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!

  16. Genius!!! I have to try this :D
    Thanks, rebecca

  17. Beautiful!  What pastry tip do you use to pipe the frosting so perfectly?  Thanks!!

  18. These cupcakes look truly, insanely, magnificently delicious!  

  19. I am always amazed how everyone oohs and aahs over food blog posts, but when I read the comments, no one has ever made the dish! 
    I just finished making these and wow, what a disappointment.
    The roasted white chocolate grenache is awesome and  I will definitely use it again but the entire thing together????  Not good. Not good at all. 
    The chocolate cupcake has a nice texture but lacks in flavor. When I noticed that last night  I figured the filling and the frosting would be able to disguise that but then today I realized the frosting is even worse. No taste whatsoever (and I added a bit more than just 1/2 cups of Grenache). Again, the texture was wonderful, light and fluffy but how good is that when it tastes like powdery paper?
    I am making these for my husband for Valentines Day. He is  a firefighter and on duty crew tonight and I wanted to make something for him and his crew. They always loves when I bake stuff for them but I am not sure if they are happy with the result this time. I even thought about dumping them out but I hate throwing food away. To salvage what I have, I added tons of chocolate shavings and maybe that will make them a least eatable. 
    Pretty disappointing considering I spent over $20 on high quality ingredients (good irish butter, expensive chocolate). Oh well, you live in learn. At least I now know how to roast chocolate :)

    • I am sorry you did not enjoy the cupcakes. This base is my ‘go-to’ recipe and I find it quite rich in chocolate flavor, same with the frosting. Perhaps the lack of flavor could be a result of the cocoa powder you used? I can’t say. But I know that individual tastes differ so hopefully the guys enjoyed them regardless.

    • I have not made these cupcakes yet but I agree that so many people comment on the recipe and rate it without having even tried making it themselves!!

  20. I’m smitten and intrigued; caramelized white chocolate sounds like it has the potential to be the “it” ingredient of 2014! Move aside brown butter and salted caramel!

  21. This looks like the most heavenly cupcake I’ve ever never eaten! That’s gotta change, like, stat! Wonderful recipe.

  22. Lindsay, that frosting is brilliant. These look wonderful. Besides, who cares what’s cool and what’s not. I will always love a good cupcake. Pinned.

  23. woah…how have I never heard of caramelized white chocolate before?? This is a total game changer! Must. try. soon. 

  24. These sound too good to be true!

    xo Jennifer

  25. I’ve been meaning to make caramelized white chocolate for FOREVER.  I think Valrhona actually sells it in bar form.  

    These are so beautiful Lindsay!  I am in love. 

  26. Ohmygod. Why am I just hearing about this?!

  27. I’ve seen a few recipes float around that mention caramelized white chocolate, I’ve bookmarked them all (and this has now joined their ranks). I’m so curious to try it. That frosting looks to die for!

  28. How have I never heard of caramelized white chocolate before??? These look absolutely amazing!

  29. omgosh MUST TRY!

  30. I can’t even handle how good these sound. I cannot WAIT to make them!

  31. Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh.


    That’s all :) No but really, these look absolutely decadent, gorgeous, delicious, all of the above. Definitely bookmarking to try sometime (soon)!

  32. These cupcakes look great…have to try them soon!

  33. Shut the front door!!! That white chocolate butterscotch colored caramelized frosting looks to die for! Totally would pick these cutesy cupcakes over cookies or brownies right now! 

  34. Awwww man. I have no words! Amazing!!

  35. Wow, I haven’t heard of this before.  Very interesting technique!  I’ll have to try it out some time.  These look great!

  36. OMG… They look delicious!!!!!! I can’t wait to try them, I wish I had much moooore time!!

  37. There’s a recipe in Jeni’s book for caramelized white chocolate in ice cream, and I’ve been wanting to try it so badly! When I saw the title of your post, I about squealed that you did the caramelized white chocolate!!! Yay!!!

  38. These are amazing! I had not heard of caramelized white chocolate; I’m so trying it!

  39. These are too die for!!!! Ingenius! I.must.make.these!

  40. caramelized white chocolate sounds amazing. even though you haven’t posted cupcakes for a while you’ve made up for it with this creation.

  41. You can ROAST chocolate??? Where has that knowledge been all my life? I’ve never really been a huge white chocolate girl but this looks and sounds AMAZING. 

  42. How did you even think to DO THIS? OMG dying at how fantastic this is!!

  43. Gorgeous. Caramelized white chocolate is on my to-do list! Pinned these beauties!

  44. The piped frosting roses are so pretty! And caramelized white chocolate? Yes, please!

  45. Atta girl! Great minds definitely think alike! <3

  46. Caramelized white chocolate is a dream, love the frosting!

  47. HOLY COW~does that look and sound good!!!!!!

  48. Caramelized white chocolate?! Done and done.

  49. Oh my gosh, I never knew white chocolate could be caramelized. Also, I’m really glad you don’t think cupcakes are “over”. :) These cupcakes look fantastic!

  50. I have to admit, I don’t actually love cupcakes (I know, who am I?), but I am so pinning this. Looks incredible!

  51. How gorgeous and drool worthy are these?!  Love!!

  52. These are gorgeous, Lindsay! 

  53. CARAMELIZED WHITE CHOCOLATE?! Where has this been all my life?! Omg…I need to make these. The only thing I was do differently is maybe dulce de leche filling (because it’s my favorite). Need these. Pinned!

    • Once you try the white chocolate ganache you MAY just change your tune about the dulce de leche. Just sayin…. :)

    • Oh I’m a terrible reader and thought that the filling was caramel and the caramelized white chocolate was just in the frosting! Screw the dulce de leche – caramelized white chocolate all the way! 

  54. yay! Something different for my mom’s birthday cake. I’m most definitely trying it!

  55. I never make cupcakes and it’s so silly since I love them so much. This recipe literally made my day. I love that frosting!!

  56. These sound (and look!) absolutely divine. I’ve never heard of caramelized white chocolate (though I’m sure I’ve come close with a few white chocolate-melting mishaps, ha!). I will for sure be making these cupcakes!

  57. Woah! I’m going to have to try these. I think your rosettes look perfect. *follower, follow me:
    Renee x

  58. These look amazing!!! I have never heard of caramelized white chocolate, sounds amazing.

  59. WHAT?!  Those rosettes look so great!  I’m not a big white chocolate person, but once it’s caramelized I bet it’s amazing.  My mind is blown by this whole entire thing.

  60. I love white chocolate. I must try this caramelized version of it, sounds heavenly! And I agree – if cupcakes are uncool then so am I!

  61. Goodness! Apparently it doesn’t get much better than these! Thank you so much!

  62. The reason I will always choose to eat a layer cake over cupcakes is the complexity of flavour. However, the cupcakes are just so darn cute. What you’ve got here is BOTH! And caramelized white chocolate…just wow. Will be trying soon. :-) 

  63. These look amazing! I just made caramelized white chocolate cookies for my blog a few days ago after learning the technique from the book Cooking for Geeks. It’s amazing how much more flavor it adds!

  64. So, that series of pics where all the white chocolate caramelizes? Well, it’s pretty much the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I want to swim in a sea of that stuff.

  65. Wow. WOW!!! 

    When I read the title I immediately was intrigued by the caramelized white choc. I lov white choc and slow roasted in the oven until it is the color of butterscotch, well, there would be no words! Then these babies are filled, frosting, and drizzled. It just gets better & better! 

    I am NOT a cupcake maker. They’re so fussy and so I stick to cookies and bars but gosh, I need to make these!

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