For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line standard cupcake pans with 18 cupcake liners.
Sift the sugar, flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Set the bowl aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, coffee, oil, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until just incorporated. Add vinegar and incorporate. Do not over mix the batter.
Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake until a toothpick inserted into each cupcake comes out clean, 19 minutes. Cool the cupcakes completely.
For the sauce: In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir together the sugar and water. Cover and bring to a boil. Let boil until the mixture starts to turn brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir with a whisk. Add the bourbon and salt and continue stirring. Once the bubbling stops, add the margarine and whisk until melted and distributed. Let cool completely and pour into a clean squirt bottle.
For the pecans: In a large bowl, toss the pecans with the melted margarine until all the pecans are coated. In a separate bowl, mix the cinnamon, sugar, and sea salt. Toss into the pecan mixture and coat evenly. Spread the pecans out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, making sure the pecans are not overlapping. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool completely.
For the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the shortening and margarine until completely combined. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to ensure that all ingredients are mixed thoroughly. On low speed, slowly add the sugar a little at a time. Once the sugar is incorporated, add the vanilla paste and bourbon and mix on low until the liquids are incorporated. Scrape the bottom of the bowl and mix on medium-high speed until all the ingredients are combined and the frosting is fluffy, about 2 minutes. Put the frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip.
To assemble: With a plastic drinking straw or a small paring knife, make holes in the center of each cupcake. Squeeze the bourbon caramel sauce into the center of the cupcake until filled but not overflowing, about 1 tablespoon per cupcake. Pipe a dollop of vanilla bean bourbon frosting onto of each cupcake. Drizzle the top with more bourbon caramel sauce and sprinkle with candied pecans to garnish.
This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional. It has not been tested for home use.
Recipe courtesy of Sticky Fingers Bakery, Cupcake Wars, 2010