Semi-sweet chocolate chips and extra chopped pecansif desired, for topping
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the dry cake mix, eggs, 1 stick of softened butter and milk.
Beat this on low to medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl, as needed.
Fill 24 cupcake liners 1/2 full with the cake batter.
Bake at 350 degrees for 7 minutes.
While the cupcakes are baking, melt the caramel bits, sweetened condensed milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir often until the caramel is soft and completely smooth.
Remove the cupcakes from the oven and put a spoonful of melted caramel on top of each cupcake half. Then fill the cupcake liners to the top with the remaining cake batter. Sprinkle the chocolate chips and pecans on top of each cupcake.
Bake for an additional 13-15 minutes, until the cupcakes are cooked through. You can use a toothpick to test them, but remember that there is gooey caramel in the middle that may come out on the toothpick. Just make sure there is no uncooked cake batter on the toothpick.
While the cupcakes are cooling, make the Chocolate Buttercream .
Once the cupcakes are cooled, use a cake decorating bag and Wilton tip 1M to make a swirl of frosting on top of your cupcake. Or, just use a knife to spread the frosting on top of the cupcakes.
If you have any remaining caramel, drizzle the caramel overtop the frosting swirls. (If the caramel has hardened, melt it in the microwave for 5-10 seconds until it is drizzling consistency.)
Immediately sprinkle a few chopped pecans on top of the caramel and place a chocolate chip on the top center.
Store in an airtight container.
Make this recipe quicker by using store-bought chocolate frosting, or just leave the frosting off of the cupcakes!