Holly’s Chocolate & Caramel Cream Cheese Cupcakes

November 13, 2008 at 10:13 PM | Posted in cupcakes | 19 Comments
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The internet is a crazy thing.

More and more its becoming the norm to meet friends, reconnect with old school chums and fall in love using the internet as the medium. Of course I won’t pretend that I haven’t been contacted by a Nigerian prince wanting to leave me all his money more than once but for the most part I’ve met some absolutely amazing people online. Some of them I’ve even met in real life and others I hope to meet someday. One whom I’d like to meet someday IRL is Holly from Phe/MOM/enon. (Holly, if you’re ever in CA you best let me know! I live near DisneyLand and I have a “friend” that can get us in free in exchange for some cheese! *winkwink*)

Even though Holly and I have never met IRL she’s definitely someone I consider a friend and not just an internet acquaintance anymore. She’s a fellow TWD baker, hosts the Art You Eat event and basically an all around swell person. Case in point. I happen to mention to her that I loved how she frosted her recent chocolate-chocolate cupcakes with fat round swirls and asked her what tip she used. (Just FYI I am a decorating tip addict!) She emailed me about using her 1A round tip and immediately I was jealous. I have been looking for that tip EVERYWHERE but no one near me seems to have it. When I mentioned my tip envy, without hesitation, she said she’d get me one! What did I tell you? I love that girl.

True to her word I received my gorgeous 1A round tip a few days ago and knew I would bake up some Holly-inspired cupcakes to say thank you. Chocolate, caramel and cream cheese… All her favorite things in a cupcake.

I’d say thats better than a Hallmark any day. Am I right? Of course I am. HAHA

(Recipe adapted from Hello, Cupcake! & Food and Wine | photos from me!)

Makes about 18 cupcakes (I got 20 cupcakes)


For caramel cream cheese frosting
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped (I used 1 whole vanilla bean)
1-1/2 sticks (12 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1-8oz package cream cheese, cut into cubes

For chocolate cupcake
1-3/4 cups AP flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 sticks (12 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar (I used light brown sugar)
2 large eggs
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract


To make caramel cream cheese—
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, water, vanilla bean and seeds. Cook over high heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Using a wet pastry brush, wash down any crystals from the side of the pan. Cook over moderate heat without stirring until a medium-dark amber caramel forms, about 9 minutes. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the butter and heavy cream. (Don’t worry if the butter separates.) Discard the vanilla bean.

[NOTES: Mine took about 12 minutes.]

Transfer half of the caramel to the large bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk and beat at low speed until the caramel cools slightly and comes together, about 5 minutes. With the machine on, beat in the cream cheese, 1 cube at a time and beating well between additions, until silky. Transfer the frosting to a bowl and refrigerate at least 6 hours, until very firm.

Reserve the leftover caramel for drizzle. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

[NOTES: The caramel cream cheese recipe only made enough to frost 9 cupcakes so next time I’ll probably double the recipe.]

To make cupcakes—
Preheat oven 350F. Prepare cupcake pan with liners.

Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. In another medium bowl with an electric mixer on high, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy about 3 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the melted chocolate. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture alternatively with the buttermilk in batches, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and beating until blended. Stir in vanilla.

Fill the cupcake liners about 1/2-2/3 full. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean about 17-20 minutes. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

To assemble cupcakes—
Pipe on the frosting using a 1A round tip. Drizzle with leftover caramel. (If caramel is too thick, microwave in intervals until you get the consistency you want.)


Husband rating: A
He’s not really a caramel person but he loves chocolate and cream cheese frosting and was pleasantly surprised at how much he loved the caramel+cream cheese frosting combination.

Wifey rating: A/A+
I am still searching for THE chocolate cupcake recipe but this one is pretty darn close. It was moist and so chocolate-y! But the icing on the cupcake (literally) was the caramel cream cheese frosting. OHMYGOD. Amazing. I bet you could probably make an easier caramel cream cheese frosting by adding pre-made caramel topping to cream cheese frosting too. But the thing about making your own caramel is the timing. If you don’t cook it long enough, it doesn’t have much flavor. If you cook it too long, you risk burning it. If you do it just right, its like a tongue-gasm in your mouth!



  1. Those look fantastic! Now you can guess what I’m craving for breakfast. :) And I really like those big fat swirls!

  2. YUM! And that is so sweet about Holly! I totally love reading her blog too :) It’s funny how you really start to know people through blogging, it’s awesome! :) And it’s so funny how you can see how different bloggers are connected :D

  3. I have a whole bunch of tips I bought for the Wilton classes, but I think I only really use the star tip.. must get that round tip out and start piping frosting like that! Although.. do you think I might start piping too much frosting?

