Indulge in the heavenly taste of Samoa Cupcakes, where rich, dense chocolate cake meets luxurious caramel and coconut. Inspired by the classic Girl Scout cookies, which happens to be my favorite Girl Scout Cookie. These cupcakes are an exquisite blend of sweet, salty, and chocolatey flavors, topped with a velvety caramel frosting and gooey caramel-covered coconut. Each bite is a decadent journey through layers of satisfying textures and rich tastes, making them a perfect treat for any occasion.

Some other Girl Scouts inspired flavors are my Peppermint Brownie, similar to the classic Thin Mints. These recipes allow Girl Scout cookie time to be created in your kitchen year-round.

Freshly made Chocolate Samoa Cupcakes

The Chemistry of Chocolate Samoa Cupcakes

The rich texture of these cupcakes starts with the emulsification of fats and liquids in the batter, where ingredients like eggs, buttermilk, and vegetable oil create a smooth, unified mixture. This yields moist chocolate cupcakes every time. The caramel sauce combines the culinary techniques of caramelization and Maillard reactions, where sugars break down under heat to form complex flavors and a deep golden color. Adding butter and cream then halts the caramelization, resulting in a rich, smooth sauce. The coconut adds texture and absorbs the caramel, making each bite an explosion of flavors.

What is in chocolate Samoa cupcakes?

All-purpose Flour

Builds structure as it absorbs liquids and expands. All-purpose flour falls in the middle of bread flour (high in gluten) and cake flour (low in gluten). It’s exactly what it is named, all-purpose, the most universal flour that can be used in most baked goods.

Granulated Sugar

Adds sweetness, provides a caramelized flavor and crisp texture. Sugar assists with rising when creamed with butter. It helps add moisture to your treat and helps it evenly spread as it melts into a liquid in the heat of the oven. Sugar also helps with naturally preserving your baked treat.

Cocoa Powder

Provides a rich, sweet chocolate flavor. Creates a dark brown color in your treat. Absorbs water in your batter or dough at the same rate as flour. That means, if you add too much, you could end up with a dried, crumbly finished product.

Baking Powder

Puffs up your batter or dough instead of spreading it out. Baking powder contains a little bit of baking soda, an acid & cornstarch. Because of this, it only needs a liquid to react. It also consists of two different acids, so it’s double reacting. It reacts as soon as it’s mixed with a moisture and then again when it’s heated up.

Baking Soda

Elevates the pH level of your batter or dough. It increases the spread in your treat and encourages browning, which gives the crispy outside and soft inside texture that everyone loves. Baking soda needs both an acid and a liquid to react. Things that will activate your baking soda are: vinegar, fruit juice, molasses, brown sugar, tartar, buttermilk and sour cream. Baking soda only reacts once, which is right when it’s mixed into your batter or dough. The soda creates little air bubbles all throughout your treat. When the air bubbles get heated up in the oven, they expand.

Fine Sea Salt

Enhances flavor, adds balance, masks any bitter flavors. Salt is the most powerful and oldest preservative. Always make sure to use fine sea salt so it melts down at the right speed in the heat of the oven. If you use larger granule salt, it will not melt down fully when baked and will leave salt crystals throughout your treat, making it crunch like you dropped it into sand.

Hot Water

The hot water blooms the cocoa powder making the flavor richer.

Vegetable Oil

100% fat, contains no water and has a higher melting point. This means it will not melt down in your oven, resulting in thicker cookies or brownies. It doesn’t help leaven your treat like butter can, so it can make your treat flatter and greasier.

Eggs

Adds both a protein (egg whites) and fat (egg yolks). The egg whites help with rising because, when foamed, little air pockets get trapped inside the egg white mixture. The water content in egg whites encourages steam while baking, which helps with gluten formation, resulting in nice and thick treats. Egg yolks have emulsifying properties that bring batters and doughs together and help them from collapsing. Unless otherwise specified, always use large eggs.

