Chocolate Velvet Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Filling

I celebrated my 36th birthday this month and for my birthday this year I wanted to try a new flavor connoction of cupcakes.  After thinking of some different options the best sounding one I could think of came to mind.  Since I already had some Vanilla Bean Buttercream frozen I knew for sure that it would be my frosting.

I've always been a fan of chocolate cake, it's actually the type of wedding cake I had; chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.  The recipe for these cupcakes isn't as over powering as some chocolate cake recipes can be. Not that over powering is a bad thing but in this recipe a bit less chocolate is a good thing. I like how there are 3 different sources of chocolate in the cupcake recipe, it makes a smooth velvety cupcake. I always purhcase my Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa on Amazon - the cocoa has a great shelf life if kept in a cool dry place. You can get the best deal by purchasing 6 (8 ounce) containers at once. 

This recipe also calls for Hershey's Unsweetend Cocoa which can be found here: At $19.74 for 48 ounces makes it only $0.41 per ounce.  Definitely not a bad price.

Chocolate Velvet Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Filling frosted with Vanilla Bean Buttercream.


3 cups all-purpose flour

½ tsp baking soda

1 ½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp Jell-O Chocolate Fudge Pudding (dry)

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

2/3 cup vegetable oil

1 stick of softened unsalted butter

1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

3 large eggs, room temperature

1 ½ cups buttermilk, room temperature

½ cup boiling water blended with ½ tsp Medaglia d’ Oro Espresso Powder

2 tbsp Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder

3 tbsp Hershey’s Dark cocoa powder

sidenote: there are lots of espresso powder's on the market these days, in all honestly I like Medaglia d' Oro Espresso Powder the best. 


  1. Prep cupcake pans of your choice with cupcake liners - Do Not Spray. Preheat oven to 375° for cupcakes dependent on if you want domed tops or not. (I personally don't like domed tops), it's a personal preference.
  2. Heat water to boiling, and then add the espresso powder & cocoas. Mix well and set aside.  This needs to be done 1st so that the cocoa will bloom.
  3. Add softened butter to bowl of stand mixer and cream for 1-2 minutes before adding vegetable oil and vanilla slowly until blended.
  4. Add granulated white sugar & beat for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add eggs, one at a time with mixer running on low.  Keep mixer running on low, while adding dry pudding, salt, baking soda & baking powder. 
  6. Add ½ of flour, then all of buttermilk, then mix to incorporate. Then add rest of flour.  Scrape sides of bowl, and then slowly add hot water mixture while mixer is running on low. Once incorporated, scrape bowl again, turn mixer up to high for 30 seconds.
  7. Fill cupcake liners with a level stainless steel scoop or approximately 3 tablespoons.
  8. Bake cupcakes at 375° for 15-17 minutes until cake tester comes out clean.

While cupcakes are cooling prepare your salted caramel filling. 

Salted Caramel Filling:


  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick) softened
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsps light-colored corn syrup
  • 2 tsps pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp Sea Salt


  1. In a medium heavy saucepan, stir together the heavy whipping cream, butter, brown sugar & corn syrup.
  2. Bring to boiling over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally.
  3. Reduce heat to medium, then boil gently for 3 more minutes.
  4. Add in 1/4 tsp sea salt, cook for another 30 seconds.
  5. Remove from heat, and stir in pure vanilla extract.
  6. Transfer sauce to a mason jar with lid. Let cool for 15-30 minutes before filling cupcakes with it.


  1. Use a cupcake/treat corer to remove about 1/2 inch of the middle of the cupcake (don't throw this part away as it will be used to cover the hole once filled). 

2. Pour the salted caramel into a tipless bag or a ziploc bag with approximately 1 cup of sauce (you won't use it all), fill the center of the cored cupcakes till nearly full. 


3. Using the cored out cupcake tops, place them back on the top of the filled cupcakes, (you might need to push them down a bit to get them to fit).

I frosted my filled cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Buttercream because that is what I had on hand, then drizzled them with more Salted Caramel Filling.  Some other options for the frosting would be vanilla buttercream or mocha chocolate buttercream.

These cupcakes were a big hit as I made extra on my birthday, then went around town and handled out samples to area businesses.  Marketing and sharing the cupcake love.


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These cupcakes were such a big hit, I made more later on in the week as I was donating muffins & cupcakes to our church coffee hour. They went very quickly and I had lots of compliments. Good food made with love is what I love to do.