Are you looking for a decadent, rich and absolutely delicious cupcake recipe to prepare for your loved ones? If so, look no further than these salted caramel cupcakes that are topped with a creamy frosting made with medjool dates, my homemade caramel sauce, course salt and cacao nibs. It will seriously look (and taste) like you just picked these babies up from the bakery.
On top of that, these cupcakes are completely gluten-free and they’re made with healthy fats and natural sweeteners. Similar to my chocolate caramel coconut flour brownies, these cupcakes have a hint of that caramel taste without it being overpowering. And using ingredients made with coconut in this recipe gives it a unique flavor you don’t typically get in traditional baked goods.
Why Make Homemade Caramel?
Adding caramel to any baked good can make it more tasty, but how often do we think about making our own caramel at home? It may seem a little intimidating, but to top off these salted caramel cupcakes, I use my homemade caramel sauce recipe that calls for coconut sugar, honey and coconut milk instead of your traditional white sugar and heavy cream.
Unlike traditional caramel recipes, mine is completely free of dairy, and I use natural sweeteners that are better for your blood sugar and energy levels.
My caramel sauce pairs perfectly with these fluffy gluten-free cupcakes that are made with Paleo flour, coconut oil, vanilla extract and maple syrup. Paleo flour is made with a combination of gluten-free flours, like almond flour, arrowroot starch, coconut flour and tapioca flour. I love using Paleo flour for baking because you don’t have to go out and buy each type of flour individually (unless you want to make your own homemade Paleo flour blend). This really makes it simple, and it gives cupcakes, pancakes, waffles and every other kind of baked good an awesome taste and texture.
The dough for my salted caramel cupcakes is pretty simple and straight forward, so what gives it that extra kick of tastiness is the frosting, caramel sauce, coarse salt and cacao nibs that’s on top. For my frosting, I use medjool dates, which actually have a caramel-like flavor. They are a great sugar alternative, and when blended with coconut butter and vanilla, they make for a creamy caramel frosting.
- 210 calories
- 2 grams protein
- 15 grams fat
- 18 grams carbohydrates
- 2.5 grams fiber
- 8.6 grams sugar
- 0.3 milligrams manganese (18 percent DV)
- 316 IUs vitamin A (14 percent DV)
- 0.1 milligrams vitamin B2 (10 percent DV)
- 152 milligrams sodium (10 percent DV)
- 21 milligrams magnesium (7 percent DV)
- 52 milligrams phosphorus (7 percent DV)
- 0.06 milligrams copper (7 percent DV)
- 3.5 micrograms selenium (6 percent DV)
- 0.6 milligrams vitamin B3 (5 percent DV)
- 0.2 milligrams vitamin B5 (5 percent DV)
- 0.06 milligrams vitamin B6 (5 percent DV)
- 0.3 milligrams zinc (5 percent DV)
- 0.04 milligrams vitamin B1 (4 percent DV)
- 0.07 micrograms vitamin B12 (3 percent DV)
- 0.3 milligrams vitamin E (3 percent DV)
- 0.55 milligrams iron (3 percent DV)
- 7 micrograms folate (2 percent DV)
- 1.8 micrograms vitamin K (2 percent DV)
- 115 milligrams potassium (2 percent DV)
- 18 milligrams calcium (2 percent DV)
How to Make Salted Caramel Cupcakes
To begin preparing your salted caramel cupcakes, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and, using a small bowl, soak seven pitted medjool dates in enough water to cover them for one hour. You can get started on your cupcake dough while the dates soak and begin to soften.
For your dough, use a large bowl to mix your ingredients. You’ll need 2 cups Paleo flour, ½ teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 3 eggs, ½ cup coconut oil, ½ cup water and ⅓ cup maple syrup. Blend the ingredients with a hand mixer until your dough is well-combined and smooth.
Now, fill a lined cupcake pan with the dough. This recipe should make between 20 and 22 cupcakes. Bake your cupcakes for about 20 minutes.
Once your dates have soaked for an hour, you’re ready to start preparing your frosting. Start by spooning the dates into a food processor with a slotted spoon. Reserve the water for blending.
Now add 1 teaspoon salt and the seeds from one vanilla bean.
Then add 1 cup coconut butter.
Blend your frosting until it’s smooth, and add in the date water to create your desired thickness. If you want a thinner frosting or you’re having trouble blending it, just add in a little more water.
Once your cupcakes have cooled for 15 to 20 minutes, you can add on the frosting. Just spread it evenly on top of each cupcake with a spatula or baking pipe.
Now for the finishing touches. Drizzle on your homemade caramel sauce, which is an optional ingredient but will give these cupcakes even more of that caramel flavor.
Then top them with course salt or cacao nibs (or both).
Don’t these cupcakes look decadent? I hope you get a chance to show them off, and enjoy every bite too. Enjoy!
1 hour, 5 minutes
- 2 cups Paleo flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup coconut oil
- ½ cup water
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- 7 medjool dates, pitted
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Seeds of 1 vanilla bean
- 1 cup coconut butter
- Caramel sauce (optional)
- Sea salt (optional)
- Cacao nibs (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a small bowl, soak dates in enough water to cover for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, vanilla extract, coconut oil, eggs, water and maple syrup.
- Blend with hand mixer.
- Fill a lined cupcake pan with the dough and bake for about 20 minutes.
- Allow cupcakes to cool for 15–20 minutes before icing.
- With a slotted spoon, scoop the dates into a food processor (reserve the water).
- Add salt, vanilla bean seeds and coconut butter. Blend until smooth, adding the date water to create desired thickness.
- Once the cupcakes are fully cool to touch, spread the icing evenly on top of the cupcakes.
- Top with course sea salt or cacao nibs.