Pillsbury Bake-Off Countdown: Spiced Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream

Spicy chocolate cupcakes with caramel frosting

CakeSpy Note: I am beyond ecstatic to announce that I have been invited as a media guest to the 45th Annual Pillsbury Bake-Off in Orlando, Florida! The event will take place in late March; til then, I am going to feature several of the sweets finalists here in anticipation of the big day!

Clearly, Lori Falce of Osceola Mills, PA, is sort of a genius. Because she takes a chocolate-caramel cupcake, which is already a pretty perfect food, and makes it better in her recipe for Spiced Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream. As she puts it: "Surprise! There's a cayenne kick hiding in these fudgy brownie cupcakes smothered in a delightful caramel and whipped cream frosting".

NOM. Here's how you make 'em.

Spiced Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel buttercream

Makes 18 cupcakes

  • 1 box (19.5 oz) Pillsbury® Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix
  • 1/2 cup Canola Oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne Pepper
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup Hershey’s® caramel syrup
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipped cream, if desired*
  • 18 Hershey's® Mini Kisses® milk chocolates
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Place paper baking cup in each of 18 regular-size muffin cups. In large bowl, stir brownie mix, oil, water, vanilla, cayenne and eggs 50 strokes with spoon. Divide batter evenly among cups. In small bowl, mix 2 teaspoons of the cinnamon and granulated sugar. Sprinkle evenly over batter in cups.
  2. Bake 17 to 23 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pans to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  3. In large bowl, beat butter, 1/2 cup of the caramel syrup and remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Beat in powdered sugar until smooth. *For softer frosting, add whipping cream 1 tablespoon at a time for desired spreading consistency. Frost cupcakes; drizzle each with scant teaspoon caramel syrup. Top each cupcake with 1 milk chocolate candy. Store covered in refrigerator.