You will need:
1 recipe dark chocolate cake batter yielding 24 cupcakes, prepared
8oz./225g FULL FAT cream cheese/soft cheese room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick/approx 115g)
4-5 cups icing sugar (until desired consistency)
1 tsp clear vanilla extract
Pre-made wrapped caramels (unwrapped) Estimate 1/2 Carmel per cupcake
Course-ground sea salt
1. Prepare cupcakes according to recipe instructions. Allow to cool.
2. Trim out very shallow circles from tops of cupcakes, remembering that large amounts of caramel will be overwhelming to chew!
3. Melt caramels with 1-2 Tbsps of milk (to soften caramel slightly)
4. Pour small amounts of caramel to create small disks on top of the cupcakes. Caramel will be a chewy contrast to the cake, so be sure that it is in a thin layer.
5. Sprinkle with sea salt while still warm.
If I'm honest, the cupcakes are awesome this way. However, for those who prefer their cupcakes frosted:
6.Prepare frosting by creaming butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer/whisk.
7. Beat in vanilla extract.
8. Mix in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until desired consistency.
9. Add frosting to pastry bag and frost circles around the caramel center.
Serve the same day for best taste/consistency!