For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line standard-size cupcake pans with 16 cupcake liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy milk, agave nectar, canola oil, cane sugar, vanilla extract and apple cider vinegar, and set aside. In a large bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powders, baking powder, baking soda and salt and whisk them together. Add your wet mixture to the dry and whisk until the mixture is evenly moist and only a few lumps remain. Set aside.
For the ganache: Whisk together the chocolate chunks, soy milk and agave nectar in a microwave-safe bowl. Place the bowl into a microwave and heat for 1-minute increments, whisking in-between, until the mixture is thick and smooth.
Take your cupcake batter and start to stream in about 1 cup of the chocolate ganache and gently fold it into the batter. Do not fully mix it into the batter, it should be swirled in.
Fill the liners three-quarters full and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool the cupcakes completely.
For the salted caramel sauce: In a nonstick saucepan, add the coconut milk fat. Add in the brown sugar, vanilla and salt, and whisk well. Bring the mixture to a boil on medium-high heat, whisking occasionally. Once the mixture starts to boil, reduce the heat to a low bowl and cook for 35 to 45 minutes, whisking every couple of minutes, until the sauce has reduced by half. The resulting mixture will be thick and golden. Allow the caramel to cool slightly and use immediately.
For the buttercream: Whip the shortening and margarine together in a mixer bowl with the paddle attachment until fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and put back onto the mixer on low-speed and slowly add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Once the mixture is fully incorporated, stream in 1 cup of the chocolate ganache. Once the ganache is added, you may turn the mixer to medium-high and whip until the buttercream is very fluffy.
To assemble: Poke a hole in the center of each cupcake using the end of a wooden spoon or small offset spatula. Fill the hole completely with salted caramel sauce. Using a round frosting tip, generously frost the top of each cupcake with the dark chocolate buttercream. Drizzle the top of each cupcake with more salted caramel sauce.
This recipe was created by a contestant during a cooking competition. It has not been tested for home use.
Recipe courtesy of Amy Loch