Vegan Salted Caramel Cupcakes
Ok. I realize these are not beautiful cupcakes. I am NOT a cake/cupcake decorator (obviously :P). These photos PROVE I’m a homebaker! Anyway, the appearance doesn’t affect the flavour of these Vegan Salted Caramel Cupcakes (made with homemade coconut caramel).
My husband and I had a favourite cafe in a small town where we used to live, and there they used to make salted caramel cupcakes that were to die for! When we moved away we missed the cupcakes quite a bit and I wanted to figure out a way to kind-ify (aka: veganize) salted caramel cupcakes. So, after surprisingly little trial and error, I came up with this recipe. And I knocked it out of the park, if I do say so myself… *pats self on back*.
The salted caramel icing and brown sugar cupcake batter are totally no-fail, you can’t screw these up! If the caramel sauce seems daunting to you (like it did to me the first time I made it) then you can scrap it and just have the delicious cake/icing or you can use an appropriate store-bought sauce. However, the caramel sauce is actually quite easy and once you have made it once, you’ll wonder why you ever bought caramel sauce.
Just for your reference, we made the sacrifice of taste testing quite a few of these cupcakes just to be sure that they are blog-worthy… you’re welcome! 😉
PROTIP: Vegan butter can be quite melty so storing these cupcakes in the fridge is a good idea. I found that chilling the buttercream for just a few minutes was helpful too because the heat from my hands on the piping bag softened up the icing.
Vegan Salted Caramel Cupcakes
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup plant milk
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- 1/3 cup neutral vegetable oil see note
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk from a can
- 1 tbsp vegan butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp salt more to taste
- 1/2 cup vegan butter I use Melt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups icing sugar plus extra if too thin.
- 2 tbsp caramel
- 2 tbsp plant milk I usually use soy
- 1/4 tsp salt or more, to taste
For the CUPCAKES
- Preheat oven to 350'F and prepare a muffin pan with 12 muffin cup liners.
- In a small bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a larger bowl, combine the sugars, milk, vinegar, vanilla, and oil.
- Beat the mixture with electric mixer (or very vigorous whisking) to ensure it's well combined.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet, beating the mixture after each addition.
- Beat until the mixture is well combined.
- Pour the batter into each muffin cup, filling each to about 2/3 full.
- Bake for 18-22 minutes, checking for doneness after about 15 minutes. The tops should spring back quickly when pressed lightly and a cake tester should come out clean.
- Remove from oven, let cool in pan for about 5 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack. Let cool COMPLETELY before icing.
For the CARAMEL SAUCE
- In a 3 quart saucepan over medium heat combine the sugar and the water.
- Stir to dissolve the sugar just until the mixture comes to a boil.
- Once the mixture begins to boil STOP stirring!
- Watch the pot carefully as the sugar will suddenly be ready. Let the pan boil and as the water cooks off, the sugar will begin to brown.
- Once the sugar mixture is a medium brown/caramelly colour remove the pot from the heat and pour in the coconut milk and vanilla.
- Be careful of the spatter! It's normal and VERY hot! If the sugar mixture seizes from the cool milk simply return the pot to low heat to re-melt it.
- Stir the pot (over low heat if the sugar is stiffened) until the mixture is smooth.
- Stir in the vegan butter and salt, and stir until it's completely combined.
- Set aside to cool.
For the ICING
- Cream butter and vanilla together until creamy with electric mixer
- Gradually add the icing sugar, beating after each addition.
- Add in the caramel sauce and beat to combine.
- Add milk 1 tsp at a time, beating after each addition, until you achieve a soft spreadable consistency. If too thick, add more milk, if too thin add more icing sugar.
- Add in the salt and mix to combine. Taste and decide if you want it saltier or caramelier (is that a word?). Add more salt or caramel to taste and mix.
- Once the cupcakes have cooled, spread or pipe icing on each. I find that vegan butter is super melty so if it gets too soft you may have to return the cupcakes to the fridge to firm up.
- Drizzle some caramel sauce over each cupcake
- Sprinkle a tiny bit of sea salt on the tops of each cake.
- Serve and impress!!
If you make this recipe, please remember to comment/rate below!! Thanks! 😀