Phew, these babies are sweet and rich. If you like vanilla and caramel you will love these salted caramel keto cupcakes. I mean what’s not to like? A sweet vanilla cake, topped with whipped cream cheese frosting, and a big dollop of caramel? The only thing that could make this cupcake better is a hot cup of tea.
These caramel-topped keto vanilla cupcakes are made without grains or added refined sugars. They are:
- Low carb
Salted Caramel Sugar Free Vanilla Cupcakes
So a few things about this cupcake recipe.
You can make the cupcakes and caramel in advance. The cupcakes can be frozen for up to a month, and the caramel will last in the fridge for 3 weeks. The keto cream cheese frosting is made fresh.
The only thing I can say about storing the caramel in the fridge is the danger of eating a spoonful here and there or drizzling a dessert or two, and all of a sudden, there is no caramel left! Ask me how I know.
I like to sprinkle a bit of flakey salt over the top of the caramel, but that is optional since the caramel has a good dose of salt already in the recipe, but I like salty-sweet, so I add the additional few flakes of salt. Your call on that one.
What are the Best Sweeteners to use in this Keto Cupcake Recipe?
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The caramel has special requirements, so I listed out the best for each part of the recipe. It is up to you to decide what sweeteners you want to use, but understand different sweeteners create different textures, as well as different flavors.
For the Caramel Topping
The best sweetener for the caramel topping is allulose. Allulose creates a sticky, gooey, real caramel mouthfeel without the slightest bit of aftertaste or graininess. I have an entire post dedicated to the making of this caramel if you want to read more about it.
If you use erythritol or xylitol, you will create graininess, especially if these are stored in the fridge.
I found using a blend, like So Nourished monk fruit erythritol blend, worked better than 100% erythritol, but it still creates graininess (just less), and will still harden in the fridge. Stevia or any other liquid sweetener will not work in this part of the recipe.
For the Keto Vanilla Cupcakes & Cream Cheese Icing
Use your favorite 1:1 sugar substitute.
Powered sweetener is preferred over granular, as it blends better and has a nicer texture. Erythritol and xylitol also tend to get grainy when cold, but I found the powdered versions to do it much less.
If you don’t have powdered xylitol or erythritol and only have granular, give it a blast with a high-speed blender or food processor. My favorite powdered sweetener by far is So Nourished Monk Fruit Blend, I find it has almost no aftertaste at all.
Swerve and stevia will work perfectly fine here – or any powdered erythritol or xylitol brand.
Just remember, xylitol is poisonous to dogs and cats, so if that’s your choice and you have little furry friends running around, be aware that it can be deadly for them.
A Few Tips to Make Sure Your Keto Cupcakes Turn Out Great
- Make sure you use muffin liners in your muffin tins.
- Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients gently, and do not over mix.
- The batter will feel heavy, and not pourable. This is fine and is how the batter should be.
- Fill the muffin liners 3/4 of the way full.
- Don’t skip the xanthan gum, without gluten in the recipe we need something to bind everything together. Xanthan gum adds structure and stability to the cake batter.
- Don’t skip the apple cider vinegar. You can use regular vinegar or even lemon juice. We need an additional acid to help the leavening agents lift. Almond flour is heavy and requires a bit of help to get light and airy.
Read More: If you’re having a hard time finding xanthan gum, I made this handy list of xanthan gum substitutes you can try. Keep in mind that they might require some testing to get right in this specific recipe.
And for some handy Do’s and Don’ts for baking with almond flour, you can check out my guide to low carb baking with almond flour.
Fresh Baking Powder Works Best!
Because almond flour and coconut flour are so heavy, it’s very important that we get as much rise as possible into the cupcake batter as we bake it. Baking powder, like most ingredients, has a shelf life.
If you use old baking powder that has been sitting in the back of your cupboard since the last millennium, it’s probably not going to work very well, and you’re going to end up with almond flour hockey pucks.
WHIPPED CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
I call this frosting, but it is more like a stabilized whipped cream. It tastes like a cream cheese frosting, but without the heavy, cloyingly sweet taste of icing sugar. You can sweeten it to any level you like really, with whatever sweetener you like best. My version is semi-sweet and I feel that level of sweetness works perfectly with the caramel topping.
Here are some tips to make sure your whipped cream cheese frosting comes out perfect every time:
- In a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, whip cold cream cheese until it becomes spreadable.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl, to make sure all cream cheese bits are well blended.
- Add the heavy cream, vanilla, and sweetener to the bowl and mix on low until whip cream starts to blend with cream cheese.
- Turn the mixer up and whip the mixture until soft and fluffy.
- Use a piping bag with a jumbo star tip to pipe around the muffins and to create a reservoir for the caramel.
Salted Caramel Keto Cup Cake Assembly
Assembly is easy as pie and even if you are not great with a piping bag (I’m sloppy when I am in a hurry), they still turn out great.
- Once the keto vanilla cupcakes are completely cooled, use a melon baller or small spoon, and spoon out a small bit of the cupcake center.
- Fill the centers with 2 tsp of keto caramel.
- Use a piping bag fitted with a jumbo star tip and pipe around the outside rim of the cupcake, and add a small dollop of whipped cream frosting over the caramel as shown in the photo below.
- Add another 2 teaspoons of caramel onto the top of the cupcake.
- Sprinkle with flakey salt, like Maldon. (optional)
If you made the caramel with allulose as suggested these keto cupcakes will store perfectly in the fridge. If you used erythritol, storing the cupcakes in the fridge will make the caramel hard and grainy.
