I could hardly contain my excitement when a coworker recently chose these toffee crunch cupcakes as her birthday selection.  This is one intense cupcake.  It starts with a chocolate cupcake base with toffee bits mixed in, topped with a ring of ganache coated in toffee bits, and finished off with a pretty little cloud of caramel Swiss meringue buttercream frosting.  Toffee has long been a favorite treat of Ben’s so he was pretty psyched about the idea of these and even more excited when there were extras left over for him to sample.

I did wonder if the toffee flavor might be masked by the intense chocolate cake or the rich caramel frosting, but the flavors were nicely balanced.  You can definitely taste all the components but the toffee still plays a starring role.  My only criticism is that if made in advance, the toffee bits soften slightly and lose the “crunch”, making the name a bit less apt.  Nevertheless they still tasted great and if I were really going for that crunch component, an extra sprinkle of toffee on top of the frosting just before serving would surely do the trick.  If you have a toffee lover in your life, you might just make their day with these cupcakes.


For the cupcakes:
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp. espresso powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup brewed coffee
1 cup toffee bits

For the ganache and toffee layer:
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½-2 cups toffee bits

For the frosting:
5 large egg whites
1½ cups sugar
4 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ tsp. coarse salt
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup caramel sauce 


  • 01

    To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking soda, and salt.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar and butter and beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Blend in the vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the coffee, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Mix each addition just until incorporated.  Fold in the toffee bits with a spatula.

  • 02

    Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners.  Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool in the pans 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • 03

    To make the ganache, place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl.  Add the cream to a saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Remove from the heat and pour the hot cream over the chocolate; let stand 1-2 minutes.  Whisk together until a smooth ganache forms.  Whisk in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time until completely incorporated.  Transfer the bowl to the fridge or freezer to chill the ganache to a pipeable consistency, whisking every 5-10 minutes to ensure even cooling.  When slightly thickened, transfer to a pastry bag fitted with your tip of choice.  Pipe a ring of ganache around the top of each cupcake, leaving a hole in the center.  Add the toffee bits to a bowl and dip the ganache portion of each cupcake into the toffee bits, pressing very gently to adhere.  Let the ganache set.

  • 04

    To make the frosting, combine the egg whites and the sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.  Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture reaches 160° F and the sugar has dissolved.  Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes.  (The bowl should be cool to the touch.)

  • 05

    Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated.  If the frosting looks soupy or curdled, continue to beat on medium-high speed until thick and smooth again, about 3-5 minutes more (or longer – don’t worry, it will come together!)  Blend in the salt, vanilla, and caramel until smooth and completely incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

  • 06

    Fill a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip with the frosting and pipe a frilly pile of frosting on top of each cupcake, filling the hole in the center of the ganache.  Top with additional toffee pieces, if desired.


  • What a great choice for a birthday, these look amazing! I love the combination of chocolate and tofeee.

  • Manju

    Wow Annie, these looks amazing. I wish I could just bite into one right now. Great clicks.


  • These look so delish! I can’t wait to try them. Soon!

  • These look and sound amazing Annie! As usual. :)

  • Oh boy. Need this in my life STAT!

  • mmm, i LOVE LOVE toffee..it’s my go-to topping for ice cream & I love Heath bars :) these look so pretty, Annie!

  • Brenna J

    This made post totally made my morning!! I love toffee and I can’t wait to make these!! YUMMM!!

  • Shayla

    Love your blog!! Had to share it with my mom so that I have somebody to chat with about the recipes! These cupcakes sound wonderful..will defin have to try them sometime!

  • gosh! they look stunning!

  • Stephanie

    Ah! I’ve been thinking about making these cupcakes for a while! Yum yum!

  • I think I need to make these cupcakes right away. I’m slightly obsessed with toffee. They look so pretty too!

  • These look fantastic, Annie!

  • These look amazing! They remind me of the top of drumstick ice cream cones.

  • Angie R.

    I LOVE your photos of these cupcakes – just gorgeous! You inspire me every day to get in the kitchen and make something. :)

  • These sound lovely!

  • Soooo…these are basically my dream cupcake. They look amazing.

  • I’m looking at these with Marty Feldman eyes, due to the fact that, at work, no one ever shares anything remotely homemade, unless ‘vegan pizza’ is considered food.

    Partially kidding, of course.

    In any case, these cupcakes look and sound delicious, and it’s a must try.

  • That’s a serious cupcake!

  • I love your cupcakes. <3

    I'm just curious, for your Birthday cupcakes, do you offer your coworkers a list of choices or do they just give you a few ideas and you run with it?

  • OMG I want these now. They are bursting with toffee flavor!

  • Annie

    Yes! Or maybe exploding? My kitchen is very hazardous ;)

  • Annie

    I give them a menu, but they are welcome to suggest other flavors as well.

