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Recipe: Coffee Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream

Re-invent the classic coffee cake

Coffee Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting



I love making cupcakes. I love picking out the cupcake liners. I love thinking about the next kind of cupcakes I will make. I love making cupcakes more than I love eating them. I love making cupcakes more than most things in life. Except for Rupert.

So, Coffee Cake.

Coffee cake is a bit misleading because it doesn’t actually taste like coffee…it’s just called that because people generally eat it with a nice cup of java. This is one of those things like when the Brits say they’re having tea, but they really mean they’re having dinner.

Typically, coffee cake is a single layer cake flavoured with things like cinnamon and nutmeg, and is topped with either a streusel or brown sugar. My grandma used to make this recipe for her kids, and I’ve been making it since I learned to bake. I used to make it for my uncle’s birthday every year until he passed away.¬† But recently we celebrated his son’s birthday and I decided to keep with tradition.


Crumble-Topped Coffee Cake


1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons vegetable oil


3 cups all purpose flour

2 tablespoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/3 cups cold coffee

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup vegetable oil


Preheat oven to 350 F. Makes 24 Cupcakes.

  1. For the topping, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons oil in a separate bowl. Set aside.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar into a mixing bowl.
  3. In stand mixer, beat eggs until pale and thick (about 10 minutes). Stir in 1/2 cup oil, coffee, and vanilla.
  4. Make a ‘well’ in the middle of dry ingredients. Add egg mixture all at once, stirring until smooth. Don’t over-mix.
  5. Divide evenly into cupcake liners, filling about 2/3 full.
  6. Spread the brown sugar topping evenly over the cupcakes. Use a toothpick to swirl it through the batter.
  7. Bake 15-20 minutes.

Note: If you’re just making the cake, I recommend putting the brown sugar mix on top. But for some of the cupcakes, I put 1 tablespoon of batter into the liners, then the topping, then another tablespoon of batter on top–I did this because I knew I’d be frosting them, so this way you get the sugary deliciousness in the middle.

Coffee Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting

Mix brown sugar, cinnamon, and oil. Set aside.

Coffee Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting

Sift dry ingredients into a separate bowl and whisk together.

In stand mixer, beat eggs until thick. Add cold coffee (hot coffee will scramble your eggs), vanilla, and 1/2 cup oil. Beat on low until combined.

Make a well in the centre of dry ingredients. Pour the wet mixture in, stirring just until combined.

Fill liners about 2/3 full. These cupcakes rise a lot, so unless you want muffin tops, just be careful about overfilling.

Place about a teaspoon of topping onto the cupcakes. Swirl it around with a toothpick or small knife. Or hide the sugar in the middle of your cupcake by first placing a tablespoon of batter into the liners, then the topping, then another tablespoon of batter.

Bake for 15-20 minutes. Cupcakes are done when the tops bounce back when lightly pressed.

Don’t want to bother with the slings and arrows of outrageous frosting? Don’t. These gems taste great on their ownsies.


Salted Caramel Buttercream

I should mention that salted caramel buttercream requires you to make caramel, which may cause you to cry, which is okay because tears are salty and you will be making salted caramel.

It’s really not that hard. You don’t even need a candy thermometre. Just, for the love of god, don’t decide to do a load of laundry while you wait for the sugar to boil. You will set your house on fire.

Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce

Leave the caramel in your saucepan and set aside to cool while you make the buttercream. This is Swiss meringue, but you can make any kind of frosting you want and add the caramel in after.


1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter

1/2 cup sugar

4 large egg whites

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar


Note: Butter and egg whites must be room temperature

  1. With hand mixer and in a separate bowl, beat butter until pale and fluffy.
  2. In a double boiler, combine sugar and egg whites, whisking constantly until warm to the touch and the sugar is dissolved (you shouldn’t feel any sugar granules if you rub the mix between your fingers).
  3. Pour egg white mix into stand mixer and beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Keep mixing until the mix is completely cool (just feel the bottom of the bowl). About ten minutes.
  4. Reducing speed, add butter a little bit at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla.
  5. At this point you’re ready to add your caramel. If it’s gone hard, place the pan back on the burner, but only on low setting. Stir until it’s softened up enough to drizzle into your frosting, but not so that it’s boiling hot.
  6. With mixer on medium speed, slowly pour the caramel in and beat until fully incorporated.
  7. I found the frosting tasted too buttery, so I added icing sugar to sweeten it up. You may find you don’t need any, however.


Coffee Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream

Coffee Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream

I made more caramel to drizzle on top and served on a cake stand that I also made from an old candle stick. If you choose not to make the frosting, feel free to drizzle caramel on the cupcake anyway.

Overall the reviews were good and the salted caramel went super well with the brown sugaryness of the coffee cake. I felt the cake was dense enough that the buttercream didn’t stand out as too buttery. I’m just one of those people who dislikes a buttery frosting. In this case I could have gone back for seconds and thirds had there been any left.

Cheers and happy baking!


