Preheat your oven to 180C / 350F (160C fan) and line your muffin tins with paper cases
In a bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix well to combine.
In a separate bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the melted butter and both sugars until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl each time and beating well after each. Add the vanilla and beat to combine.
Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture. Stir through gently until just combined. Now add half of the buttermilk, Mix gently again. Continue like this until all the flour and buttermilk is combined… just. It is important not to overmix or be too heavy handed otherwise your cupcakes will turn out dense and tough.
Fill the cupcake cases only to about half full. Bake in the oven for around 18-20 minutes, turning the pan around in the oven half way through to make sure they bake evenly. When a skewer inserted comes out with just a crumb or two, they are done.
Cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack
For the Salted Caramel
Place the unwrapped caramels and cream in a saucepan over low heat. Heat, stirring until the caramels melt and the mixture is smooth. Add the salt and stir through. Allow to cool before using.
For the Salted Caramel Buttercream
Beat the butter and sugar together until lightened and fluffy (4-5 minutes). Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Add 1/2 cup of the (cooled) salted caramel and beat well to combine.
With the mixer on low, add the icing sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until fully incorporated. Beat on medium-high for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl from time to time.
Finally, add the vanilla, cream and salt and beat to combine.
Cut a hole in the top of each cupcake with a very sharp knife. Fill each hole with about 1 teaspoon of salted caramel. If you want to, you can top the hole with a little bit of the cake offcuts but this is optional.
Pipe the tops of the cupcakes with the buttercream
Drizzle with some salted caramel and melted chocolate.
I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (4 teaspooons worldwide)
For best results you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen Scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
TOOLS USED IN THIS RECIPE
I use these silicone muffin trays for all my cupcakes
A medium ice cream scoop is very handy for portioning out the batter
These Wilton squeeze bottles are perfect for storing and pouring the caramel sauce
Either a stand mixer or handheld beater will work great
A cupcake corer is great for cutting a hole in the middle but a sharp knife works too