Rolo Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting


SO you know how from time to time you catch sight of a magazine on the racks that calls TOSCakeSIPyour name? I know, like every single issue of Taste of the South, right? (Which I coincidentally write for).

Well right now, RIGHT NOW there is a special issue of Taste of the South on newsstands, but you gotta go grab it quick, called SOUTHERN CAKES, Classic Cakes for Every Occasion – and boy is it a doozie! This is one of those magazines you’ll find yourself thumbing through fifty years from now.

As with all Taste of the South publications, there are recipes for every level of cook, but they’re all simply written so that even beginners can have success with each one. Today I want to share with you one that jumped out at me and after I tasted it, it’s one that I’ll be making for the grandkids someday.

Rolo Cupcakes With Brown Butter Frosting

Dark chocolate cupcakes, with a Rolo baked inside, topped with browned butter icing and toasted pecans…

Have you ever had browned butter icing? I hadn’t ever had it until I made it for these.

WOOOOWEEEE is that stuff good! It taste like butter that has been slightly turned into butterscotch, then with more butter added in and some sugar to top it off. 

Just on the off chance that description and this photo doesn’t get you revved up, let me show you one that my dear friends at Taste of the South Magazine gave me permission to use….

Rolo Cupcakes With Brown Butter Frosting

Hello! See that little puddle of caramel oozing out of the center of a dark chocolate cupcake topped with buttercream frosting and toasted pecans?


Exactly. So below is the recipe, please don’t trip over yourself getting to the grocery store. Remember, I know we’re all excited, but I need you to walk – don’t run – because when we all walk we all get there safely. My innner kindergarten teacher is talking here again. I’m afraid she’s just telling y’all to walk so she can get to the Rolo aisle first…

Because Inner Kindergarten teachers are sneaky like that…

Rolo Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting

You’ll need: Devil’s Food Cake Mix, Vegetable Oil, Vanilla, Eggs, Cupcake Papers, and Rolos. This is for the cupcake part.

Having a black lab mix squirrel hunting through a window is optional.

Rolo Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting

For the brown butter frosting you’re gonna need two sticks of unsalted butter and some confectioner’s sugar. 

If you only have salted butter, just go ahead and use it. The salt will be a delightful accompaniment to the sweet!

Rolo Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting

 Place your cake mix, eggs, vanilla, and oil in a mixing bowl. 

I have three eggs in here but one is hiding. Sometimes we just have to trust the unseen…

Rolo Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting

Put papers in muffin tin.

For fun, go get a piece of paper and write “TO DO LIST” at the top. Add this step as the number one thing, then cross it off.

~exhale~ See? Life is terribly easy if you know how to properly make a to do list. Make sure you leave off things like “create world peace” or “figure out who is abducting the missing socks”.

Goals like that only complicate things. 

Rolo Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting

Divide your batter among the paper lined muffin cups.

Umm, you’re gonna need two muffin pans for this. Did I mention that? No? Well I just did. :)

I’m all informative like that.

Rolo Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting

 Unwrap Rolos. Because biting down on gold foil paper is seldom fun for anyone…

If you haven’t had a Rolo lately, you should have one now because Rolos are the bum diggity in the world of chocolate.

Rolo Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting

My Katy Rose always wants to help out whenever I’m cooking so she stepped in to add the Rolos to the cupcakes.

Place one rolo in the center of each cupcake.

Rolo Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting

Then push it down a little with your finger.

Rolo Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting

Now the recipe says to make sure the Rolo’s are covered with cake batter so I got a butter knife and just kinda swished some batter over each one. It was easy and just took a few seconds.

Rolo Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting

Like this. Do that with all of them.

Rolo Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting

Bake your cupcakes at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

Okay, I admit, I thought this cook time was a little short, so I baked mine a few minutes longer and that caused the Rolo to melt a bit much, so please follow the actual instructions on this and read about the toothpick test for doneness in the recipe below – because they were right.

Take a weird angled photo so people think you’re into food photography and all that, even though you’ve never considered “enjoying your food” to be anything beyond eating it.

Let those cool about ten minutes in the muffin pan and then remove them (keep them in the liners though!) and let them cool completely.

Rolo Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting

Now it’s time for the magic to happen! I know, I know, putting a rolo in a cupcake qualifies as pretty magical already to me, but this is even better!

Place a stick of butter in a small skillet over medium heat.

Rolo Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting

It’s gonna melt. (Just call me Captain Obvious)

Stir it every now and then and let it cook until it is browned, about ten minutes.

Rolo Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting

It’ll look like this and there will be browned bits in the bottom of it. It’s all good!

Rolo Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting

Pour that into a cup or bowl or whatever you grab first that is heat proof and refrigerate it for thirty minutes.

Rolo Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting

Take your deliciously browned butter and put it in a bowl with your other 1/2 cup of softened butter.

