These Dark Chocolate Mini Cupcakes are frosted with a rich salted caramel frosting for an indulgent, bite-sized treat. This recipe takes less than an hour to make and makes plenty to share. Perfect for parties! Recipe includes a how-to video!
Chocolatey, Bite-Sized Bliss
It’s not often that I share a mini dessert (you know I like my sweets as big as they can be), but these mini cupcakes are the exception. With their fluffy, moist, and rich dark chocolate bases and their equally indulgent caramel frosting, a bite is really all you need. Sure, maybe I still eat three (or five) in one sitting, but that’s neither here nor there! 🤪
These cupcakes truly melt in your mouth and are my favorite match for my caramel frosting–though of course you could use a different type (like peanut butter frosting!). Since the frosting is so sweet and rich, it really goes well with the subtly bitter dark chocolate in the cake. Add a bit of sea salt on top (don’t forget it!) and you have an incredible flavor pairing!
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- Takes less than 40 minutes to make.
- Makes a lot of cupcakes–great for parties!
- The cupcake batter can easily be made by hand (no mixer!).
- Pairs beautifully with my pipeable (!!) caramel frosting.
What You Need
You can make these adorable mini cupcakes with just a few ingredients:
- Dark cocoa powder. You could substitute Dutch process cocoa powder, but the cupcakes won’t be true “dark” chocolate or as dark in color. They’ll still taste amazing, though!
- Corn starch. I love using cornstarch to make my cakes and cupcakes tender, but still sturdy enough to withstand a heavy application of frosting.
- Egg + Egg yolk. The extra yolk adds tenderness as well so these cupcakes truly melt in your mouth.
- Hot coffee. Hot coffee is a key ingredient in many of my chocolate cake recipes. It won’t make your cupcakes taste like coffee, but it will bring out the chocolate flavor. If you don’t have coffee, hot water will work too–just make sure whatever you use is hot!
SAM’S TIP: This recipe makes a lot of mini cupcakes (over 70!), but since they’re so small and poppable everyone is going to want at least one. You could try halving the recipe, but it could get tricky with some of the measurements.
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Mini Cupcakes
- Combine the dry ingredients and sugar in a large bowl.
- Stir in the oil, eggs, and vanilla.
- Gradually add the milk, then carefully stir in the coffee.
- Divide the batter into a lined muffin tin and bake for 14-15 minutes.
- Let the cupcakes cool in their pan for 15 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.
- Frost with caramel frosting and top with sea salt.
SAM’S TIP: Your batter will be pretty dry and crumbly before adding your liquids, and after adding all the liquids, it will be very thin. Both are normal!
Frequently Asked Questions
You use my recipe for dark chocolate cupcakes, but I will warn you, the combination of the fudgy cupcake and salted caramel frosting really is rich! A bite size is really the my favorite way to go.
Even though they’re mini, you’ll still want to fill your liners ⅔ full. This should be about a tablespoon (or maybe a little more) for mini cupcakes. I like to use my 1.5 tablespoon cookie scoop (not filled all the way, of course) for easy portioning and filling.
I’m fine leaving them out for about 2 days at room temperature (in an airtight container), but beyond that I’d refrigerate.
Don’t forget that sea salt topping!
Let’s bake together! I’ll be walking you through all the steps in my written recipe and video below! If you try this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube and Facebook
Dark Chocolate Mini Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting
- 1 ⅔ cups (333 g) granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cups (188 g) all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup (65 g) dark cocoa powder
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (118 ml) canola or vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
- ⅔ cup (157 ml) whole milk
- 1 cup (236 ml) hot coffee (see note)
- 1 batch caramel frosting
- Flaky sea salt for sprinkling
- Note: If you are making the accompanying caramel frosting that I’ve linked to in the “Ingredients” section, I recommend making the caramel before beginning the cupcakes to give it ample time to cool.
- Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and line a 24-count mini muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.1 ⅔ cups (333 g) granulated sugar, 1 ½ cups (188 g) all-purpose flour, ⅔ cup (65 g) dark cocoa powder, 1 Tablespoon cornstarch, 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder, 1 ¼ teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt
- Add canola oil, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract and stir until well-combined.½ cup (118 ml) canola or vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
- Stir in milk until thoroughly-combined, then stir in hot coffee. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and then stir again to ensure you have a uniform, well-combined batter.⅔ cup (157 ml) whole milk, 1 cup (236 ml) hot coffee
- Divide better into mini muffin tin, filling liners ½-⅔ of the way full.
- Bake on 350F (175C) for 14-15 minutes or cupcake tops spring back lightly when touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
- Allow to cool for 15 minutes then carefully remove to a cooling rack (I gently pry them up with a butter knife) to cool completely before covering with caramel frosting.
- Decorate with caramel frosting then sprinkle with flaky sea salt. I used the Wilton 2D tip for icing the cupcakes in the photos.1 batch caramel frosting, Flaky sea salt
Muffin tinThis recipe makes 72+ mini cupcakes. If you only have one mini muffin tin, you can leave the batter on the counter while the first batch bakes, then upon removing from the oven allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes before carefully removing them to a cooling rack to cool completely. Let the tin cool completely (this should happen pretty quickly once the tin is empty) before refilling with liners and batter.
Hot CoffeeCoffee contributes a bolder, darker, chocolatier taste to the cupcakes, but you may substitute hot water instead. The important thing is that the liquid you use is very hot so that the cocoa powder can “bloom”, giving you a rich dark chocolate taste.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.