Savannah Cupcakes (Chocolate cupcakes with caramel filling and salted caramel buttercream)

When we aren’t watching Hamilton, the girls and I spend our evenings watching Sugar Rush on Netflix. This was the first show that Riley and I could ever fully agree and during quarantine Maddie finally joined in. This past Sunday evening we watched the episode that hosted family teams with challenges that were all about family experiences. For the cupcake challenge the families were to make a cupcake that represented their family pets. As the bakers got going, Maddie jumped off the couch.

“Oh! Mom! We need to make a cupcake for Savannah.”

Riley quickly jumped in, bouncing up and down, “Yeah!”

I was in full Sunday rest mode and took a little bit longer to join the excitement. “We do?” I questioned, hoping they would continue down this trail themselves and allow me to go back to resting.

“Yeah mom. We’re a family team and our pet is Savannah so we have to.” Maddie explained. “Oh, and we need to get fondant,” she added with a slightly mischievous smile.

“Okay, we’re doing this” I thought, resigned as Burr was when he wasn’t able to dissaude Alexander and Laurens from the dual with Lee. I too often think in Hamilton quotes now. A side effect of the pandemic on this family. “So, what we do for the cupcake.” I asked.

Out came a laundry list of ideas. A few times I had to remind the girls that Savannah was not rainbow colored or a unicorn. Quite opposite, she is a black and brown Rottweiler. We settled on a chocolate cupcake with caramel filling and a salted caramel frosting. She has gotten a bit salty in her old age, but she’s still mostly sweet. The girls agreed to the design, still bouncing up and down.

In terms of design, Maddie was most insistent that we make her face out of fondant, the way on of the bakers did on the show. With the addition of the fondant, the experience turned from baking to craft. “This is just like playdoh!” the girls exclaimed as the molded their Savannah faces, eating bits along the way.

The cupcakes, which Riley made with only a little help, turned out delicious. So did the second batch of caramel. The salted caramel buttercream frosting was decadent. But, like all good baking, the family fun was the best part.

For the cake we used a recipe from Creations by Kara found here:

For the caramel we used a recipe from The Cookie Rookie found here:

Below is our own recipe for the salted caramel buttercream frosting

Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting


  • 3 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 cup butter
  • 4 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 tbsp caramel with salt added


  • Allow butter to soften, but not all the way to room temperature.
  • In stand mixer, whisk the butter until there are no lumps.
  • Add one cup of powdered sugar at a time. The powdered sugar should be fully integrated with the butter before adding the next cup. Leave 1 cup to the side.
  • Add vanilla and 1/4 tsp salt.
  • Add 1/4 tsp salt to the caramel. Add this slowly and taste along the way. A little salt goes a long way and you'll want to make sure you flavor the caramel the way you like it.
  • Add the heavy cream and caramel.
  • Add final cup of powdered sugar.
  • If the frosting is too thick, add a little more heavy cream. If it is too runny, add a little more powdered sugar.