Kahlua Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel

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These Kahlua Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel are a wonderful combination of flavors! Kahlua and chocolate are already awesome together, but when you add caramel sauce and a sprinkle of sea salt, it’s a done deal.

This recipe uses my easy caramel sauce as an ingredient. It’s seriously the best homemade caramel!

Kahlua Chocolate Cupcakes with a Salted Caramel Drizzle on a cake stand

Kahlua Chocolate Cupcakes with a Salted Caramel Drizzle on a napkin

So normally I’d tell you about something really funny or great that’s happening. It’s our chance to catch up, you know? Like, “Hey, how’s it going?” And then I tell you.

But as I sit here to write this post, there’s nothing clever. Just life. I’m sitting here next two dogs that are sleeping and snoring like rhinoceros’, reminding me that I’d love to curl up right between them right now.

My kitchen is a freaking disaster, as usual. With all the baking that goes on, it’s no wonder. As soon as I wash a dish, I use it again. It’s ridiculous.

There’s laundry that needs to be folded. I just realized I forgot to take my last dose of herbs for my acupuncture today (the first time I’ve forgotten) and if I take them too late at night they make me pee all night long. And I’m trying not to stress so that I don’t screw up the effects of the acupuncture (Baby Journey Next Step: Acupuncture). And well, that’s stressful. 😉

And darn it, I still haven’t watched this week’s episode of Dancing With The Stars. Priorities!

Kahlua Chocolate Cupcakes with a Salted Caramel Drizzle with a bite out of one
Kahlua Chocolate Cupcakes with a Salted Caramel Drizzle on a cake stand and in front of it

So seriously, with all that in my head, there’s just nothing witty. No good stories. Just life. For reelz.

But I’m still super happy to share these cupcakes with you. No matter what, I’m always going to be happy about cupcakes. I’ll always gladly talk sweets and shove my face with them – although sugar is apparently back for my acupuncture-ness. Grrr. (see where my mind is going?!) Quite a predicament, right? I’m mean, I’ve gotta live. There’s only so much I can take. Give me a cupcake!

And these cupcakes are definitely worth it. Chocolate, Kahlua, caramel, sea salt. Sweet and salty my friends. The best way to cure both cravings.

Fortunately these cupcakes are pretty easy to make. No complicated ingredients or anything, just a quick mix of the batter, a quick mix of the icing and you’re well on your way to your new favorite cupcake. 🙂

Close-up of Kahlua Chocolate Cupcakes with a Salted Caramel Drizzle

You might also like:

Kahlua Chocolate Poke Cake
Kahlua Coffee Chocolate Layer Cake
Kahlua Coffee Brownie Cheesecake
Kahlua Ice Cream Pie
Chocolate Kahlua Floats

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Kahlua Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel close up

Kahlua Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 18 minutes
  • Total Time: 48 minutes
  • Yield: 14-16 Cupcakes
  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


These Kahlua Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel are a wonderful combination of flavors! Kahlua and chocolate are already awesome together, but when you add caramel sauce and a sprinkle of sea salt, it’s a done deal.



  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 tbsp water
  • 6 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 6 tbsp Kahlua


  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 1/2 cup shortening*
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 45 tbsp kahlua
  • caramel sauce
  • sea salt


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Beat butter and sugar until light in color and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended.
4. Add vanilla, water and cocoa powder to another bowl and whisk until smooth.
5. Add chocolate mixture to batter and mix until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is well combined.
6. Combine flour and baking soda in a separate bowl.
7. Alternate adding the flour mixture and kahlua to the batter. Begin by adding half of the dry mix, then mix well. Add the kahlua and mix well, scrapes down the sides as needed. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat until smooth.
8. Fill cupcake liners about half way. Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out with a few crumbs.
9. To make icing, beat butter and shortening until smooth.
10. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
11. Add 4 tbsp Kahlua and remaining powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add additional Kahlua if needed to get the right icing consistency.
12. Pipe icing onto cupcakes. I used Ateco icing tip 844, which is similar to the Wilton 1M.
13. Drizzle cupcakes with caramel sauce and a sprinkle of sea salt.

*Shortening can be replaced with additional butter, if desired.


  • Serving Size: 1 Cupcake
  • Calories: 409
  • Sugar: 45.8 g
  • Sodium: 308.5 mg
  • Fat: 18.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 54.7 g
  • Protein: 2.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 53.8 mg

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  1. Kelsey

    I would be remiss if I did not share the benefits of my discoveries with you as you shared your recipe with us:

    If you add an extra egg, AND a packet of chocolate pudding powder before you cook it… This makes the texture a bit more moist and adds an extra punch to the flavor.

    While it is still warm, LOP OFF THE TOP OF THE CUPCAKES. Dribble the caramel syrup directly into the cupcake so the heat can soak the syrup into the cake. Return the cupcake top.

    Once the cupcake is cool, then you can decorate the cake with whatever fancy piping you want. (Without needing to incorporate the syrup into the visuals, I was able to do rosettes.) Sprinkle the salt on top.

    It tastes exquisite. It’s probably (no joke, no hyperbole) the best cupcake I’ve ever had. I wish I could share a picture!

