Batter Up: Dairy-Free Caramel-Heart Cupcakes

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Batter Up: Dairy-Free Caramel-Heart Cupcakes

Rachael Franchini ’19, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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My sister has a severe dairy allergy, so whenever we bake together we have to get creative with the ingredients. We usually end up combining a bunch of different recipes, plus our own baking genius, to make something new and unique. I think that many college students take many liberties when making their own food as well, and this recipe is definitely no exception.

I also never seem to have all of the ingredients a recipe calls for, so I end up using substitutions and additions to make it work. 

Ingredients (disclaimer: I did not really measure out much of this, so these are approximations. Do your best and eyeball it):

For the cupcake batter:

Flour—about 2.5 cups

Sugar—about 2 cups

Baking Powder—a big sprinkle

Salt—a small sprinkle

Unsweetened Almond Milk—about 1 cup

Vegetable Oil (I only had olive oil so that’s what I used, but vegetable oil is probably better)—about .5 cups


Water—1 cup

Soft Caramel Candies—about 12 (small)

You can put a dribble of vanilla extract into the batter as well, but I didn’t have that.

For the frosting:

Dark Chocolate Dove Squares—probably about 10-15

Cream of Coconut—a few scoops

This recipe probably makes about 24 cupcakes in total. Since I only had one pan, I could only make 12 cupcakes. In the end, my sister and I used the rest of the batter to make pancakes that tasted like cupcakes, so I definitely recommend making both.


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Mix together the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients together in another bowl. Once they are integrated with their respective wet or dry friends, make a well in the middle of the dry ingredient bowl and pour the wet mixture in and start mixing until you have one batter. (Side note: this is what you’re supposed to do when you make batter like this. I only had one bowl and it was a plastic trick-or-treat basket, so I made do and put them all in the basket together and it was still fine.)

3. Get a cupcake pan and put cupcake wrappers in the holes. You should probably spray the wrappers with cooking spray, but I didn’t have that. They didn’t stick to the wrappers very much though, so that part isn’t that important.

4. Fill the wrappers with the batter about 1/2 of the way. Then, put a soft caramel chew in the center of the batter. If you had large chews like I did, cut them in half first. 

5. Put another small scoop of batter on top of the caramel.

6. Repeat this for all of the cupcakes.

7. Put the cupcakes in the oven for 15-18 minutes. Use your best judgment. 

8. Take the cupcakes out when they are done and let them cool.

9. Now, start making the frosting. Combine the dark chocolate squares and the coconut cream in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in intervals of 20 seconds until it is frosting-like.

10. Spread the frosting on the cupcakes.

These turned out really delicious, so I highly recommend. As you can see, I did not have many of the ingredients or tools integral to completing a cupcake recipe, but I still did it, so you can too!