Preheat oven to 350º F. Line muffin pan with 15 regular size liner cups.
Using a stand or hand mixer, beat together cake mix and ½-cup softened butter on medium until just combined. Add milk and eggs. Slowly mix to combined, then beat on medium-high for 3–4 minutes until batter thickens.
Fill each liner with batter about 1/3 full. Add about 2-teaspoons caramel sauce in center of each; then fill just under 2/3 full with remaining batter (cupcakes will rise). Bake for 19–23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
Meanwhile to make buttercream frosting: Using a mixer, beat together frosting mix and remaining ½-cup butter in a large bowl. Slowly beat in water and almond extract until combined. Use more or less water to reach desired thickness.
Pipe or spread buttercream on top of cooled cupcakes. Drizzle with extra caramel sauce. Top with toasted almonds (see cooking tips above) and sprinkle with sea salt. Store covered in fridge. Let sit at room temperature for 15–20 minutes before serving.