Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes.
In a separate bowl stir the milk and vanilla together.
With the mixer speed on low, add one-third of the flour mixture, followed by half of the milk mixture, beating after each addition. Repeat this step. End with a final addition of the flour mixture. Beat the batter for 1 minute on medium speed, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Fill the muffin cups two-thirds full with batter. Bake for 20 minutes or until the centers are set and toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean (my cupcakes baked in about 16 minutes).
Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter on medium speed until smooth. Turn the speed to low and add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk, mixing until combined. Turn the speed back up to medium and mix until smooth and creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Add the pretzel crumbs and mix until incorporated and smooth.
Frost the cooled cupcakes using an offset spatula and drizzle each with prepared caramel sauce (you’ll need about 1/2 cup for all the cupcakes) and top each cupcake with a pretzel twist (24 twists).
Be sure to pulverize the pretzels well. The finer they are the easier they’ll pass through a piping bag, if using. I recommend using a food processor.
Keyword american buttercream, egg-free cake, pretzel frosting