I like these keto cupcakes cold from the fridge, the sugar free frosting is much more cheesecake-like, and the caramel (if made with allulose) is thick and gooey.
You can keep these on the counter covered for up to 3 days, but the frosting suffers at room temperature and becomes quite soft, and the caramel is a bit runnier; but you know, they are still tasty as all get out.
You can also make the keto vanilla cupcakes and freeze them in advance. The caramel will also store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks, so you could make those pieces of the recipe in advance and only need to whip up the fresh frosting prior to serving.
This keto cupcake recipe is a great starting point for all kinds of different sugar free and gluten free cupcakes. With just a few changes, you could make sugar free birthday cupcakes. (in fact I’ve got a recipe ready to go for you down below!)
You could also add some sugar free chocolate chips for vanilla chocolate cupcakes, or even flavour the keto cupcakes with a flavour extract like maple or lemon, if you feel like getting creative.
And there are also a ton of options for the frosting! You could make some keto chocolate frosting, or get fancy with sugar free marshmallow and chocolate to make sugar free s’mores cupcakes (also linked below)!
In fact, here is a list of sugar free cupcakes and muffins that I have created using this keto vanilla cupcakes recipe as a starting point:
- Keto Cupcakes with S’Mores Topping
- Strawberry Infused Vanilla Keto Cupcakes (with Pink Vanilla Frosting)
- Keto Vanilla Cupcakes with Sugar Free Birthday Sprinkles
- Amazing Lemon Glazed Muffins
- Moist & Delicious Keto Carrot Muffins
- Pumpkin Muffins – Perfect Dessert For Fall!
- Triple dark Chocolate Muffins
Editorial Note: This recipe was originally published on September 5, 2019, and was updated on May 4, 2022.
Vanilla Cupcake Batter
- 3 cups almond flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 cup powdered erythritol monk fruit blend (or your favorite sweetener)
- 1/3 cup coconut flour
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp Xanthan gum
- 6 large eggs
- 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
Sugar Free Salted Caramel
- 1 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup allulose
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Keto Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1/4 cup powdered erythritol monk fruit blend (or your favorite sweetener)
- 1 cup heavy whipped cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Sugar Free Salted Caramel
- Add all ingredients to a high walled saucepan.
- Turn the heat on low and allow ingredients to melt. Stir to combine before caramel starts to simmer.
- Allow to simmer on low heat for 15-16 minutes, or until the caramel turns a light amber brown. Do not stir while ingredients are simmering.
- Working carefully, pour caramel into a heatproof jar.
- Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Vanilla Keto Cupcakes
- Preheat oven to 350F and prepare muffin tins with 16 cupcake liners.
- Add eggs to a mixing bowl and mix on high for 2 minutes.
- Melt the butter in the microwave, but do not overheat. We want the butter soft, but not too hot.
- Add vanilla extract, almond milk, melted butter, and apple cider vinegar to egg mixture and blend until well incorporated.
- Sift almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt, and 1 cup powdered erythritol in a large bowl.
- Gently add the egg mixture to the dry ingredient mixture. Do not over mix.
- Fill muffin liners with cupcake batter 3/4 full.
- Bake in a 350F oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
- Cool on a cooling rack
Keto Cream Cheese Frosting
- Cube one cup of cold full fat cream cheese and add it to the bowl of a stand mixer and blend for 1 minute, until the cream cheese has no lumps. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary.
- Add 1 tsp vanilla and powdered erythritol.
- Add 1 cup of full-fat whipping cream to the bowl and mix on low for 30 seconds, until blended with cream cheese. Turn up to medium and then high until the whipped cream and cream cheese fluff up and resemble buttercream frosting.
- Do not overbeat. Over beating will cause the mixture to liquefy.
Salted Caramel Cupcake Assembly
- When cupcakes are cool, use a melon baller or small spoon to scoop out a well in each cupcake.
- Spoon 2 tsp of salted caramel into each cupcake.
- With a piping bag with a jumbo star tip, pipe whipped cream frosting around the edge, and a cover the caramel with an extra dot of frosting.
- Spoon 2 more tsp of caramel into the center of the cupcake.
Allulose is the sweetener of choice for the caramel. It creates a sticky, rich caramel that will not crystallize or turn hard in a cold environment.
You can make and freeze the cupcakes (without caramel or whipped cream frosting) and store for up to a month.
The caramel will store well in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
Do not overbeat the cupcake batter, fold wet into dry until just incorporated.
The xanthan gum is used in this recipe as a replacement for gluten. Without the xanthan gum, the recipe lacks stability and structure.
Apple cider vinegar can be replaced with regular vinegar or even lemon juice. The recipe requires an acid to help the leavening agent.
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Powdered Monk Fruit Sweetener with Erythritol Confectioners (1 lb / 16 oz)
Anthony's Organic Coconut Flour
Bob's Red Mill Almond Flour
Anthony's Xanthan Gum
Cake Decorating Supplies Kit
Hoosier Hill Farm ALLULOSE Low Calorie, Zero Net Carb Keto Sugar, Natural Sugar Alternative, Made in the USA, Granular Powder, 2 lb bag, batch tested gluten free
Nutrition Information:Yield: 14 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 422Total Fat: 38gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 158mgSodium: 467mgCarbohydrates: 7gNet Carbohydrates: 04.6gFiber: 3.4gSugar: 3gSugar Alcohols: 12gProtein: 9g
Nutritional information for the recipe is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs (and sugar alcohols) are not included in carb counts as it has been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fibre.