Buttermilk

Adds moisture and helps to tenderize the gluten, creating a soft crumb and tangy flavor. It also helps rise the pH level of your batter, increasing the rise from the baking powder.

Vanilla Extract

When using pure vanilla extract, as opposed to imitation flavoring, it will add the deep rich flavor that everybody wants in a treat.

Granulated Sugar

It melts down and caramelizes, making it the base of all caramel. Fun fact: sugar has no flavor unless it is caramelized.

Water

Adds moisture to the sugar to help prevent burning as it caramelizes.

Unsalted Butter

Stops caramelization and adds fat and flavor.

Heavy Cream/ Half & Half

Quickly cools down the caramel and adds fat, giving it a smooth texture.

Unsalted butter

Often the main ingredient of frosting, it adds structure to your buttercream. It also adds a smooth and velvety texture. Butter melts at body temperature, so it will make your frosting have a melt-in-your-mouth sensation.

Powdered Sugar

Is just finely ground granulated sugar. It will absorb moisture in your batter or dough. It dissolves easily, ensuring a smooth texture without grittiness. Because it is so fine, it can melt quickly in the oven and spread cookies out more. Powdered sugar also stabilizes and thickens the frosting, thanks to the small amount of cornstarch it contains.

Coconut

Adds texture and tropical flavor, soaked in caramel for extra decadence.

Freshly made Chocolate Samoa Cupcakes

How do you make chocolate Samoa cupcakes?

Cupcakes

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees
  2. In a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, combine all the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. (Note: you can also use a handheld electric mixer instead of a stand mixer.)
  3. Turn the mixer on low speed and pour the hot water and vegetable oil in. Turn off the mixer after you have poured both in.
  4. Add the eggs and stir until just combined.
  5. Turn the mixer on low again and pour the buttermilk in. Add the vanilla extract in after.
  6. Continue mixing on medium speed until the batter is smooth.
  7. Pour the cupcake batter evenly into 20 large cupcake molds lined with cupcake liners
  8. Bake for 20 minutes.
  9. Remove the cake and allow to cool in the cupcake tins. Once cooled, remove from the pan.

Homemade Caramel Sauce

  1. In a medium sauce pan add the sugar and water, turn the heat on to medium high heat and whisk until fully combined
  2. Continue whisking as the sugar caramelizes. It takes just under 10 minutes; the sugar will thicken as it cooks and sometimes clumps up, but don’t worry! Just be careful not to burn the sugar.
  3. When caramelized, you can tell because the sugar is golden brown or a deep amber color. Add 1 tablespoon of butter at a time as you whisk.
  4. Once the butter is all added, slowly pour half and half of the cream into the bowl while whisking. Be careful; the steam can burn you if you pour it too quickly.
  5. Now add the salt and vanilla. Stir until combined. Take off the heat; if you still feel a few sugar clumps in your mixture, pour the sauce through a sieve to catch them, leaving you with perfectly smooth caramel sauce.

Caramel Buttercream Frosting

  1. Add the butter, caramel, and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl or standing mixer. Mix until combined.
  2. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and whip for 2 minutes.

Gooey Coconut

  1. In a small bowl, combine the caramel sauce and coconut flakes and stir until all the coconut is covered. (Note: you can also use toasted coconut)

Assemble

  1. Take the cooled cupcakes and top each cupcake with a small spoonful of leftover caramel sauce.
  2. Spread the caramel frosting on each caramel topped cupcake
  3. Spoon on a scoop of gooey caramel on top of the cupcakes.
  4. Enjoy!
Freshly made Chocolate Samoa Cupcakes

Storage Tips

Keep cupcakes in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Frosted cupcakes are best consumed within a couple of days due to the moisture from the toppings.

Making Ahead

Prepare components separately. Cupcakes and caramel can be made ahead, but assemble them close to serving time to maintain texture and freshness.

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Why make chocolate Samoa cupcakes?

Indulge in decadence with delicious Samoa Cupcakes with caramel and coconut! This treat brings a gourmet twist to a beloved classic and will delight anyone who tries it. Now, it can be Girl Scout cookie season all year round.

