Caramel Macchiato Cupcakes

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These Caramel Macchiato Cupcakes are perfect for caramel coffee lovers! Moist vanilla cupcakes pair perfectly with creamy coffee frosting. The homemade caramel is buttery and sweet, making each bite perfect. Dust with a little instant coffee to garnish, and voilà, the perfect cupcake!

This recipe is a love letter to all Starbucks Caramel Macchiato fans (my twin sister Rach, I’m looking at you 🙂). If you love the caramel coffee flavor combo, you’ll find these cupcakes spot on. They feature moist vanilla cupcakes topped with smooth coffee frosting and a dollop of homemade buttery caramel. It’s a decadent treat you must try!

Tips for Making Homemade Caramel

Homemade caramel might seem tricky, but it’s actually easy and tastes way better than store-bought. I always make extra to store in the fridge. You can drizzle it on coffee, dip apples in it, or eat it by the spoonful 🙂 If it gets thick in the fridge, just microwave it for 10-15 seconds to make it drizzle again. Here are some tips to ensure your caramel turns out perfectly:

Avoid Burning the Sugar: Stir constantly while the sugar is melting. Once it turns a deep amber color, add the butter and heavy cream immediately and remove from heat. Make sure all the sugar dissolves before adding the butter and cream to avoid clumps.

Caramel Macchiato Cupcakes

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 24 cupcakes


#### For the Cupcakes:

  • – 1 cup salted butter room temperature
  • – 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • – 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • – 3 eggs room temperature
  • – 3 cups cake flour or use 1 cup all-purpose flour minus 2 tablespoons, plus 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • – 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • – 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • – 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • – 1 1/4 cups buttermilk room temperature

#### For the Caramel:

  • – 1 cup granulated sugar
  • – 1/2 cup heavy cream warm
  • – 5 tablespoons salted butter room temperature
  • – 1/2 teaspoon salt

#### For the Buttercream:

  • – 1 cup salted butter room temperature
  • – 4 cups powdered sugar
  • – 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • – 2 tablespoons heavy cream warm
  • – 1 teaspoon instant coffee add more for a stronger coffee flavor
  • – 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


#### For the Cupcakes:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and line cupcake pans with 24 liners.
  • In a stand mixer, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and vanilla on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Scrape down the sides and add the eggs one at a time, mixing on low.
  • Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, pour in the buttermilk and mix until combined.
  • Scoop the batter into the prepared liners, filling about 3/4 full. Bake for 23-26 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely.

#### For the Caramel:

  • In a saucepan over medium-high heat, stir the sugar occasionally with a metal whisk until it starts to melt and turn deep amber. This takes about 5-10 minutes.
  • Once melted, stir in the butter one tablespoon at a time. Slowly drizzle in the warm heavy cream while whisking until fully combined. Be careful, as it will bubble and steam.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the salt. The caramel will be runny but will thicken as it cools. Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

#### For the Buttercream:

  • In a stand mixer, cream the butter and powdered sugar on medium-high for 1 minute.
  • In a small bowl, mix the warm heavy cream and instant coffee until dissolved. Add more coffee for a stronger flavor if desired.
  • Add the cream mixture, vanilla, and salt to the mixer and beat until smooth.
  • Fill a piping bag with a round or star tip and the frosting.

#### For Assembly:

  • Once the cupcakes are cool, pipe a circle of frosting along the edges, leaving the center bare.
  • Spoon about 1 tablespoon of caramel into the center.
  • Dust with additional instant coffee if desired. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

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