  • I adore toffee, great addition to a cupcake too. These are beautiful!

  • As a crazy toffee lover, I can’t wait to make these. They look divine and your photos are so good!

  • these look AMAZING. and i LOVE the way you used the crinkled brown paper in the photographs – it totally mimics the irregular look of the toffee. must try these soon :)

  • I know it’s not polite to lick the screen but…

  • Love, love, love these. My bf’s birthday is quickly approaching and I can’t wait to make these. Thanks for the recipe, Annie! :)

  • These look way too pretty to eat which is of course awesome when you’re making them for someone else :) They have that nice wow factor.

  • Oh my gosh. Can I come work with you, because I have several birthdays a year :)

  • These look divine. Officially craving them now. And they’re gorgeous too!

  • Toffee, chocolate and caramel! Enough said. This is going straight into my recipe file.

  • They look so good!!! I’ve seen the recipe on Pinterest lately and been thinking about making them too.

  • wow these look utterly sinful,.. I love it! Will most certainly try these.. Thanks :)

  • Oh goodness, these are just too darn cute! Love the photos as well.

  • Ellie

    Hi Annie, I just wanted to let you know that I love your blog!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;)

  • My husband is going to die- his absolute favorite anything is toffee.

  • So yummy! These look totally amazing!!

  • toffee = everything wonderful and good. These look so amazing! I really wish I were one of your coworkers on days like this!

  • This is one fantastically intense cupcake! I love the toffee garnish and the frosting…so pretty :)

  • Heavenly cupcakes! Maybe I’ll use double shot of espresso and 6 oz water instead of 1 tbsp. espresso powder and 1 cup brewed coffee. Do you think that’s OK?

  • YUM! my stomach is rumbling. . . . I can taste these in my future!

  • Lovely recipe and a beautiful photographed cupcake!

  • Yum! Toffee is one of my favorite crunches so I would just love these!

  • Oh my, these cupcakes look divine!

  • Oh my goodness, that’s one gorgeous looking cupcake. Your coworker has great taste :)

  • I was looking at these cupcakes when my husband looked over my shoulder and said, “What are those? They look GOOD!” The icing looks especially tempting to me.

  • Melanie S (@LanieInCan)

    Oh, how I wish I was a coworker of yours this week for my birthday (on Wednesday). How lucky they are! ;o)

  • AuburnKimme

    I just found your website. I love, love, love it. I’ve been searching and searching for a good scone recipe. I can’t wait to try yours. Thanks for posting great recipes and beautiful photos in the midst of your hectic life. =)

  • Oooo, holy cow these look so good! I see me making this for some of MY co workers – and they will love me for it!

  • Louann Zundel

    In looking at the original recipe, it calls for 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of sugar for 1 stick of butter and 2 eggs. Your recipe calls for 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of sugar for 2 sticks of butter and 4 eggs. Just wondering if this is a typo or if those are the correct proportions.

  • Annie

    Oops, thanks for catching that! Math error when doubling. I have corrected it.

  • Those look beautiful. Wonderful pictures! I will be adding these to my “to bake” list!

  • I’m sure I’ve said this before in a previous comment but your cupcakes are always so pretty! Sound delicious too :)

  • These look waaaaaay too delicious! Your pictures always make me want to run to the kitchen and start baking. My mouth is watering…

  • Oh my goodness. When I saw the picture I started drooling immediately, even before I saw the ingredients. Then I read it and I seriously want these!

  • Oh My, those look absolutely amazing!

  • Wow, these are decadent and absolutely mesmerizing, simply on screen. I am looking to incorporate in impressive dessert to my Thanksgiving menu and I think this would be perfect, considering I have some children coming this year! Thank you for this awesome recipe.

  • Vish

    Thanks for another great recipe.. I can’t wait to try these.

    I recently made your favourite chocolate cupcake with the oreo whipped cream frosting and they were a big hit!

    Do you think it would work if I just added the toffee bits to that same chocolate cupcake recipe?

  • Jennifer T

    I have been recreating your cupcakes for awhile now and I made these last night and everyone is in LOVE. My new favorite!!

  • Connie

    These are INCREDIBLE. I made them for our little community farmers market and sold out. I did make a change but only because I panicked and ran out of time. I omitted the ganache and then whipped up your frosting you included with your Smores cupcakes. I piped a rim around and dipped in toffee bits them finished piping on the icing. They looked great and were delicious. I do plan to make them again and do it right next time! :)

  • Becki Sue

    I made these last night on a whim, after planning dinner for tonight with a friend. I gave her some flavor options and was thrilled when she picked toffee! These cupcakes are why toffee was an option. :-) Even though there were a few steps in making these beauties, everything came together fairly easily. I did manage to trash my kitchen with lots of pans, bowls and measuring spoons, but that is why I have a dishwasher. The visual impact of these cupcakes is impressive, but then the taste does not disappoint. The caramel frosting was my favorite part!!

