CUPCAKES: 1. Preheat your oven to 350. 2. Prepare muffin tins either by greasing well or using paper liners. 3. In a saucepan, over medium heat, bring the 1 cup butter and beer to a simmer. 4. While the butter melts, stir together the flour, the 1 1/2 cup sugar, baking soda and salt. 5. Remove the butter mixture from the heat, and whisk in cocoa until smooth. Set aside to cool. 6. Beat the eggs and sour cream with an electric beater until smooth. Pour in the butter-beer-chocolate mixture, and mix by hand until just combined. 7. Slowly pour into the flour mixture and mix by hand until just combined. 8. Fill the cups 3/4 full of batter and bake for 12 minutes. FROSTING: For the caramel: 1. Combine the heavy cream and vanilla. Set aside and let come to room temperature. 2. Combine the 1/4 cup sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a low boil and cook, without stirring, until it turns a dark amber color, about 6-7 minutes. 3. Remove from the heat and immediately but slowly stir in the heavy cream & vanilla. The mixture will bubble up quite a bit, so do this slowly, stirring as you pour. Set aside until cool to the touch. For the frosting: 4. Beat the 3/4 cup butter and salt with an electric mixer, on medium speed, until light & fluffy. 5. Reduce the speed to low & add the powdered sugar. Beat until completely incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and pour in the caramel. 6. Beat again until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. 7. Chill frosting while cupcakes cool.
If you don't have time for this whole recipe there are several good short-cuts! Either skip the frosting and just powder them with a little powdered sugar, use store-bought caramel syrup, or skip the caramel entirely and just make plain butter cream frosting!