Preheat the oven to 180'C.
Sift the flour and the baking powder together.
Chop the pecan nuts.
Split the vanilla pod in half and scrape out the seeds. Cream together the sugar, butter and vanilla until white and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, making sure the mixture does not split. Gently fold the flour and the chopped nuts into the mixture until well incorporated.
Line a muffin tray with cupcake cases. Spoon or pipe the mixture into the cases. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes. Check the cupcakes are cooked using a skewer - if it comes out clean, the cakes are cooked through. Allow to cool thoroughly before topping with your preferred icing.
Make a light caramel with the sugar. Do not stir the sugar as it melts, simply roll it around in the saucepan.
Add half of the cream to the caramel and then whisk the butter and the salt into the caramel until all of the butter is incorporated. Stir in the rest of the cream and combine well.
Place the bowl with the caramel on top of a bowl of iced water and stir until the mixture is completely cool. It will thicken and become buttery as it cools.
Place the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a decorating nozzle and pipe onto your cupcakes.
«Instead of normal salt you can use smoked salt for the caramel. You can also substitute the pecans for any nut of your choice. »