    Btw, I took your advice.. and I made cupcakes this morning!! I decided to make Billy’s vanilla ones and they were so fluffy, which was totally suprising for me considering my mixing problems. I found that after everything was in, I just let the machine run on medium for 1 minute (even though I had the strongest urge to stop it after like 10 seconds) That was one long minute! Where am I getting these undermixing tendencies from.. it must be from my horrific muffin experiences I had when I first started baking.

    Anyway.. I’m still in search of a the best chocolate cake recipe too! I don’t know if this recipe would work well for cupcakes, but CI’s sour cream bundt cake is really good if you’re looking for big chocolate flavour, super moist and dense, but also soft.. it’s just amazing!

  4. They just looks so creamy and super delicious, if i had all the ingridients here now, i would make them now itself, bookmarking them.

  5. You can’t beat caramel and chocolate! These look delicious. I love using the large round pastry tip for cupcakes!

  6. MARY, Would you think less of me if I told you that I’ve had cupcakes for breakfast on MANY occassions?

    STEPHCHOWS, Its true! There’s something so fun about meeting other bloggers. Reading their blogs is like a little window into their life. I also KIT with various friends through their blogs. We all have busy lives so sometimes its hard to find time to call but its easy to stay connected if I read their blog everyday.

    STEPH, What do you mean about “piping too much frosting”? Way to conquer your overmixing fear! Billy’s vanilla cupcake recipe is very good. I’ll have to look up the CI sour cream bundt! Thanks!

    HAPPYCOOK, I hope you do get a chance to make some. Let me know what you think!

    TANYA, Heck yeah. Caramel and chocolate are my favorite flavor combos. I don’t know how anyone doesn’t like caramel. Crazy!

  7. Ohhhh! I just want to jump right throught the screen and eat them up! Yum! You are too sweet! Thank you for the lovely cupcakes – I will definitely make them soon. And, Disneyland you say? I am totally trying to work that in again someday soon so that will be AWESOME! :)

  8. HOLLY, Thanks again for the tip chicky! I love it so much. Is it normal to love a decorating tip more than your husband? HAHA

  9. You’re so sweet! Gosh, I probably would’ve cried or something if someone made a cuppy inspired by me lol And, those look beautiful

  10. Bummer, you’re so big in the blog world that you don’t even need me to smuggle decorating supplies for you anymore :-(

  11. KRISTINA, aawwww you’d cry? I wouldn’t want you to cry. sniff

    DAWN, Trust me. I would be happy to accept any illegal cupcake decorations that you wanted to smuggle for me! HAHA

  12. i haven’t made cupcakes in weeks because i’ve been so busy, but i still visit your blog almost every day! whenever i find random cupcake cuteness on the web, i immediately think of your blog. just look at this awesome hat, just in time for the snow that’s started to fall here!:


    now why didn’t i think of this! haha

  13. LILTEA, That cupcake beanie is so freaking cute! Thanks for sharing the link with me. I hope you get your cupcake mojo back soon!

  14. Good Googily Moogily! These look FAN- FLIPPING- TASTIC! You and your cupcake concoctions! When, my dear will you open up an I Heart Cuppycakes Cupcakery? I would visit, I promise. :)

  15. JANNA, You know… I’ve never wanted a bakery. Owning a store seems like way too much administrative work and overhead capital for me to handle. I think I just wanna bake out of my home doing custom orders. Now what I really want is a bigger kitchen! HAHA

  16. I tried this frosting today with a gingerbread cupcake recipe from epicurious and they went together SO well!!!

  17. XHANNAH, Awesome! I love reading good reviews. I’ll have to try out the gingerbread cupcake with caramel cream cheese soon!

  18. I know you posted this a long time ago, but I am in the middle of trying to make this recipe and think there are few errors in the instructions.

    First of all, I’m really hoping you meant 3/4 tsp of baking powder and not 3/4 cup…because I’ve decided to use 3/4 tsp. I have never made cupcakes before, but 3/4 cup seems ridiculous.

    Second, I can only assume you are supposed to split half the caramel after you have whisked it for 5 min and before you add the cream cheese? Right now your instructions have it being split right after you add the butter and the cream to the golden sugar…I can’t imagine that comes together on its own….

    Hope they turn out with my guessword!!

  19. MEREDITH, OMG I am SO sorry! Yes, 3/4 TSP baking soda and 1/2 tsp baking powder. Not cup! As for caramel, to be honest I can’t remember exactly what I did but that does sound correct. I will edit my post. Thanks for letting me know about the errors.

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