Vanilla Almond Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream Recipe

I feel like it has been so long since I last posted one of my own desserts.  Eek!  So sorry to be MIA!  I have been so busy with numerous projects that I can hardly wait to share with you soon!

A couple of weeks back, I had the pleasure of making cupcakes for my sister in-law’s baby shower.   Her baby shower theme was pink, so I wanted to create a cupcake that would tie in nicely with her party.  Anything  pink and glittery is right up my alley.

Over the past few years, I have gotten really comfortable with baking vanilla cupcakes topped with vanilla frosting. One of my goals for 2012 is to start taking more flavor risks.  So, I asked our Facebook & Twitter friends what their favorite go-to frosting recipe was.  We received a lot of great responses- thanks guys!  Luckily I came across Gimme Some Oven’s recipe for Vanilla Almond Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting.   After I read all 69 comments, this recipe had me sold.  I took some of their reader’s suggestions and customized her Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting to my own liking.

I am so glad that I decided to make this recipe.   First and foremost, thank you Gimme Some Oven for sharing this recipe and encouraging me to make my own homemade caramel.  If I knew how easy it was to make caramel myself, I would have made it a long time ago.  This is one of my favorite cupcake recipes.  Believe it or not, the Vanilla Almond Cupcake ingredients were based off of a boxed cake mix.  Rich ingredients such as fresh buttermilk, almond extract, and vanilla extract change this recipe to be more than just a boxed cake mix.  I would definitely refer to this recipe as a gourmet boxed cake mix recipe. I loved this recipe so much that I made it twice in one month!

For Christmas I got the new iPhone 4S.  I actually took all the photos of the cupcakes with my new phone.  Along with my new iPhone, my mom and mother in-law both got me this adorable wooden sign that reads “Mom’s Place…Where All Her Little Cupcakes Get Sprinkled With Love.”  I thought it would make for the perfect photo shoot for these cupcakes. Even though I am stoked about my new iPhone, this will probably be my last dessert feature using it.   For my birthday, I got a Canon Rebel 2Ti and I can hardly wait to put it to work.   I am one lucky girl!  Do you have a favorite boxed cake mix recipe that includes adding additional ingredients to it?

Vanilla Almond Cupcakes w/ Salted Caramel Buttercream Recipe

(Recipe from: Gimme Some Oven + Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting recipe Customized by Best Friends For Frosting)


Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 1 (18.25 oz.) white cake mix
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 eggs

Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. water
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tsp. vanilla
  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) salted butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar


To Make Cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

Add the cake mix, buttermilk, oil, almond extract, and vanilla to a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed until moistened, about 30 seconds.  Add eggs one at a time, until the batter is well-mixed. Increase speed to high and beat until thick and fluffy, 2 minutes longer.

Pour or scoop the batter into paper liners until they are 2/3 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cupcakes cool on a wire rack.

To Make Frosting (pics above and below):

Briefly stir together granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking, without stirring, until mixture turns dark amber in color, about 6 to 7 minutes.

Remove from heat and slowly add in cream and vanilla (just start with a tablespoon or two), stirring with a wooden spoon until completely smooth. (Be careful, as the mixture will definitely bubble up and possibly splatter a bit as you add in the cream).  Set aside until cool to the touch, about 25 minutes.

Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add powdered sugar, and mix until completely incorporated.

To achieve the soft pink frosting color, add 4 drops of pink gel paste food coloring.  Mix only until incorporated.

Turn off the mixer, and then add caramel. Beat frosting on low to combine, and then increase to medium-high and beat until airy and thoroughly mixed, about 2 minutes. Refrigerate if not using immediately or refrigerate to harden the frosting a bit.

***To frost 24 cupcakes as Gimme Some Oven & I both did, it is recommended to make a double batch of the frosting.  But if you’re just spreading it on with a knife, one batch should be plenty!

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    1. christineispink

      i think you may need to update/check the recipe for the frosting. i made it as directed and ended up with a WAAAYYYY too sweet caramel (not a buttercream frosting). after checking several other recipes for a salted caramel buttercream frosting, it looks like you may have tripled some of the ingredients but not others and that’s how i ended up making a huge batch of caramel, instead of caramel frosting.

      1. Melissa Johnson

        Hi Christine! Indeed you’re right, I did add additional caramel to the recipe. I wanted to be sure that I enhanced the caramel flavor. I have made this recipe multiple times and truly do enjoy it. Perhaps I just have more of a sweet tooth than you! ;) Thank you for trying this recipe. I sure appreciate your feedback.

    2. Hazel

      Saw your photos in someone else’s facebook site. So i looked it up and found your blog. Very nice photos and cupcakes too. I think i will try to make some vanilla almond cupcakes. I just hope people would not act as if they actually made your beautiful cupcakes It’s a good thing we have google image search to find the rightful owner.

      1. Melissa Johnson

        Thanks so much for telling me Hazel. Would you mind sending me a link to where you found them on Facebook. =)