Rolo Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting

Add your confectioner’s sugar.

Rolo Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting

Beat the living mess out of it, scraping down sides as needed, until it is all smoothified. New word just for you. Try to work it into your vocabulary today so you can impress folks – I challenge you to use it in regards to yourself.

“Son, did you see how smoothified your Mama was in the kitchen today?”

“Baby, did you hear how smoothified my singing was in the car on the way home?”

Etc. Knock yourself out.

Southern Plate, it’s so much more than recipes. It’s cutting edge grammatical challenges! 

Rolo Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting

Okay, about the toasted pecans… I had every intention of skipping this step. I mean there is no law that says you have to follow every recipe to the letter, you know? But after I made the frosting, it got the better of me so I dipped a pecan half into it and had a taste.


So I got a good cup or so of pecan pieces, scattered them on a baking sheet, and placed them in the oven at 350 for about 5 minutes or so, until lightly toasted.

Rolo Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting

Ice the cupcakes with your delicious brown butter frosting and top with a few pieces of toasted pecans.

Then get ready for a cupcake unlike any you’ve ever had before!

You wanna see that other pic again? Sure ya do!

Caramel Surprise Chocolate Cupcakes with Browned Butter Frosting
  • 1 Package Devil's Food Cake Mix, such as Duncan Hines
  • 1+1/3 cups water
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 24 chocolate covered caramel filled candies, such as Rolo
Brown Butter Icing Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened and divided
  • 6 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1 cup finely chopped toasted pecans, optional (instructions for this are in this post)
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, water, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Beat at low speed with an electric mixer until moistened, approximately 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes, scraping down sides as needed.
  3. Divide mixture among prepared muffin cups. Press 1 candy into batter of each cupcake, letting batter cover candy.
  4. Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean, 15-20 minutes (be careful to avoid caramel at center). Let cupcakes cool in pans for ten minutes before removing from pans and allowing to cool completely.
For frosting
  1. In medium saucepan, melt ½ cup butter over medium heat. Cook until butter turns brown,approximately ten minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool. Refrigerate for thirty minutes.
  2. In large bowl, combine brown butter and remaining ½ cup butter. Beat at high speed with an electric mixer until smooth, about a minute. Add confectioner's sugar, and beat until smooth and creamy, scraping down sides as needed, approximately five minutes. Ice cupcakes and top with toasted pecans.
Recipe courtesy of Taste of the South and excerpted from Southern Cakes Special Issue. Original recipe entitled "Caramel Surprise Cupcakes"

Recipe printed with permission from Taste of the South Magazine.


Look for this magazine on newsstands now (hurry and get it while it lasts!) or skip the crowds and order it online at the Hoffman Media Store by clicking here

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

~ Desmond Tutu

Submitted by Jenny. Click here to submit your own.


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  1. Georgi says

    The brown butter icing is also really good on “homemade” donuts, fried from “Whomp-Um”Biscuits!!!! It is heavenly!
    These cupcakes look heavenly! I may make them for my own birthday in a couple of days!!!:)

  2. Sandra says

    Ooo, I wanted to comment just because I’m the first to comment =)

    My sweet honey brown (aka husband) loves a gooey dessert. His candy of choices is snickers, but I am sure he’ll adjust.

    I love your posts, and your southern cooking, and your cute kitchen decor!!! I cook your recipes even though I am dealing with Gestational Diabetes. All of my cravings are for the country cooking I was used to in Dinwiddie County, so the site helps me a lot.

  3. Pam says

    I’ve got to go and get that magazine now. Those look so delicious! Thanks for the grammaticalness of the smoothified blog today. I was also wondering if a chocolate lab mix laying on the couch would work. :-)

  4. Julie Quinn says

    YUM! It’s teacher appreciation week and Friday is treat day. I had bought Milky Ways to do something cheesey with, but I think I will have to put forth the effort to make these. It is sure to be a hit.

  5. Dianne says

    I’ll just bet that a favorite candy bar cut up into Rollo piece sizes would provide some nifty flavor choices. I’d have to think about which ones would go well and I thought immediately of Payday. I then thought of Reese’s. Wow, I’m on a roll! These would be great for an office celebration.

  6. Linda Kay says

    I’m fairly new and never posted before, but figured it was about time to say howdy and let you know how much I’m enjoying this site. My sweet aunt-in-law used to forward me some of the recipes and I just decided to sign up and get my own :)! So glad I did because I had no idea I’ve been missing out on so many great recipes and so much Southern Sweetness. Hubby says to thank you, too — he’s enjoying all this yumminess!

  7. Auntiepatch says

    Oh, Christy, how you make me laugh! I’ve never heard “SWEET BABY MULE PULLING A STEAMBOAT THAT WAS GOOD!” I had hot tea coming out my nose! I can always count on you for a few chuckles! Keep up the good work!

