It took me weeks to decide what I was going to make for the Fall Baking Sale at my job. I was asked if I would donate a dozen cupcakes and I wanted to make them really special and something I’ve never made before. Dark salty caramel and the best festive fall flavors just put me in the happiest place. You know how a cozy sweater wrap and cute boots just go together to get you in the fall spirit – yeah, the dessert version of that!
After getting inspired by a recent post on Sally’s Baking Addiction’s for her pumpkin cupcakes, I decided to do something similar – but kicking it up a few notches and really making this a major flavor explosion!
For the caramel sauce, you can use my Salted Dark Caramel Sauce or to keep it simpler, buy store-bought salted caramel sauce.
I added molasses to the pumpkin cupcakes to make a dark rich flavor that compliments the caramel sauce really well. I recently started adding marshmallow fluff into my cream cheese frosting as a staple, and I really can’t live without it. I think it makes THE best cream cheese frosting of all times ever.
As I mention in the recipe below, insert the caramel sauce with a squeeze bottle into the cupcakes. Here is a photo to give you a visual of how this looks (assuming you’ve never filled a cupcake before :))
Aren’t these completed cupcakes just show stoppers??
Fluffy Pumpkin Cupcakes with Buttery Salted Dark Caramel
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon, ground
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 2 cups pumpkin puree, strained (strain liquid out with cheesecloth)
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Buttery Salted Dark Caramel Sauce
- prepared (or store bought) salted caramel (Recipe link in note below)
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 boxes cream cheesem, softened slightly
- 1 1/4 stick butter, salted and softened
- 6-7 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 cups marshmallow fluff
|Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare (2) 12-cupcake pan or (1) 24-cupcake pan with cupcake liners.|
|In a large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients (except for sugar) and set aside. |
In a mixing bowl, combine the wet ingredients: egs, oil, brown sugar, pumpkin puree, molasses and vanilla. Mix until well combined. While mixer is on low, add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients slowly, being careful not to over-mix.
|Using an ice cream scoop or 1/3 cup measure, fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 full. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, checking on them around the 18 minute mark to be sure to not over-bake. When a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, they are fully baked. Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack.|
|Fill the Cupcakes|
|While the cupcakes are still cooling, fill a squeeze bottle with prepared caramel sauce. Insert the squeeze bottle tip about halfway into the cupcake. Squeeze out the caramel to fill the cupcakes as you slowly lift up and out of the cupcake (see picture above). Once the caramel settles into the cupcake, do one more pass of caramel sauce to top it off.|
|Cream Cheese Frosting|
|In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium and mix until fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add half of the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until a frosting texture forms.|
|Add the marshmallow fluff and continue to beat until smooth. Finally, add the remaining powdered sugar and the vanilla extract. Fill a piping bag with the tip of your choice and refrigerate until ready to use.|
|Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, pipe the frosting on each cupcake, then top with a caramel drizzle and dust with cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice and a small sprinkle of finishing salt.|
** I use a food squeeze bottle filled with caramel sauce to make inserting caramel sauce into the cupcakes a lot easier.
Click here for the recipe to my Salted Dark Caramel Sauce