Brown Sugar Cupcakes with Sea Salted Caramel Frosting

My youngest daughter turned one on Saturday.  We had two different celebrations for her to avoid having our house feel like a zoo (small quarters make for a claustrophobic mama).  I made some yummy food, because...well, that's what I do.  And since she is only one and cannot talk, I got to pick the menu (that's both good and bad).  It's good, because it's pulling out the creative card in the kitchen.  It's bad, because when it comes to picking out a recipe for dessert the sky is literally the limits.

Ben laughs at me saying it takes me three hours to decide what I want to make and then leaving me only an hour to get it all done (too many options isn't always the best thing in life).  I made an apple cake with a cream cheese drizzle frosting for our family gathering.  Then, on Sunday I envisioned making a caramel cake with sauteed apples and a salty caramel cream cheese drizzle icing.  However, as the clock continued to tick on while I was no where near my kitchen post...I came upon a brown sugar cupcake recipe and then mixed it with an easy breezy Salted Caramel Frosting.

This was our Tayers first taste of cake, which she thoroughly enjoyed. And I have to say how much I love this little girl.  As I was approaching this weekend (she was born on the 14th), I began reflecting on the 12th (when my water broke) of what I had been doing a year ago before she graced us with her presence...41 hours later.  She fills the house with laughter, cuddles, and squeals of delight when she should be going to bed.  Let's face her life is a party, which is to be enjoyed to the fullest.

I remember thinking after she was born, "what did we do?  We had it perfectly with our family of three and now we have this little one who's going to change everything!" (postpartum moms are allowed to say just about anything, especially when they go through 41 hours of waiting for the baby to be born without drugs, I'm just saying :) )  However, a year later...everything DID change, but it was a good change and she is well worth it.

Brown Sugar Cupcakes with Sea Salted Caramel Frosting

(printable recipe)

The cupcake recipe is from Chockylit, which is a fantastic & inspiring cupcake blog.  The frosting recipe is adapted from here.

Brown Sugar Butter Cupcakes

24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cup light brown sugar

4 large eggs, room temperature

2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

2 teaspoon vanilla


1. Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds.
2. Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
3. Add eggs one at a time, beat for 30 seconds after each.
4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
5. Measure out milk and vanilla together.
6. Add about a fourth of the flour to the butter/sugar mixture and beat to combine.
7. Add about one third the milk/vanilla mixture and beat until combined.
8. Repeat above, alternating flour and milk and ending with the flour mixture.
9. Scoop into cupcake papers about half to three-quarters full.
10. Bake for 20-22 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Sea Salted Caramel Frosting

1/2 cup (one stick) butter

1 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/3 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon finely ground sea salt

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4-1/3 cup milk

additional sea salt for sprinkling


Melt butter in saucepan and continue over heat until the butter is brown, but not black.

Remove pan from heat and add lemon juice and brown sugar–stir until smooth.

Return pan to a med-low heat and bring to boil while constantly stirring. Boil mixture for one minute and remove from heat. Then add cream, stir until cream is incorporated.

Return pan to heat and stir until just boiling. Then remove from heat, add salt and let mixture cool to room temperature. When you taste the mixture at this point is may taste very strong and a bit too salty–that’s what you want.

Transfer caramel mixture to mixing bowl and slowly beat in sugar and vanilla until smooth.  **my notes: I beat mine in my kitchen aid stand mixer, which mixed it up into a blob similar to playdoh.  I then added milk & mixed it again, in order to make it spreadable, which worked.  It may have been better if it was mixed by hand.

Frost cupcakes and sprinkle with sea salt.  Tastes even better the day after.