Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 12 to 18 cupcake cups with paper liners.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl mix the sugar and butter until creamy. Add the eggs, then milk, and vanilla. Add to flour mixture and beat well; Add boiling water and whisk until smooth. Divide the batter evenly among 12 to 18 lined cupcake cups
Bake for about 22 minutes, or until cupcakes spring back when pressed gently with your finger. Cool completely on a wire cooling rack.
Fondant: In a large bowl mix the shortening and corn syrup, adding the salt and then vanilla. Place a few drops of food coloring (your choice) and mix well before adding powdered sugar. (Sift sugar before adding if it seems very lumpy) Add sugar a little at a time until the dough is stiff. Place a little powdered sugar on a surface and knead until the fondant is smooth.
Roll fondant until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Cut circles with a 1-inch biscuit cutter and place on cupcakes. Decorate/garnish tops with candies.