Gluten Free Brownies

Gluten Free BrowniesGluten Free Chocolate Truffle Brownie Mix

When you want to feed your friends without poisoning them

Remember the days when everyone was cutting carbs? Well now everyone and their dog has gone gluten free. My friend has Celiac disease, though, so whenever she comes over I try to have food in the house that’s safe for her to eat. And while I haven’t tried anything from scratch (yet), I’ve come across some great box mixes.

Usually, I veto making anything that comes in a box. But because gluten free baking involves 50 different kinds of weird flour I consider it an exception. Superstore’s organic section has an entire shelf reserved for gluten free goods. The mix I used for these brownies is from Gluten Free Pantry. And they’re SO GOOD.

If you like brownies but not gluten, this is a box mix for you. The brownies turned out extremely chewy with a punch-you-in-the-face chocolate taste.

Gluten Free Brownies

You’ll need: 8×8 pan, butter, eggs, and vanilla (optional)

Gluten Free Brownies

When baking, you should always use room temperature eggs. If you forget to take them out of the fridge beforehand, just put them in a bowl of warm water (not too warm–we’re not cooking breakfast).

Gluten Free Brownies

Beat eggs for 2-3 minutes. Room temp eggs tend to whip up better than cold ones.

Gluten Free Brownies

Add the Chocolate Truffle Brownie Mix. It has tiny chocolate chips in it! Also, I decided not to add the vanilla last minute because I didn’t know if people suffering from Celiac could have it.

Mix until fully combined. I found it became extremely thick and tough to combine, but this in no way reflected on the end product.

Gluten Free Brownies

Pour in melted butter, mixing together and scraping down the sides.

Gluten Free Brownies

Scrape the batter into a greased pan, pressing it into the corners first before covering the rest of the surface. Make sure you grease the pan with either butter or vegetable oil (Pam Cooking Spray contains wheat).

Place in 350 F oven and bake for about 25 minutes. Cool completely before cutting.

Gluten Free Brownies

Gluten Free Brownies

Use a cookie cutter to make cute shapes, if you want. Just eat the excess pieces that get left behind.

The brownies went over well. A lot of gluten free baking can be grainy and crumbly, but these were insanely chewy with a nice hard crust. Also, I really like how the finished product looks exactly like the picture on the box. And they didn’t poison my gluten-sensitive friend, so that was a bonus.

Easter Cupcakes

Cadbury Creme Egg Cupcakes

Cadbury Creme Egg Cupcakes

(It’s an Easter egg hunt in a cupcake)

I was rifling through Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes and found a recipe for brownie cupcakes with a York Peppermint Patty filling. But Easter is upon us and I was looking for something more festive, so I thought of using Cadbury Creme Eggs instead of the mints.

It was a journey that would put the very fibre of my soul to the test. Like Jonah traveling to the furthest reaches of the whale’s belly, I too would undertake the hero’s journey.

So I searched inside myself and asked  the question: Could it be done? COULD IT?

As it turned out, I didn’t need to go on the hero’s journey to find out if you can bake a Cadbury Creme Egg into a cupcake, because every single blogger in western civilization who likes to bake has already done it.


I used Martha Stewart’s Brownie Cupcakes recipe, but you can use ANY kind of cupcake recipe you want. I thought these would be good because they aren’t frosted–the creme eggs alone are enough sweetness that icing would’ve been lethal.

Once you’ve picked your recipe, you just need to find mini Cadbury Creme Eggs. The regular-sized ones are too big for this–even though they’ve been noticeably down-sized in recent years (Cadbury, you cheapskates).

From reading other people’s experiences, I learned you want to freeze the eggs before hand. This helps them keep shape rather than crumbling and bleeding their gooey deliciousness into your batter.


Cadbury Creme Egg Cupcakes











The recipe I used called for a cup of chocolate. I bought a bar of Lindt’s 70% Cocoa rather than baker’s chocolate.


Cadbury Creme Egg Cupcakes











In a double boiler, melt butter and chocolate together.


Cadbury Creme Egg Cupcakes








Whisk in sugar and salt.

Cadbury Creme Egg Cupcakes








Whisk in eggs–quickly so they don’t scramble in your warm chocolate mixture.

Cadbury Creme Egg Cupcakes











Add flour and dutch process cocoa powder, stirring just until combined so as not to over-mix.


Cadbury Creme Egg CupcakesCadbury Creme Egg Cupcakes











Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full (brownie mixes don’t rise like regular cupcakes). Place frozen egg on top. Gently press into the batter. Use a spatula to urge the batter over top to hide the eggs.

Bake, turning the pans around half-way through. Make sure you test them with a cake-tester. I pulled mine out too soon and had to stick them back in for another ten minutes because they were completely raw inside, even though the tops were nicely hardened and cracked.

Cool and serve. Decorate however you like!


Cadbury Creme Egg CupcakesNote: I used both Creme-filled and Caramilk. Some people hate the traditional ones.

Some blogs that were helpful:

My Baking Addiction

Sweet Tooth