1Heat oven to 350°F. Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups. Make and bake cake mix as directed on box for cupcakes, using water, oil and eggs and adding vanilla bean paste. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling racks. Cool completely.
2Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray; line cookie sheet with cooking parchment paper. Spray parchment paper with cooking spray. In 2-quart saucepan, cook sugar and water over medium heat, without stirring, to 325°F on candy thermometer or until small amount of mixture dropped into cup of very cold water separates into hard, brittle threads, swirling pan occasionally. (Watch carefully so mixture does not burn.) Immediately remove from heat. Pour mixture onto lined cookie sheet, spreading in thin layer. Cool completely. Break into shards.
3Scoop out small cavity in center of each cupcake. Spoon pudding into large resealable food-storage plastic bag. Cut off 1 corner of bag; squeeze bag to pipe pudding into center of each cupcake, filling full.
4Spoon frosting into decorating bag fitted with #1G star tip. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes. Garnish with sugar shards.