Caramel Corn Cupcakes

I am an awful worrier.

Worrying is, not surprisingly, pretty dominant in my personality. I worry all the time.

Worries like, will I make friends at my new sandwich-making job? Will I remember the sandwiches? Will I, mid-sandwich creation, stop and eat the person’s sandwich because the fact that I’m handling fresh baked bread, juicy pastrami and ample pickles make me go completely psychotic and savagely hungry? (Probably)

Worries like, did I ace this midterm on analyzing passages from American Literature like I think I’ll pass it? Did I really make that essay on Thomas Paine “my bitch”, as I so lovingly thought so? Did I truly bomb my math quiz, or did those dammit, I have no freaking idea, nor do I freaking care what the hell the slope of this line is, so eff it, I’m putting C work in my favor? (Probably not)

Worries like, if I watch too much of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, does that make me a voyeur, living vicariously through rich women, or a stupid bitch? (I’m obviously being unbiased when I say it means voyeur). Like, is it wrong to overly judge someone or something when I know nothing about it, even though my mom judges people all the time? (Mom’s always right, right?) Like, do I look like a legitimate street-walker if I wear tights with shorts and boots, or would Urban Outfitters call me “chic” and “edgy.” (Jury’s out)

Obviously, some of these worries are warranted (grades, work, street-walker?) and some are stupid (it’s totally okay to judge people; IDGAF about what people say ’cause I freaking love those rich bitches) but they’re still worries nonetheless.

And I definitely don’t need wrinkles at twenty.

So, because of my worries, I baked you cupcakes.

I know I’ve been MIA for the past few days (I’m sorry! I hope you weren’t worried. Okay, I kind of hope you did worry ’cause that would mean you actually read this and care). But with midterms, new jobs, boyfriend, family, and contemplating non-hookerish outfits I’ve been super ridiculously busy. And I don’t really like it because it makes me worry.

Vicious cycles=no bueno.

And I thought, what better way to cure my worries away by baking cupcakes? Caramel Corn Cupcakes, no less.

For some weird reason, the universe totally hated me yesterday and made my cupcakes flat and saucer-like on the tops, but I’m positive I was just on Mother Nature’s shit list for Tuesday, October 11, 2011 and this was a fluke. Either way, they are SO delicious and you must make them because that will make me happy and happy does NOT equal worry. See? I’m like a therapist. With cookies.

Caramel Corn Cupcakes

1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup caramel flavored syrup (think coffee syrup, not sundae syrup) plus 1/4 cup water
1 stick (1/2 cup) melted butter
3 eggs
1/2 small pkg vanilla instant pudding mix
Brown food coloring
2 tsp kosher salt/sea salt
Caramel Frosting (ingredients and recipe follow)

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin pans with 24 paper liners; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, beat together cake mix, caramel syrup, water, melted butter and the 3 eggs until blended, about 2 minutes. Blend in the pudding mixture until combined. If desired, gradually add brown food coloring until a nice, caramel shade is achieved. Portion batter evenly into paper liners, and lightly sprinkle with salt. Bake, approx. 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.

Caramel Frosting *Cookbook Queen’s recipe!

2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 cup caramel syrup (again, not the sundae stuff)
About 5-6 cups powdered sugar
Brown food coloring
1 tsp kosher salt
Caramel popcorn for garnish

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together softened butter and caramel syrup until creamy and blended, about 2 minutes. Gradually add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until your frosting reaches a stiff but spreadable consistency, adding more powdered sugar to stiffen if necessary. Tint your frosting a nice light brown color, if desired.
2. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes and sprinkle very lightly with sea salt and top with a few clusters of caramel popcorn… if you still have any after sampling some, of course.

Even though I had a craptastical day, I made these to cheer myself up–and it worked! I guarantee it’ll work on you, too. I mean, when you let sweet and salty do any job, it’ll definitely bring your life magic and unicorns and sparky, wonderful things.


(PS! I should have a new video coming very, very soon! What with scheduling conflicts between both me and my sexy cameraman, it’s been complicated–but no worries, a new treat will be on the way! Thanks for your support and patience!)

(PPS–I found this AWESOME new popcorn at my local Walmart–Popcorn Indiana. I used the caramel corn (so good, and only 110 calories!) on these cupcakes, but the cinnamon sugar kind is TO DIE FOR. Just sayin’!)

xo, Hayley

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