Yield: 18 CUPCAKES
Prep time: 30 MIN
Cook time: 18 MIN
Total time: 1 HR
These Caramel Popcorn Cupcakes are a unique and fun treat that’s loaded with caramel popcorn flavor! It starts with a fluffy caramel cupcake that has finely crushed caramel popcorn mixed in. Take it to the next level by filling it with more caramel, topping it with caramel buttercream, caramel popcorn and, you guessed it….more caramel!
FOR THE CARAMEL POPCORN CUPCAKES:
1½ cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup sour cream, room temperature
½ cup dulce de leche
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
½ cups buttermilk, room temperature
1 and 1/2 cups caramel popcorn, crushed into fine crumbs (optional)
FOR THE FILLING:
1 cup dulce de leche or 1 cup salted caramel sauce
FOR THE CARAMEL BUTTERCREAM:
1½ cups unsalted butter, slightly softened
¼ tsp salt
5 cups Powdered Sugar, sifted
½ cup dulce de leche (or salted caramel sauce)
Extra caramel popcorn
salted caramel sauce
TO MAKE THE CARAMEL POPCORN CUPCAKES:
Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners. Line a second tin with 6 liners, this recipe makes about 18 cupcakes.
In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk to combine. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.
Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the sour cream, dulce de leche and vanilla and continue to beat until completely smooth and combined.
Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl again. Lower the speed to medium-low and mix in the eggs, one at a time until just combined.
Add ⅓ of the dry ingredients and beat just until combined, then add hafl of the buttermilk and mix until just combined. Continue mixing in half of the remaining dry ingredients, remaining buttermilk, then remaining dry ingredients. Remember to mix after each addition before adding the next.
Pulse the caramel popcorn in a food processor until it forms very fine crumbs. You can sift it after if you prefer. Measure out 1½ cups and add it to the batter. Fold until completely combined.
Scoop batter into each liner, filling about ⅔ way full. Bake in preheated oven for 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cupcake comes out clean.
Allow to cool in pans for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Prepare one recipe of my homemade salted caramel sauce and allow to cool completely.
TO MAKE THE CARAMEL BUTTERCREAM:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat the softened butter and salt until super pale and fluffy, about 5-6 minutes.
Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add half of the powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined.
Once combined add dulce de leche or cooled caramel sauce and continue to beat until combined and smooth.
Add remaining powdered sugar one cup at a time, mixing on low speed until it’s all combined.
Increase speed to medium-high and beat for about 5-7 minutes, or until frosting is light and fluffy.
OPTIONAL: Core the center of each cupcake using an apple corer. Using a spoon or piping bag, fill the cupcakes with dulce de leche or salted caramel sauce.
Transfer frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe swirls onto the top of the cooled cupcakes.
Top with 2 pieces of caramel popcorn and drizzle with salted caramel sauce. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days