  • I made these tonight and unfortunately overfilled my liners… they stuck to the pan a bit… but they taste great. I’ll make the ganache and frosting tomorrow… Thanks for the recipe!

  • Annie! I LOVE THIS SO MUCH! great recipes, great site! Im a 14 year old girl with a passion to bake too! So I have a website and I wrote something about you and your site! Hope you enjoy ! http://thesugarcorner.co.uk/baking-friends/ LJ x

  • Cathy

    Any suggestions for what to do with extra frosting. I have a lot left over and don’t want it to go to waste…

  • Annie

    Freeze it.

  • Shelia Grady

    These look yummy!

  • Ann

    Annie, I started following your blog after one of your recipes caught my eye on Pinterest… and I’m so happy I did! I am also an avid baker and love your ideas. I’ve made several of the recipes profiled here lately, and they’ve been delicious! I especially appreciated your tips on making swiss meringue and patience, above– I don’t have a stand mixer (small apartment, no space!) despite the amount of baking I do, but made a successful swiss meringue with a hand mixer. Looking forward to what you post next!

  • Rosalie D

    I made these for an end of term party and everybody LOVED them. They were taking pictures of them and taking extras home with them, big hit. Thanks for posting!

  • super yummy. My frosting still didn’t incorporate completely so it had a weird texture and way WAY too sweet, but when combined with the not-sweet at all ganache and semi sweet cupcake, it worked. they were a hit!

  • super yummy. My frosting still didn’t incorporate completely so it had a weird texture and way WAY too sweet, but when combined with the not-sweet at all ganache and semi sweet cupcake, it worked. they were a hit!

  • Anonymous

    You didn’t beat the buttercream long enough. See the FAQ page for more info on Swiss meringue buttercream.

  • annieseats

    You didn’t beat the buttercream long enough. See the FAQ page for more info on Swiss meringue buttercream.

  • ElaineV

    Hi Annie, I made these cupcakes for a co-worker’s birthday last week and I want to tell you they turned out awesome!! Everyone loved them and I have been getting orders for them. Fantastic cupcake recipe!! Thank you

  • SassaGirl

    How did you make the light coloured toffee bits? Mine turned out tasty but quite dark. Or, are these an ingredient which are available for purchase in the United States? (I live in England). Thank you so much for your lovely site! I made these cupcakes and they were well loved by everyone who tried them!

  • Anonymous

    I just purchased them, didn’t make them myself. Some toffee bits are chocolate covered and some are not (at least here in the States). I’m sure you could make the toffee, though I’m not sure I’d go to the trouble just for this. Glad you enjoyed them!

  • Nick Furlong

    I was just going to try and explain why my Swiss butter cream was not coming together after 15 min of whipping; took it out of mixer and put in air tight container in refrigerator; read your faq and you said it could take upward to 30 min to come together, promptly unpacked and started whipping again and presto 2 min later I had perfect frosting :) yipee

  • Anonymous


  • Kristen

    I made these cupcakes for a coworker for her birthday and they were amazing! Such a huge hit! Your recipes are my absolute favorite!

  • Did you use regular or dutch process cocoa in the cake batter? I know many of your recipes uses the dutch process (nothing wrong with that- since it is so awesome!). Thanks!

  • annieseats

    If it doesn’t indicate Dutch-process, you can just assume natural unsweetened. Enjoy!

  • Thank you so much! I will be making these for Easter… I can’t wait! They have been on my list of cupcakes to try for too long… :-)

  • Carolyn

    Is it really necessary to the frosting recipe to use 4 sticks of butter? Could I reduce the amount and still yield the same results? Why so much butter?

  • annieseats

    It is buttercream, and this recipe uses 4 sticks.

  • Funyboy2796

    If I use a hand mixture for the frosting will i still get the same resluts or tell me what i can do different

  • Ashley

    These were a huge hit at work! I send your website to my coworkers on their birthday to pick a cupcake. These were declared the fave so far…but they say that everytime! It was my first time making swiss buttercream and it came together perfectly and was so fluffy but stable at the same time…LOVED IT!

  • Khamajevargas334

    I <3 THEM!

  • Heewonkang

    When I bit into these cupcakes, I thought I was tasting a sumptuous hotel dessert!

  • Love the fact that it incorporates coffee!

  • caeley

    i baked these last weekend and they turned out amazinngggg…the only kind of weird thing was the frosting. because of all the butter in it, it tastes a little strange (like pure butter) for the first few seconds in your mouth, but after that it tastes incredible. so don’t be fooled by the frosting, it tastes reallyyy good eventually!

  • Colie

    Have you every tried baking it as a cake?!??

  • annieseats

    No, but you certainly could. See the FAQ page for more info.