  2. Carla

    I made these cupcakes and not sure what happened but they did not bake well. I filled them half full as noted but they started to rise and then flopped and spilled over the pan. I had to take the batter out and put it in a dish to bake. I baked for twice the time suggested and they were still runny. Any ideas why? I double checked the recipe and looks like I did everything right.

    1. Lindsay

      If they overflow the cups, they can definitely sink. Sounds like they may have been a little over-full. If you removed it from the cupcake liners and put it into a pan half way through, then it just may not have baked correctly at that point.

  3. Patty

    Just discovered your blog and can’t wait to try your recipes! I want to make these for my boss’s bday but I have a question. Should I used regular cocoa or Dutch processed? Thanks!

  4. Patty

    I’m so disappointed, Lindsay! I don’t know what I did wrong. I have your cake cookbook and use tons of your cake recipes and they are the most delicious. Something went wrong with this one though. I’m trying to figure out what happened – the batter was very thick and the cupcakes puffed way up and were very dry. I’m going to review it later when I’m thinking clearly and try to understand what happened. In your chocolate and Kahlua cakes the batters are much thinner, so I’m convinced I missed something! Thanks for all you do! Patty

    1. Lindsay

      It’s hard to say if you did anything wrong or not from a distance. This is a very different chocolate cupcake than the other one you mention. The one with the super thin batter is extremely moist. This recipe is butter-based, which tends to be quite different. They shouldn’t necessarily be dry, but you’ll notice it’s not really the same. If they were truly dry, they may just have been over baked a little bit. It’s mainly just a very different chocolate cake.

      Glad you’ve enjoyed the recipes!

      1. Patty

        Well, I figured it out….thought and thought about it and reviewed the recipe….I used 2 cups of flour instead of 1. Sometimes it’s like my brain takes a vacation! I’ll try the again! Thanks, Lindsay!

  5. Lisa

    I made these for a friends birthday – they were a huge hit! They are moist and very rich. Everyone went crazy for them and they were impressed with the homemade caramel sauce 😊

  6. Lisa

    Made these for a friends birthday and they were amazing! Everyone raved about them – even my husband and he isn’t a cupcake fan,

  7. Natalie

    I made these cupcakes last night for a friend’s birthday. They were phenomenal! Everything was spot on, from the moist and flavorful cake to the amazing buttercream. I typically have trouble making caramel sauce, but your recipe was so quick and easy and delicious! Thank you for sharing all of your wonderful recipes with us! =)

  8. Heather

    I made these yesterday and they are almost gone! These are SO good. The salted caramel just takes it to a whole new level!
    The only issue that I had was that the cupcakes didn’t rise like I think they should have. That might have been an issue on my part. I’m not complaining- I had shorter cupcakes which meant I had an excuse to eat two!

    1. Lindsay

      My guess would be the issue was with the creaming of the butter and sugar. You really want to be sure to cream them for a full 2-3 minutes and see a change in the color and texture of the mixture. It adds all that lovely rise to the cupcake. 🙂

      I’m glad you enjoyed them!

      1. Lindsay

        If you’re making the frosting as shown, with both butter and shortening, they would be fine at room temperature for a day or two. If you are using an all butter frosting, I would probably suggest refrigerating them. If you are going to leave them at room temperature, you might want to add the caramel drizzle shortly before serving.

  9. Melody

    Can I use a box cake mix for the chocolate cake and add the kahlua? I’d like to make this for my sister’s jack/jill bachelor/bachelorette night.

  10. Kia

    I made these last night and I must say that they are pretty fantastic.  They are really moist.  The buttercream is not too soft or runny OR too sweet.  Definitely recommended.

  11. Becky

    HI I found your recipe on Pinterest. I am doing a Round Up blog post later in March for National Chocolate Caramel Day (the 19th) and am interested in including this recipe in that round up. I would like to use a picture from the post, with links back to your site/this post. I would promote it on my all my social media platforms and would share the link with you so that you could do the same if you wish. If you are not interested, I understand, I will not use your post/images without your permission.

    Thank you for your time.

  12. Marsha @ Marsha's Baking Addiction

    These cupcakes look incredibly scrumptious! I’d love to know where you get your cake stands from! 🙂

  13. cupcakes

    I bever try saled caramel, It is a great idea to add it on the top of these cupcakes, this is wha’t i’m going to try for today dessert

  14. Julianne @ Beyond Frosting

    I think you should start watching below deck so we can talk about the girl named Rocky and these cupcakes.

  15. Stephanie | Worth Whisking

    These, indeed, could be my new favorite cupcake! Kahlua, chocolate, and caramel. . .um, yes please! And, no excuses for nothing clever to say. Sometimes life is just life, but it’s definitely made better by cupcakes! 🙂

  16. June @ How to Philosophize with Cake

    “There’s only so much I can take. Give me a cupcake!” Yes lol that is the motto! Cake life forever 😀 These cupcakes look amazing, love the addition of kahlua to the cake.

  17. Chicago Jogger

    Yum… these look insanely good! I’m getting acupuncture right now too and remembering to take those darn herbs is the bane of my existence 😉

About Lindsay

I'm a wife and a mom to twin boys and a baby girl! And I've got a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the treats!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29