You know what’s crazy? This week marks the four year anniversary of when I started writing this blog. You know what’s even crazier?! I actually got my act together this year and made something celebratory to share with you for the occasion, unlike in past years, when I tried to pass off things like salad or breakfast tacos as blogiversary-worthy treats.
Okay, okay…to be honest, the stars just sort of aligned this time. And by stars, I mean that the fiancé was visiting for the week, which seemed as good a reason as any to make a cake, especially given that I don’t bake cakes when I’m by myself (I’d need bigger cake pants if I did). But whatever the circumstances, these coffee toffee caramel cupcakes are 1000% appropriate for anything festive you’ve got going on—birthdays, showers, pool parties, you name it!
These cupcakes were inspired by my all-time favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor, Bonnaroo Buzz, which was discontinued a number of years ago. It offered a tantalizing combination of coffee, toffee, caramel, and whiskey, and after several years of hoping in vain for it to be resurrected from the flavor graveyard, I decided to take matters into my own hands and create a Bonnaroo Buzz confection of my own!
Although the original ice cream flavor didn’t have much in the way of chocolate (only what covered the toffee), I used a chocolate cupcake as the base—after all, when is chocolate ever a bad idea?! I also opted to leave out the whiskey component, partly because that was never the standout ingredient in my view, but also because I don’t have whiskey and I’m actively trying to reduce (or at least avoid increasing) the number of items in my pantry/fridge/freezer.
Even if you haven’t spent the past few years mourning ice cream flavor turnover, I think you’ll find that these coffee toffee caramel cupcakes really hit the spot! The chocolate cake is soft and tender with a moist but not overly dense crumb, and the caramel buttercream balances out the cake with an irresistible salty-sweet combination that is enhanced by the toffee pieces sprinkled on top. There’s even a surprise pocket of caramel tucked underneath the frosting!
While I wish that I could thank each and every one of you for being here by giving you a cupcake I baked myself, we’ll have to make do with words for now. Thank you so much for reading along and being a part of Put on Your Cake Pants! I truly appreciate you taking the time to visit my little corner of the internet. As is my blogiversary custom, I’ve compiled a list (included below) of my favorite recipes from this past year, but I’d also love to hear from you! What are your favorite Put on Your Cake Pants recipes—from this past year or any other?
Clockwise, from top left:
Italian tomato gnocchi soup
Apple pie French toast casserole
Copycat Trader Joe’s cowboy caviar
Easy one-pot jambalaya
Peanut butter butterscotch puppy chow
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa
- 2 1/2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1 cup caramel sauce, divided
- 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup shortening, at room temperature (optional, see note)
- 2-3 1/2 cups powdered sugar (see note)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup toffee pieces
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the cups of a cupcake pan with paper liners.
- In the bowl of a mixer (or a large mixing bowl), stir together the dry ingredients: sugar, flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the beaten egg, milk, and vegetable oil. Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Add the boiling water and stir until the batter reaches an even consistency.
- Portion the batter into the cupcake liners (about 1/4 cup per cupcake). Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
- Once the cupcakes are cool, cut conical pieces of cake out of the top of each cupcake with a sharp knife. Alternatively, you can use a cupcake corer if you have one. Spoon about 1 teaspoon caramel sauce into the center of each cupcake.
- Prepare the buttercream: beat the butter and shortening (if using) in the bowl of a mixer until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Add 1/2 cup caramel sauce and beat until smooth. Pipe or spread the buttercream on the cooled cupcakes.
- Sprinkle toffee pieces on top of the cupcakes and drizzle with any remaining caramel sauce. Serve at room temperature.
- If the presentation of the cupcakes is a priority for you and you want to be able to pipe the frosting on top (as pictured), you will need to include the shortening and the full 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar (the shortening and added sugar are what enable the frosting to hold its shape). If you prefer to simply spread the frosting, you may omit the shortening and use 2 cups powdered sugar (you will likely have extra frosting if you choose this method).
- I use homemade caramel sauce (following this recipe, but with unsalted butter and only 3/4 teaspoon salt), but feel free to substitute store-bought caramel sauce.
- Chocolate cupcake recipe adapted from Desserts for Breakfast.
Debbie Spivey says
Patty K-P says
Happy anniversary! These look like divine celebratory cupcakes. I’m a huge fan of toffee so I will be making these this week to celebrate with you 🙂
Thanks, Patty! I hope you enjoy them as much as we do 🙂
Congrats on your Four Year Anniversary!
Thanks! It’s hard to believe it has already been four years.
Cake Lover says
Happy Blogiversary! Your Italian Tomato Gnocchi Soup has become one of our favorite soup recipes this past year. Thanks and congratulations!
I’m so glad to hear that! It’s such a flavorful and FAST recipe.
Happy 4th Blogiversary! Love how much your blog has grown, and it’s making me more of a foodie. Haha. Congrats!
Thanks so much, Jeanne! I’m glad to hear my blog has had that effect on you 🙂
Happy Blogversary! Great recipes that I’ll have to try!