Creating these Samoa cupcakes was like bringing a piece of tropical paradise into my kitchen. Inspired by the beloved Samoa cookies, I aimed to capture their essence in a cupcake form- combining the irresistible flavors of caramel, coconut, and chocolate. The process of perfecting the caramel sauce and balancing the sweet with the salty was a delightful challenge, resulting in what I believe are the perfect celebration cupcake recipe. Happy baking!

Freshly made Chocolate Samoa Cupcakes

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FAQs

The key to moist cupcakes is not over-mixing the batter once the flour is added, as over-mixing can develop the gluten too much and make the cupcakes tough. Additionally, ingredients like buttermilk and eggs add moisture and fat, which help keep the cupcakes tender.

Yes, you can bake the cupcakes a day in advance. Keep them covered at room temperature.

Keeping the heat consistent and whisking constantly as the sugar dissolves can help prevent crystallization. Adding an acid like lemon juice or cream of tartar can also break down sucrose into glucose and fructose, helping prevent crystals.

Store these cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days. If it’s warm or the cupcakes are unfrosted for longer, refrigerate them, but let them come to room temperature before serving for the best flavor and texture.

Samoa Cupcakes

Author: Madison Reid
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Assemble: 30 minutes
Servings: 20
Rich, dense, and moist double chocolate cake topped with homemade caramel sauce, caramel frosting, and gooey caramel-covered coconut.

Ingredients 

Cupcake

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Caramel Sauce

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 12 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt

Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup caramel sauce
  • 6 cups powdered sugar

Gooey Coconut

  • 1 1/2 cups caramel sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened coconut

Instructions

Cupcakes

  • Preheat your oven to 325 degrees
  • In a standing mixer, combine all the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Turn the mixer on low and pour the hot water and vegetable oil in. Turn off the mixer after you have poured both in.
  • Add the eggs and stir until just combined.
  • Turn the mixer on low again and pour the buttermilk in. Add the vanilla extract in after.
  • Continue mixing until the batter is smooth.
  • Pour the batter evenly into 20 large cupcake molds lined with cupcake liners
  • Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the cake and allow to cool in the pan. Once cooled, remove from the pan.

Caramel Sauce

  • In a medium sauce pan add the sugar and water, turn the heat on to medium-high and whisk until fully combined
  • Continue whisking as the sugar caramelizes. It takes just under 10 minutes; the sugar will thicken as it cooks and sometimes clumps up, but don't worry! Just be careful not to burn the sugar.
  • When caramelized, you can tell because the sugar is golden brown. Add 1 tablespoon of butter at a time as you whisk.
  • Once the butter is all added, slowly pour half and half of the cream into the bowl while whisking. Be careful; the steam can burn you if you pour it too quickly.
  • Now add the salt and vanilla. Stir until combined. Take off the heat; if you still feel a few sugar clumps in your mixture, pour the sauce through a sieve to catch them, leaving you with perfectly smooth caramel sauce.

Frosting

  • Add the butter, caramel, and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl or standing mixer. Mix until combined.
  • Turn the mixer up to medium-high and whip for 2 minutes.

Gooey Coconut

  • In a small bowl, combine the caramel sauce and coconut and stir until all the coconut is covered.

Assemble

  • Take the cooled cupcakes and top each with a small spoonful of leftover caramel sauce.
  • Spread the caramel frosting on each caramel topped cupcake
  • Spoon on a scoop of gooey caramel on top.
  • Enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 651kcal Carbohydrates: 100g Protein: 3g Fat: 29g Saturated Fat: 15g Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g Monounsaturated Fat: 7g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 69mg Sodium: 332mg Potassium: 123mg Fiber: 2g Sugar: 90g Vitamin A: 666IU Vitamin C: 0.2mg Calcium: 59mg Iron: 1mg

Have you tried this recipe?

I’d love to see it! Follow @_mrs.madi_ on Instagram and tag your photos with #mrsmadi.

Freshly made Chocolate Samoa Cupcakes