Red Hot Cinnamon Cupcakes

They say, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Eh, I don’t agree.

My whole life I’ve had a problem with people trying to “imitate” me. I know, it sounds totally narrow-minded and conceited: People are like, totally trying to be me! How annoying. I’m aware I sound kind of delusional, but hear me out.

I’ve always been the girl who was never afraid to be myself or speak my mind. I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drum (or iPod, you know, with modern times) and have done my own thing. This meant wearing costumes to school, dyeing my hair THE craziest colors, and always being myself and radiating this crazy personality of mine.

Yeah, I know you’re thinking, “there are about a million other girls just. like you.” But where I came from, we were a dime a dozen.

I know it’ll sound totally lame, but the crazy colored hair was my thing. Everyone knew it, too. Once every few months, I’d return to school with a new color or crazy combination of colors and everyone loved it. Even if people didn’t know me, they knew me as “that girl with the crazy hair.” Among other nicknames, I’m sure.

Though I don’t really want to know.

And whenever I’d see some shy little girl come to school with her head dyed pink, I’d feel kind of bad. Defensive almost. Yeah, I wasn’t the first girl to ever dye her hair crazy colors and no, I definitely wasn’t the only one at school with it. But at the same time, it was my thing. I actually got kind of mad. I know, I clearly had my priorities straight.

Regardless, people would tell me all the time that these girls were just trying to be like me and I should be flattered. “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” they’d say. But I never understood it until I got older (and until my priorities were a little less juvenile, of course). Now I totally understand that, there can be an original (or someone who thinks they’re the original), and wherever they are, there will always be other people who are inspired to imitate or recreate that same look or style. It doesn’t mean they’re unoriginal, it doesn’t mean they’re trying to be a complete stalker-copy-cat. It just means they like what they see, and by trying to be like you, they’re actually paying you a compliment.

Or something. I guess.

Kinda how I got the inspiration for this cupcake, actually. At the cupcake factory where I work, we released a Red Hot Cinnamon cupcake for the month of February. But because the cupcake factory’s cupcakes aren’t necessarily figure-friendly (and because I have a psychopathic love for all things spicy and cinnamon) I had to recreate it. Doesn’t mean I’m stealing their ideas. Doesn’t mean I’m unoriginal. Just means I can’t justify that many calories in a cupcake when I could test myself to make a healthier identical twin. So I did. And guess what? I bet when they find out, they’ll be flattered.

Red Hot Cinnamon Cupcakes

1 box white cake mix
3 egg whites
1 1/4 c water
1/3 c unsweetened applesauce
1 small box sugar free/fat free vanilla pudding mix
2 tsp cinnamon extract
3/4 c crushed and whole (mixed) pieces Red Hot candies, divided

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin pans with paper liners. In a large bowl, blend together cake mix, egg whites, water, applesauce, and cinnamon extract until well combined. Mix in the pudding mix until incorporated. Lastly, gently fold in 1/2 c of the candies until well-blended.
2. Evenly portion out batter into muffin cups and bake, approximately 17-19 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.

For Cinnamon Frosting

2 cans vanilla frosting
2 tsp cinnamon extract
Pink food coloring
Remaining 1/4 c crushed candies (pick out whole ones; they’ll clog your tip when piping)

1. Spoon out all the frosting into a medium-sized bowl. Add the cinnamon extract and pink food coloring and mix until desired shade is reached and the cinnamon extract is thoroughly combined. Gently stir in the candies until fully mixed. Spoon into your piping bag and pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

I garnished my cupcakes with adorable black heart sprinkles I got at Target last Valentine’s, but edible pink glitter or other heart-shaped sprinkles would look cute, too!

Lessons for today: Red hots in cupcakes rock, and, don’t be afraid to try new things and pick up inspiration wherever it may come from. Just give credit where credit is due, ’cause no one likes a faker or a thief.

Happy Saturday!

xo, Hayley

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