Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 muffin tins with 24 cupcake liners.
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.
Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating to combine after each addition.
Add vanilla, sour cream and almond extract, beating until just combined.
Reduced the mixer speed to low and stir in the flour in several additions. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir the last bit of flour in with a spatula until just combined. Do not over mix.
Scoop batter into cupcake liners and bake in preheated oven for 14-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few clinging crumbs.
Allow to cool completely before icing.
For the Frosting:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until combined, then add cream and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Slowly pour caramel into frosting and beat until combined. Taste as you go! Pipe or spread onto your cooled cupcakes.
For the Nests:
My nests were not edible because the caramel was burnt, but I actually quite liked the color contrast.
Create hollow balls of aluminum foil, gathered at one end to form a “handle”. Place a wire cooling rack over a sheet of aluminum foil. Spray balls liberally with cooking spray.
Combine 2 cups sugar and ½ cup water in a large, heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium-high heat, stirring or whisking until sugar dissolves. Cook to a hard crack (310°F) over medium-high heat, swirling the pot occasionally then place pot in a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.
Drizzle caramel over aluminum foil balls. Place the balls on the rack using the “handle” to cool. Gently crush aluminum foil and pull out.
Notes: Cupcake recipe adapted from Layers of Happiness
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