Mini Salted Caramel Cupcake Sundaes


Go Dairy Free - The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance and Casein-Free LivingWith some cute baking cups just begging to be used up, and quickly dwindling pints of creamy cashew milk ice cream longing for something special, I decided to create this fun and decadent recipe for caramel cupcake sundaes.

It begins with a quick and easy homemade dairy-free caramel, which makes its way into some half-size vegan cupcakes (gluten-free optional), topped with a rich scoop of non-dairy ice cream, drizzled with the remaining caramel, and sprinkled with coarse sea salt.

Mini Salted Caramel Cupcake Sundaes - sweet, decadent, pint-size caramel cupcakes topped with ice cream and dairy-free caramel sauce! (vegan, optionally gluten-free)

Heaven. Surprisingly simple and portion controlled, even this slow and methodical baker was able to make these caramel cupcake sundaes in no time at all. Plus, they can be served immediately, dairy-free ice cream scooped right on top, when using use stand alone baking cups. I chose some pretty paper designs, but reusable silicone baking cups will work, too.

In the name of recipe testing, I sampled these caramel cupcake sundaes with the whole range of cashew milk ice creams from So Delicious, but settled on the Creamy Cashew (pictured above) and Salted Caramel Cluster (pictured below) as my favorites. There really is something amazing about caramel and cashew together, but if you need nut-free, use coconut milk ice cream instead!

Mini Salted Caramel Cupcake Sundaes - sweet, decadent, pint-size caramel cupcakes topped with ice cream and dairy-free caramel sauce! (vegan, optionally gluten-free)

Special Diet Notes: Mini Salted Caramel Cupcake Sundaes

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, optionally gluten-free, optionally nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan / plant-based, and vegetarian. Just be sure to use the flour option that works best for you (see note in recipe) and select the ice cream that is safe for your dietary concerns. Note that I’ve made the base recipe nut-free – we like the caramel cupcake sundaes prepared with the cashew milk ice cream, but you can use a tree nut-free option, like coconut milk ice cream, if needed.

Mini Salted Caramel Cupcake Sundaes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
I use stand-alone baking cups (paper or silicone) to make these half-size cupcakes, which act as mini-bowls for making little sundaes! Note that the cupcakes aren't overly sweet, since the ice cream and caramel sauce really punch things up. If you want more of an independent cupcake, consider adding a touch more brown sugar or coconut sugar with the wet ingredients.
Serves: 10 mini sundaes
Dairy-Free Caramel
Caramel Cupcakes
  • ⅔ cup all-purpose, white-wheat or gluten-free flour blend of choice**
  • ⅜ teaspoon baking powder (reduce to ¼ teaspoon for higher altitude baking)***
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda (reduce to ⅛ teaspoon for higher altitude baking)***
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons dairy-free caramel (from recipe above)
  • ⅓ cup dairy-free milk beverage (I used So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk Beverage)
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed, rice bran or melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
To Serve
Dairy-Free Caramel
  1. Whisk the sugar, coconut milk, oil, and salt together in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat while whisking. Once it begins to bubble, let it simmer for about 2 minutes, no whisking required.
  2. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract. Let cool completely.
Caramel Cupcakes
  1. Preheat your oven to 325ºF.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a separate small bowl, whisk the caramel, milk beverage, oil, vanilla and vinegar. Add to the dry ingredients, and whisk until relatively smooth.
  4. Divide the batter between 10 stand-alone cupcake cups (about ⅓ full each) and place them on a baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 17 to 19 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely.
To Serve
  1. Top each half-sized cupcake with a scoop of dairy-free ice cream. Drizzle each with the leftover caramel and garnish with sea salt (for salted) or sprinkles.
*If using coconut sugar, I add about 4 drops alcohol-free stevia with the vanilla, just to brighten the flavor.
**Since the cakes are served right in their cups, you don't need to get overly hung up about using binders, such as xanthan gum, when making them gluten-free. I found that a simple blend of tapioca starch, rice flour and sorghum flour worked quite nicely.
***My high altitude recommendations were tested at about 5000 feet.

About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


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  4. I like the theme of your blog! 🙂 I’m going to look for cashew milk ice cream next time I buy ice cream – I haven’t heard of it before. Luv the little cute baking cups you used for these sundaes…nice idea as a serving bowl. 🙂

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