If you don’t know already, you will soon find out that I am a basic ____ who needs her Starbucks Macchiato extra hot, upside down (meaning first the syrup, milk, then espresso), double cupped in venti, and obviously with an extra solo shot. Oh, and I have TWO Starbucks gold cards. Get on my level.
Nah, just kidding (I do have two gold cards though hehe). How about a nice salted caramel mocha frap for little ole’ me? But (unfortunately), I do like to stay hydrated with lots of caffeine. It’s to the point where my love for Starbucks overweighs my love for cake decorating. But, wait. What if I can just combine my love for coffee and cake baking into one striking duo?
I bring you: Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino Cupcakes! The idea isn’t completely original. But not meaning to brag, wouldn’t you say the presentation really takes this to another level? Instead of using standard cupcake liners to make the cupcakes, I used paper cupcake wrappers that were a bit taller and less wider. With these liners, it was easier to attach the Starbucks wrapper I created and it also looked more aesthetically pleasing. Like an actual mini Starbucks cup! For the template, I traced out the outline of the cupcake wrapper and printed the Starbucks logo onto the templates. I also used white card stock paper to create a more sturdy look as well. I attached the template down below if you want to try these out and also a few notes about it! I also replicated the frappuccino foam with the Swiss meringue buttercream, topping it with some caramel, and adding the signature green straw. If I didn’t know otherwise, I would’ve asked myself if they sold these cute treats at the shop. Honestly, they looked IDENTICAL to the caramel frappuccinos they sell at Starbucks. Heck, should I trademark this idea just in case Starbucks decides to steal “my” idea? ;P
Now, to explain the best for last: the taste. I brought this to a small party that my spiritual friends were having for a friend who visited from Los Angeles, and I have never seen so many oohs and aahs over the taste! These cupcakes have a rich coffee flavor from the Starbucks espresso that oozes buttery caramel sauce, topped with a very light Swiss meringue buttercream and drizzled with vanilla bean caramel sauce. With a combination this sinful, how can you not be tempted?
- ¾ cup whole or low-fat milk
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 2 packages of Starbucks Via Instant Coffee*
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- 3 cups cake flour
- 2½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons unsweetened natural cocoa powder
- ¾ cup (1 stick and a half) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1½ cup white sugar
- 4 eggs, yolks and whites separated
- 5 large egg whites
- 11/2 cup sugar
- 4 sticks unsalted butter, sliced and softened
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
- 2¼ cups brown sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 15 Starbucks green straws (just visit your local Starbucks shop and ask for some)
- Printed templates (found below)
- Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare cupcake wrappers and a cookie sheet.
- Heat the milk in the microwave or on the stove until hot – stop short of a simmer. Stir in one package of the instant coffee until well blended. Add the vanilla and set aside.
- Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cocoa, and second package of instant coffee.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar with the paddle attachment until creamed. It should be slightly fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time.
- Add ⅔ of the flour mixture and the sour cream. Add the remaining flour mixture and milk. Beat until smooth.
- Scrape all the batter out into a separate bowl and wash the mixer bowl thoroughly.
- Switch to the whisk attachment and beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. They will hold a stiff peak but they will still slip around a little in the bowl. Fold the egg whites into the cake batter gently, folding the batter around until well combined.
- Fill cupcake liners with batter and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
- Combine egg whites and sugar in a stand mixer bowl and place it over (not on) simmering water. Heat mixture to 160 degrees F while whisking constantly.
- Transfer mixer bowl to stand mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on medium high speed (speed 8 on a KitchenAid stand mixer) until mixture cools, doubles in volume and forms stiff peaks; about 10-12 minutes.
- Add butter in one piece at a time, mixing to incorporate after each addition. The mixture may appear clumpy and almost curdled looking at first—this is normal. Keep mixing and it will become even and smooth again.
- Add salt and flavoring, mix to combine.
- Cut butter into evenly sized cubes and melt over low heat in large 3-4 quart saucepan.
- Once butter is fully melted, add brown sugar, being careful to avoid the sides of the pan. If any stray sugar crystals fall onto side of pan, carefully brush off with a wet pastry brush.
- Once butter and sugar are fully combined, add corn syrup and condensed milk. Clip on candy thermometer to side of pan.
- Cook mixture on low heat (still continually stirring) for about a minute or two. Increase heat to medium and continue to cook/ stir until mixture reaches 225 degrees. Once the mixture is removed from heat, stir in vanilla extract. Set aside.
- Print and cut out the templates. Carefully place around each cupcake wrapper.
- Core out all the cupcakes. Insert the caramel mixture into each cupcake and place the top back onto the cupcake (I cut the tops in half before attaching it back on top of the cupcake to avoid leaking).
- Pipe on the swiss meringue buttercream. Use a star tip to cream foamy effect.
- Drizzle on the leftover caramel sauce and pop on a mini green straw (one long straw can be cut into halves or thirds).
This should fit the size of a standard cupcake paper CUP, not liner. Here’s a picture from the web to show you what I used. I will also attach an Amazon link here of the same type of cups. Cup design shouldn’t matter since you’ll be covering it up with the Starbucks template if you choose to do so! Let me know if you still have any questions about sizing.