Cupcake Throwdown Winner: Samoa Cupcakes

Over the weekend I participated in a “Cupcake Throwdown” as part of a pampered chef party. I made these Samoa cupcakes on my sister Holly’s suggestion, and won! First prize was a $25 gift certificate to Pampered Chef.

My competition was fierce.  Carrot cupcakes with beautifully decorated birds, italian cream cupcakes with lighter than air frosting, and peanut butter and jelly cupcakes that tasted just like the sandwich. When all was said and done, the Samoa cupcakes won for their excellent balance of salty and sweet.

The recipe I started with came from Bakers Royale. After a test batch a few weeks prior, I decided to double the batch of caramel, and fill the cupcakes with the extra. This made the cake extra moist.

Chocolate Cupcake

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla


  1. In a bowl, mix sour cream and baking soda together; set aside. Sift flour and cocoa powder; set aside. Using a mixer beat butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add in salt and beat until combined. Add in eggs and beat until combined. Add in egg yolks and vanilla and beat until combined.
  2. Turn off mixer and, using a sturdy spatula or a wooden spoon, add in sour cream mixture and flour mixture, alternating in thirds. Fold in each rotation, beginning with the sour cream and ending with the flour mixture, mixing each rotation until just combined. Fill cupcake liner two-thirds full. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 20-25 minutes. Cool cupcakes completely before frosting.

Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting

  • 2/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 12 tablespoons of heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoons of kosher salt
  • 1 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 11/2 cup powdered sugar


  1. Add sugar and water into a saucepan over medium low heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Use a wet brush to remove any crystals that form on the side. Once sugar has dissolved increase heat to high. Now and then, using the handle give the pot a swirl to keep the mixture moving. Do not stir the mixture directly. The mixture will start to bubble after a minute. As the mixture darkens to a medium amber color, approximately 5-7 minutes add butter and cream to saucepan. The mixture will bubble wildly. Whisk to combine (bubbles will subside upon cooling). Add salt and stir to combine.
  2. Place butter and vanilla in a bowl and beat on high until butter is pale and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Turn mixer speed down to medium and add powdered sugar ½ cup at a time. Beat until combined. 3. Add in half of the caramel sauce and beat until combined.

To assemble the cupcakes:

Fill cupcakes with remaining caramel. I used a frosting pen with a filler attachment, but you can just poke holes in the cupcake and drizzle on the caramel. Once filled, frost cupcakes with the salted caramel buttercream frosting. Melt about 1/2 cup of milk chocolate and drizzle over the top of the cupcakes. Top with 1/2 cup of toasted coconut.

These are best eaten the day they are made. Otherwise the coconut looses a bit of it’s crunch. 


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