Thanks! Let me know what you think if you try one 🙂
Angela / Only Crumbs Remain says
What a perfect bake to mark your blog-aversary! I’m just loving the pocket of caramel in the centre of the wonderfu chocolate cupcakes! #recipeoftheweek
Thanks, Angela! For some reason, I was debating whether to include the caramel in the center (I’m not sure why…as if that’s ever a bad decision!), but I’m glad I decided to go for it. I hope you get a chance to try these sometime!
David | Spiced says
Well, first of all…CONGRATS! That’s a big, exciting blogiversary. And this is a big, exciting way to celebrate! So I’m not familiar with Bonnaroo Buzz, but it sounds like I need to be. (Or needed to be…can we invent a time machine so I can go back and try this one out?) Ben & Jerry’s is always retiring the best flavors. What’s up with that!?! Anyways, love the idea to recreate those flavors in a cupcake. This cupcake sounds like it’s right up my alley, although I might have to sneak some whiskey back in there. Is that allowed? 🙂 Congrats again on 4, and I’m looking forward to seeing what 5 holds!
Thanks so much, David! I was living about 4 blocks from a Ben & Jerry’s around the time when that flavor debuted, so it’s safe to say that I became very well acquainted with it 🙂 And YES, by all means, go ahead and add some whiskey if you make these. I just realized that I could get a mini bar-sized bottle of whiskey to try it out for myself…
Wow! Happy bloggerversary ! What a great cupcake to celebrate! I’m glad I never herd of that Ben and jerrys flavor because I would have been sad to see it go
Thanks, Patrick! That’s a good point about the ice cream…it’s hard to miss what you never had 😉
Recipes Made Easy says
Congratualtions – These cup cakes certainly look worthy of a bloggerversary celebration.
Thanks! These may very well be the most celebratory cupcakes I’ve ever made 🙂
Four years! WOW!!! Congrats and these cupcakes look like an amazing way to celebrate! They look so moist….and chocolaty! 🙂
Thanks, Kathy! It’s hard to believe it has already been four years. Time sure does fly!
The cupcakes sound delicious and congratulations on the blogiversary! Happy Fiesta Friday!😘
Thanks, Jhuls! I hope you’re having a great weekend.
Beautiful cupcakes! Happy blogiversary!
Thanks so much! I’m glad they caught your eye 🙂
Happy blogiversary!! These cupcakes are perfect for the occasion. All the flavors are perfect together.
Thanks!! I’m pretty sure these cupcakes are perfect for any occasion…I for one would be happy to eat them anytime 😉
Not want, NEEED these cupcakes in my life (and belly) right now. Pure perfection.
Haha, thanks so much! I hope you get a chance to try them sometime soon 🙂
Wow! I was instantly drawn to these beautiful, decadent looking cupcakes! I’m happy to be visiting your page and meet your virtual acquaintance! This looks like a great recipe and perfect photography!
Thanks so much for your kind words, Joanne! I’m very glad you stopped by and said hello 🙂
Oh god! Happy 4th blogiversary! These Cupcakes look, sound and read like true piece of heaven. This is what I’d call a perfect celebration treat. P.s. I’m glad you didn’t go for a salad this year. Greetings from the sweet tooth that lives inside me 😉 Happy Fiesta & thanks so much for bringing these lovely treats 🙂 x
I completely agree – salads can be tasty but when it comes to celebrations, it’s time to honor the sweet tooth! Thanks, and thank you for hosting this week 🙂
Congrats on your blogiversary! I can’t think of anything that’s better than caramel topped cupcakes to celebrate! Caramel has a special place in my life…and I love those secret pockets in cupcakes. Absolutely delish! Thank you for bringing them over to Fiesta Friday, Mara!
Thanks, Shinta! I hope you get a chance to try these sometime 🙂 And thank you for hosting this week!
Diana Lopes says
Coffee and caramel are one of my favorites combos ever! It’s just the best, whenever I have the chance of drinking or eating something that combines these two I simply gotta do it! Thanks for sharing =)
I’m so glad this caught your eye! Please let me know what you think if you make them 🙂
Angie | Fiesta Friday says
You’re 4 already?! 😄 Happy Blogiversary! The cupcakes are the perfect treat for the special occasion. No salad, please…unless it’s a salad cake! 😄
I know, it’s hard to believe my blog is almost a kindergartener! They grow up so fast 😉
These sound so good, Mara! I will definitely be making these. Visiting from Welcome Home Wednesdays.
Thanks so much, Erin! I hope you enjoy these as much as we do 🙂 Let me know how it goes!
Mary Ann @ thebeachhousekitchen says
Perfect cupcake for a celebration Mara! Looks incredibly delicious! Congrats on 4 years!
Thanks, Mary Ann! I’m planning to repurpose the ones I stashed in the freezer as birthday cupcakes later this month, too 🙂
Congrats!! What a mile-stone; most bloggers, it’s said, quit within 3 months! You’ve got a gorgeous blog – and those cupcakes are driving me nuts!! 🙂
Thanks, Mollie! I hadn’t heard that about three months, but I can certainly believe it. I hope you get a chance to try these cupcakes!
Congrats on your bloggaversary! I love your creativity and style, and so happy that you are sharing your yummy treat with the world. Great site design too! Keep it coming friend. Let’s get together if you are ever in socal!
Thanks so much, Jessica! I really appreciate the encouragement. And yes, I’ll let you know if I’m planning any trips in the area 🙂