Love and Olive Oil

Dark Chocolate and Caramelized White Chocolate Cupcakes

Dark Chocolate and Caramelized White Chocolate Cupcakes from @loveandoliveoil

I’ll admit, it’s been a while since I posted a cupcake recipe. I know that was my “thing” for a while; but lately I’ve found myself choosing cookies and brownies and fancy layer cakes over cutesy cupcakes.

I still think there’s something to be said for a good, solid cupcake, however, and by no means do I think they are “over” or “uncool”. Or if they are uncool now, well, then I really don’t care.

Don’t let your eyes fool you though.

These. Are. Not. Caramel. Cupcakes.

Yes, they may be the same perfectly golden color as a decadent dulce de leche, the filling thickly oozing out of the center with the same viscosity as salted caramel. But that is not what they are.

Caramelized White Chocolate

If you haven’t heard of caramelized white chocolate before, let me enlighten you: it’s basically white chocolate that has been melted and slow roasted in the oven until it is the color of butterscotch.

How to Caramelize White Chocolate

I then combined this roasty toasty goodness with heavy cream to make…

Wait for it…

Caramelized white chocolate ganache.

It LOOKS like caramel. Heck, it even kinda sorta tastes like caramel. But it is its own unique creature and absolutely divine.

Dark Chocolate and Caramelized White Chocolate Cupcakes from @loveandoliveoil

It’s got that unmistakable white chocolate sweetness, but with savory undertones more akin to brown butter than to caramel. It’s rich and nutty and so uniquely unusual that you won’t know what hit you.

Chocolate Cupcakes Filled with Caramelized White Chocolate Ganache

I used part of it as a filling; the rest went into the frosting. Despite the fact that the cake itself is just basic chocolate (albeit a perfectly moist and delicate chocolate), these cupcakes are anything but ordinary.

Dark Chocolate and Caramelized White Chocolate Cupcakes from @loveandoliveoil

A little drizzle on top for good measure can’t hurt, amirite?

And ugh. I still need to work on my rosette piping skills. Those ends are far too abrupt to be considered pretty by any means. I’m out of practice, apparently.

Dark Chocolate and Caramelized White Chocolate Cupcakes

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For Cupcakes:

  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup dark or dutch process cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

For Frosting:

  • 8 ounces good quality white chocolate, finely chopped*
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted, plus more as needed

*It is crucial to use high quality white chocolate here. Look for cocoa butter as the first ingredient. White baking chips or candy coating made from hydrogenated oils rather than cocoa butter will NOT work in this recipe.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. Whisk together the milk, oil, egg, and vanilla extract until incorporated. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients and pour in milk mixture. Stir just until smooth (do not overmix).
  3. Pour into liners, filling each with about 3 tablespoons of batter (cups should be no more than 2/3 full, a large cookie scoop is the perfect size). For mini cupcakes, fill each with 1 tablespoon batter. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes (10 to 12 minutes for minis), or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
  4. Reduce oven to 225 degrees F. Spread chopped white chocolate onto a baking sheet. Place in the oven for 10 minutes, then remove and stir/smooth with a rubber spatula, spreading it back into an even layer. Bake for another 10 minutes, then stir/smooth again. Continue to bake, stirring every 10 minutes, for 60 to 90 minutes or until butterscotch in color. Transfer to a heat-proof bowl.
  5. Gently warm 1/3 cup cream in a small saucepan or the microwave until about 100-120 degrees F or just warm to the touch. Add to caramelized chocolate and stir until smooth. Set aside and let cool slightly to room temperature.
  6. Cut a cone-shaped piece out of the tops of cooled cupcakes, approximately 3/4″ in diameter and set aside. Fill cavities with 1 to 2 teaspoons of white chocolate ganache, or just enough to come within 1/4-inch of the edge. Pinch off bottom pointed ends of cut pieces (baker’s treat!) and then invert and replace on top of each cupcake. You should still have about 1/2 cup of ganache left.
  7. In a bowl, cream butter until smooth and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add 1 cup powdered sugar and beat until combined. Mix in remaining 1/2 cup of white chocolate ganache until smooth. Add remaining sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Depending on the temperature of your butter and the room around you, you may need more sugar or heavy cream to achieve the proper consistency. Add sugar/cream as needed and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Spread or pipe onto cooled cupcakes, being sure to cover the seams.
All images and text © / Love & Olive Oil

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  1. Oh my God.. they were delish!! I had been searching for a caramelized white chocolate recipe for years and this… Just perfect! Baked a batch of cupcakes with the caramelized white chocolate frosting for my cousin’s birthday. Polished off in seconds! The caramelized white chocolate is such a unique flavour and I love it!! Adding a pinch of salt highlights the flavour of the frosting ! The recipe worked wonderfully well in the first try itself . Thank you for the recipe. Definitely a keeper!

  2. The caramelized white chocolate is superb. Love everything about this cupcake

  3. Caramelized white chocolate is a revelation. I had my doubts, but when I stirred in the cream… Magic. Cupcakes are good as per usual. I added a small pinch of salt to the frosting to highlight the caramel. Delicious!

  4. Lovely idea of mixing dark chocolate and caramelized white chocolate to make cupcakes. When one makes the desert is the white chocolate meant to be in a form of a liquid? If not, how do I thicken the mix. Very excited to try this recipe soon and I will recommend it to friends and family, and comment on the success it has made.

  5. I am making these tonight for my boyfriends birthday and frosting them tomorrow. Can’t wait to try these. Updated comment to follow. 

  6. I’m missing something about the consistency of the final white chocolate caramel.  Is it supposed to be liquid? Similar to the pic where you are filling the cupcakes?

    • The caramelized white chocolate gets mixed with heavy cream to give it a more ganache-like consistency as you see in the images. Otherwise it’d just harden again once it cooled.

  7. My ganache is a little on the thin side… Is it supposed to be like that or do I need to mix it longer?

    • Yes, mine was fairly thin, similar to a caramel sauce. If you want it thicker you can chill it for a few hours.

  8. I can never be bothered to concern myself with what’s cool. I only care about what’s good. I have a feeling most people are with me on this. And these cupcakes look very very good.

  9. Caramelizing white chocolate….what a novel idea!  I can’t wait to try it.  It sounds and looks delicious.

  10. Looks beautiful! I’m pinning thanks to the caramelized white chocolate info. I am disappointed that you have gone away from egg free cupcakes though. My son has an egg allergy and your blog was recommended by a friend, so I subscribed. Several of your older cupcake recipes are my go-to. I’ll still subscribe because I enjoy your posts, just bummed that I can’t use your more current recipes. 

  11. Wow. I am just craving these cupcakes right now. I haven’t made cupcakes in FOREVER! Thanks for the reminder!

  12. These look amazing! What I want for my birthday by the dozen. :)

  13. Hi Lindsay!

    This recipe is rocking my world!
    Is 22% of cocoa butter enough in the white chocolate? Wasn’t quite sure since you mentioned high quality chocolate and this stuff is rather cheap. ;)

    Greetz from Germany,

    • Yes, that should be fine. The chocolate I used didn’t have a specific %, just listed cocoa butter as one of the main ingredients (as opposed to hydrogenated something or other like many white baking chips contain).

    • Thanks a lot! Cocoa butter was actually the first ingredient on the list and it’s only about 40 cents for a bar of 3,5 oz. Living in Germany does make it quite easy to access good quality chocolate. ;) I’ll let you know how these turned out. :)

  14. I know it will be delicious, but it looks so pretty that I’d have a problem with eating it :)

  15. Insanely delicious! Thanks for sharing!

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