffy cupcakes. If you want to learn more about when, why and how to use baking powder and baking soda in your baked goods, I highly suggest reading this blog post from Sally’s Baking Addiction. It’s super helpful!
- Make sure to use naturally unsweetened cocoa powder, not dutched cocoa! Hint: naturally unsweetened cocoa is the kind you probably already use (like the Hershey’s brand available at most grocery stores). Dutched cocoa powder has been treated with an alkalizing agent that makes it darker in color, mellow in flavor, and helps it to dissolve in liquids. It’s used in ice cream, hot chocolate and certain types of baking that only use baking powder, not baking soda.
- Don’t burn your caramel sauce! Always watch your caramel sauce carefully, stirring frequently, and make sure to remove it from heat before it starts to have the “burnt caramel” smell.
- To prevent your chocolate bark from blooming (or turning that dull, grayish color and waxy texture) make sure to temper your chocolate. I like to use the seeding method by removing 1/3 of the chocolate, melting the remaining 2/3 chocolate at low temperature (on short burst in the microwave, stirring frequently, or in a glass bowl over a pot of boiling water) and then adding the remaining already tempered chocolate back in and stirring till melted.
I hope you enjoy these Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Pretzel Cupcakes as much as we do! They really are the perfect decadent dessert for Valentine’s Day, birthday parties or any special occasion! If you make them don’t forget to leave a comment below or take a picture and share it on Instagram using #thesaucyfig.Print
Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Pretzel Cupcakes
These rich and decadent Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Pretzel cupcakes are sure to be a crowd favorite! They are filled with an easy homemade salted caramel filling and topped with a heavenly caramel buttercream, perfect for Valentine’s Day or any special occasion!
- Total Time: 2 hours
- Yield: 16-18 cupcakes 1x
- 1 1/3 cup flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/3 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup very hot water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons water
- 6 tablespoons salted butter, cut up into pieces
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Salted Caramel Buttercream
- 6 cups powdered sugar
- 2/3 cup salted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons milk (more or less to thin to desired consistency)
- 1/4 cup salted caramel sauce (more or less to taste)
Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark
- 10 oz. Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Melting Wafers
- 1/4 cup reserved caramel sauce
- semi crushed pretzel pieces
- Start by making the caramel sauce. In a medium pot over medium-high heat, combine the sugar and water and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until completely dissolved.
- Reduce the heat to medium, add the butter and whisk to combine with the sugar mixture until the butter is fully melted and incorporated (another 2-3 minutes).
- Add the heavy whipping cream in a steady stream while whisking. Once the cream is incorporated, let it boil for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, or until it has reached a nice caramel color and aroma.
- Remove from heat and stir in the pure vanilla extract and fine sea salt.
- Let caramel cool at room temperature before using in the buttercream, chocolate bark or cupcakes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line your muffin tin with cupcake liners.
- Add all dry ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk till combined. Set aside.
- In a large bowl or an electric mixer, whisk the sugars, oil, eggs and vanilla extract together till combined and smooth.
- Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in the mixer, and beat till combined. Add the remaining wet ingredients and all of the buttermilk to the bowl and continue to mix just until combined.
- Add in the very hot water to the bowl and again, mix just until combined. The batter will be thin.
- Pour or spoon the batter into the cupcake liners. Fill just barely over half way.
- Bake the cupcakes for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow to cool completely before filling with the salted caramel.
- To fill, simply cut a small hole in the top center of the cupcake going straight down, pull out the portion you cut out, fill the hole with caramel and then top with just the top layer of part of the cake you took out.
Salted Caramel Buttercream
- Add the powdered sugar, butter, vanilla extract, and milk to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until combined and smooth. Add the caramel sauce to taste and beat till combined.
- If you want your frosting thinner you can add more caramel sauce or milk, if you need it thicker just add a little powdered sugar.
- Frost the cupcakes once cooled using a piping bag and 1M or 2D piping tip.
Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark
- Melt 3/4 of the chocolate in a glass bowl in the microwave on short 30 second intervals, stirring vigorously in between.
- Once completely melted, add in the remaining 1/4 of the chocolate and stir till melted. If you need to, you can microwave for another 15-30 seconds if the chocolate does not melt all the way.
- Pour the chocolate onto a parchment lined (not wax paper!) cookie sheet and spread it out evenly with a spatula. Let it cool for just a minute or two, and then drizzle the salted caramel over the top in very thin ribbons and sprinkle pretzel pieces on top.
- Let the chocolate bar cool completely before breaking apart into pieces and topping the cupcakes. So yummy!
Keywords: chocolate cupcakes, salted caramel sauce, salted caramel buttercream, caramel frosting, dark chocolate cupcakes, caramel cupcakes, chocolate bark, pretzels, dark chocolate, cupcakes, valentines day treats, birthday cake, dessert