  8. Lo says

    Your Recipes Christy all look so so good but being a diabetic I have to just look but dont dare bake some of them cause I know I would be so tempted to eat them. I enjoy your site just the same and tried many of the recipes and enjoyed them all using control in a lot of them but this one no way all that goodies would get the best of me. Have a great day.

  9. Ranee says

    Loving the thought of candy stuffed cupcakes! Can it get any sweeter?? I think not! Thanks, Christy!
    Quick question: What are your thoughts on beating the eggs just a smidgen to mix them up before adding them to the cake mix? I’ve starting doing this so that I know they are mixed and scattered throughout the whole batter.

  10. Becky says

    Oh my. I’m gonna have to make these. More importantly, I’m gonna have to work “smoothified”, AND “sweet baby mule pulling a steamboat” into my supper table conversation tonight! You’re the best, Christy!

  11. Darlene Epps says

    Oh my GOODNESS. Just when I think Christy that you cant outdo yourself there you come along and top. I just gotta make these. Im drooling over the picture. LOL

  12. Barb says

    Hi Christy! These sound incredible! I love “Taste of the South”…I may have to make a double batch of the icing to make sure there is enough to frost the cupcakes ’cause I know I will be dipping into it. Love the photo with your dog squirrel hunting-so cute!

  13. Terie says

    My co-worker’s daughter just completed culinary school and wanted the recipe to try. She brought them in this morning to work and they were wonderful. Her daughter was dissapointed because the Rolo dropped to the bottom of the cupcake and stuck to the cupcake paper when peeled away. She vows to try them again. Any suggestions?

    • Jenna J. says

      I made them for Mother’s Day and mine did the same thing :( There was no carmel really left inside either. They were still good though. I had a problem with the frosting too…I had to add milk to get it to come together….but it tasted delish!

    • Shirley says

      I saw a similar recipe that suggested you freeze the rolos for 2 hours before putting them in the batter. I usually just stick a Nilla wafer at the bottom of my cupcake to keep the rolo from falling all the way down.

  14. debbie from canada says

    Once again thx Christy :) for another awesome recipe. :) :) I must admit I am not a big fan of cake / cupcakes…my birthday cake is usually a pie of some kind. But I made these for Mother’s Day for my mom. Wow is all I can say. I hate to admit it but I am addicted. The cupcake is so light and airy and the frosting is to die for. I am in denial with my family on just how many I have actually eaten…shhhh don’t tell them. I keep blaming the dog…lol. Hopefully they don’t drag the dog off to the vet because it might have eaten chocolate…lol.

  15. Chicky says

    Goodness, Christy! You had to do this, didn’t you? LOL.
    I was looking to see if you had a recipe for a delicious dessert with a most inelegant name: dump cake. Easiest thing EVER!. Combine 2 cans of pie filling, flavor(s) of your choice — I’ve been known to put one kind on each end of the pan — and place them in a 13×9 baking pan. Drain a small can of crushed pineapple and layer it over the top. Then (and here’s the weirdness), DUMP an entire box of dry yellow cake mix over the top. Drizzle the mix with a stick of melted butter (margarine) and add half a cup of chopped pecans. Bake for about 35 minutes at 350. My uncles LOVE this.
    So super easy and delicious, it ain’t funny! And you can use all generic products and it won’t hurt the result a bit. It’s a major hit at picnics and church fellowship dinners!

  16. Carolyn Clark says

    I made the cupcakes and they looked great but unfortunately the rolos sunk to the bottom. They were just a hard chewy glob. What did I do wrong? The batter seemed extremely runny. Is there too much water added? Help! I think it’s a yummy looking recipe!

  17. Terri says

    I had the problem others have mentioned about the Rolo candies sinking to the bottom and sticking to the cupcake liners. No oozing caramel here. :( I followed the directions exactly…

  18. says

    Hey Gurls!

    I was reading about how some of you are having trouble with the Rolos sinking to the bottom. I have a suggestion: I have seen a lot of chefs on the TV rolling their blueberries in flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom. Why not try rolling the ROLOs in flour before putting them in the batter? It may help. While I have not tried this myself, I would love to hear what happened when you did.

  19. Ann says

    Hi Christy,
    I just wanted to say that I am a huge fan. I enjoy reading your blog and love the recipes. I have come across some southern recipes calling for whole buttermilk. I can not find whole buttermilk anywhere, just the lowfat version. When a recipe specifically says whole buttermilk, can I substitute it with lowfat or do you have any other suggestions since whole buttermilk is not available in my area? Thanks!

  20. Judy says

    Looks good but was so dissapointed! Frosting was great! I followed recipe to the letter and when done and cooled the rollo candy became a hard lump in the bottom of the cupcake. no ooey gooey caramel running out like the picuture and my imagination had envisioned. just a hard chew caramel inside a fairly good chocolate cupcake with yummy frosting.


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