In a medium-sized bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about three minutes on high speed with an electric mixer.)
Beat in eggs.
Alternately add flour and sweetened condensed milk into the mixture in three additions each.
Mix in vanilla extract.
Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.
Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out dry.
Remove from cupcake tin and set on a cooling rack to cool.
Caramel Icing Instructions
In a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, mix butter, evaporated milk and two cups of sugar.
Heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Do not allow to come to a boil.
Once sugar dissolves, reduce heat to low.
In a small cast iron skillet on medium-low heat, melt the remaining half cup of sugar - stirring constantly until liquid and brown. (The sugar will crystallize about halfway through the process. Just keep stirring until it completely melts.)
Pour the browned sugar into the saucepan, increase heat to medium-low, and quickly stir to incorporate. (It will bubble and steam. This is totally normal.)
Insert a candy thermometer and stir regularly until the liquid reaches the soft ball stage, 235 F (113 C). (If you don’t have the recommended candy thermometer, you can test by dropping a small amount of caramel into water to see if it forms a soft ball.) It may take up to thirty minutes to reach the soft ball stage. Resist the temptation to turn up the heat because the caramel can easily burn.
Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
Wait ten to fifteen minutes for the caramel to cool before using.
When cupcakes are cool, use a paring knife to cut a chunk out of the center of each cupcake. Fill the holes completely with caramel. Immediately eat the holes that you removed (that will be our little secret). Use an offset spatula to spread icing right over the filled hole.(Alternatively, if you aren't filling the cupcakes, dip cooled cupcakes into warm caramel to cover with icing.)
Serve while the caramel is still hot and gooey or wait two to three hours until the caramel gets a nice crunchy top.
You can start making the icing while your cupcakes bake. Be sure to plan for about an hour of time on the icing.These cupcakes are not supposed to dome. Don't be upset when they turn out flat-topped. You didn't do anything wrong.I didn't leave off baking powder or baking soda in the cupcake ingredients. This recipe doesn't use them. The cupcakes are more dense and moist like a pudding cake rather than light and crumby like typical cupcakes.