1 box devil’s food cake mix
1 package of Jello instant chocolate pudding
1 cup sour cream (I used light)
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk (I used low fat with no problem)
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
SALTED CARAMEL BUTTERCREAM FROSTING:
20 caramel candies, unwrapped
4 TBSP heavy cream (plus another 1-2 TBSP, if needed, to get the right consistency for piping)
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
4 cups powdered sugar, divided
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and line muffin tins with baking cups. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, mix together cake mix, instant pudding, sour cream, vegetable oil, eggs, milk, and vanilla.
Mix well. Then, gently stir in the chocolate chips with a spatula.
Equally divide the batter into the baking cups, filling 2/3 of the way full. I use an ice cream scoop for this step – it’s the PERFECT amount and yields pretty rounded cupcakes.
Bake for 18-22 minutes (mine took 20-21 minutes), let cool for 5 minutes in pan, then remove and place them on wire cooling racks to cool completely.
In the meantime, make your buttercream by first melting the caramel candies and heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally so the cream doesn’t boil. This step takes a few minutes.
Once the caramel is all melted, stir in 1/2 tsp. of salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add in the remaining 1 tsp of salt.
Gently add half of the powdered sugar to the butter and beat until light and fluffy. Then drizzle in the caramel while the mixer is on low. If the caramel has hardened so you can’t pour it easily, just heat it up so you can pour it into the mixer. Then add the remaining 2 cups of powdered sugar, and beat until combined. Add more cream if needed to get the desired consistency.
***Note: this salted caramel buttercream is just the bomb! It was all I could do not to put it in a bowl and have it for dinner! SO YUMMY!
Put the frosting in a piping bag fitted with a pastry tip of your choice. Pipe the frosting on top of the cooled cupcakes.
***Note: my good friend Sheila came over to give me a tutorial on piping frosting – who knew it was SO EASY! THANK YOU SHEILA!!!! My life has changed for the better!
Store cupcakes in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
I found this awesome cupcake holder on Amazon last year – easily stores 24 cupcakes so they stay fresh and intact on the journey to my husband’s office.