Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes

2 c. flour
1/3 c. cocoa powder, unsweetened
3/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. butter, unsalted and at room temp.
1-1/3 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
2 eggs
3 oz. semi sweet chocolate melted and cooled-or whatever kind you like
1 c. milk, at room temp.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cupcake pans. Whisk first 4 ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. In a large mixer bowl, beat butter until creamy-about 2 minutes. Add sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down bowl occasionally. Beat in vanilla and add eggs 1 at a time beating after each addition. Beat in cooled chocolate. Beat in the flour mixture in 4 additions alternating with the milk. Begin and end with flour, beat briefly until smooth on low-medium. Fill the cupcake pans 3/4 of the way full. Bake 22 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool on rack for 10 minutes-then remove and cool completely.

Caramel Frosting
1/2 c. butter
1 c. packed brown sugar
3/4 c. milk, divided
3 c. powdered sugar-extra as needed

In a 2 quart sauce pan melt butter over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar-heat to boiling, stirring constantly-reduce heat to low and boil and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 c. milk. Heat to boiling, remove from heat. Cool to lukewarm, about 30 minutes. Pour caramel into a large mixing bowl and gradually add in powdered sugar and milk. Beat with an electric hand mixer on low about 6 minutes until light and fluffy. If it s too stiff add a bit more milk or if its too wet add extra powdered sugar. Store in the frig for 15 minutes before frosting to help firm up.