Southern Caramel Cake Cupcakes

I must admit, I have always had a warm place in my heart for the South. Although I have never lived there (yet), I find something incredibly intriguing about it. The southern charm and hospitality have always gotten me. And their food, oh my!! It is out so good!
I remember reading the book, The Help a few years ago. In the book, it talks about one of the characters making the best caramel cake ever. I wanted to try that cake so badly! After that, I became obsessed with finding the perfect old fashioned caramel cake recipe. I decided to make an easier and faster version of this cake, in cupcake form. It has all the richness and buttery goodness of a true old fashion caramel cake, without all the time and effort. The frosting requires dulce de leche (available in the ethnic aisle of most supermarkets), but you can also boil a can (in the can) of sweetened condensed milk. I hope you enjoy this little taste of the South!

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, stir together
cake mix and instant pudding mix.
Add butter and beat until light and fluffy.
 Wisk eggs before adding to batter. (This will create an airy
texture) Mix for a couple minutes, until well incorporated.
 Scoop batter into lined muffin tins, filling them 2/3 full.
Bake for 16-22 minutes or until golden brown on edges,
and they spring back when pressed.
 Allow cupcakes to cool in the muffin pans for ten minutes, then
move them to a cooling rack.
 Meanwhile, prepare the frosting. Cream softened butter in the bowl of a stand
mixer, with the whisk attachment.
Add dulce de leche, and blend until smooth. Add vanilla.
 Add confectioner’s sugar one cup at a time, beating until incorporated.
Add heavy cream, and beat until light and fluffy. Makes sure it is soft enough to
 spread, but firm enough to keep from spreading.
 Place some of the icing into a piping bag, and press into each cupcake top,
and fill (optional) Spread remaining icing onto cooled cupcakes.