Just the word makes my tongue tingle. Forget chocolate *gasp* I’m a caramel girl. I love caramel on ice cream, on cookies, on a piece of toast (Who needs Nutella?), in frosting, in cake, even straight from the squeezy bottle. Heck! I should try it on cooked carrots (blech!) and I bet I’d be sold. Ok maybe that’s going too far b/c cooked carrots are just NARSTY with a capital N.
At first I was a little worried. By March 13th I only had 3 entries. Count it. 1-2-3!
Maybe other cupcake-ers aren’t as much of a caramel freak as me? The thought made me question the state of my mental capacity. Is it possible that ppl don’t like caramel? Naaahhhh… Thankfully you all are just procrastinators (this blogger included) and got your entries in by the seat of your pants!
Sheesh. Don’t scare me like that again!
Without further ado. LET’S ROCK THE VOTE! — > Poll on the side menu bar. Voting ends March 21st @ 11:59pm EST.
Good luck to all cup-testants!
Twix Cupcakes by flickr@BJ Momma
Snickers Cupcakes by Kimberly of Creative Opportunities
Caramel Cupcakes by Stephanie of Cupcakes and Sundry
Coconut Caramel Cupcakes by Suzy of Cuptin Creations
Caramel Frappucino Cupcakes by Kate of Grin And Bake It
Pot of Gold Cupcakes by Dorothy of Kitchen Koala
Caramel Strawberry Cupcakes by Sophie of The Lazy Cook
Delighted Caramel Cupcakes by Nancy of flickr@Nancy005
Devil’s Caramel Cupcakes by Emily of One Busy Girl
Samoa Cupcake by Paige of Starting All Over Again
Salted Caramel Cupcakes by Shannyn of Sugary Flower
Caramel Apple Cupcakes by Tequila Cupcake (Entry #1)
Mocha Caramel Cupcakes by Tequila Cupcake (Entry #2)
Salted Caramel Cashew Cupcakes by Lindsay of TuTu Cupcakes
But you won’t win on votes alone. That will be decided in my kitchen. May the best cupcakes throw down!
Oh baby! There are so many fabulous ingredient inspirations for March.
According to American Food Holidays, it’s National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day on March 1st, National Chocolate Caramel Day on March 19th, California Strawberry Day on March 21st, National Orange Day on March 31st, National Lemon Day on March 31st… just to name a few. How’s a Cupcake Hero Grand Master suppose to choose?
Take it to the people! My twitter peeps that is. I’m democratic like that.
It’s what us Grand Masters do when we can’t make a decision for ourselves. (Speaking of… is it really that necessary to comb my hair everyday? I mean. Come on. Really?)
Thank you for your tweets everyone!
The votes are in. The majority has spoken. Motion carried.
Your March ingredient is… CARAMEL! *drooooling*
You can pretty much do anything you want with caramel. You can make caramel from scratch. You can buy caramel candies and melt them down. You can use caramel ice cream topping. You can use it as a filling. You can make it into a frosting. You can use it as part of the cake recipe. Or all three!
world cupcake is but a canvas to our imaginations.” ~ Henry David Thoreau, slightly adapted by me
Deadline: March 15th @ 11:59pm EST
PS- Shout out to my twitter girl Tania (@lovebigbake) for making me giggle with her exuberant “MINT” tweet. You are a rockstar. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. I’m still kinda giggling over it. What can I say? I’m easily entertained. I blame the 2 day old leftover mini cupcakes from LA Cupcake Challenge that I’m not ashamed to say I ate for breakfast this morning.
PPS- February throw down will be announced as soon as my taste testers confirm who the challenger will be! All the sudden they are getting kinda pissy about not having a say in the “Baker’s choice” cupcake. I tell ya. Give people a title and they get all uppity! HA HA!
Tags: caramel, cheesecake, pumpkin
“I’m backkkkkkk…!!” says the cupcake logo to the left.
You guessed it! It’s Cupcake Hero time!
I am fresh off my recent cupcake hero win and feeling pretty darn cocky. I am allowed right? It’s a Cupcake Hero win for goodness sakes. I don’t think you understand the magnitude of the situation. It took me 9 tries, lots of bribes and a frillion lbs of butter. Don’t take my moment away from me!
::taking a moment to relish my CH victory::
Ok I am done now.
Before anyone starts doubting my squash selection, I just wanna go on the record and say that pumpkin is a type of squash. Did you know that? I didn’t. Apparently I am not up on my squash edumacation [sic]. But head CH baker, Laurie, confirmed that indeed pumpkin is a type of squash. Hmmm… let’s keep this new found squash knowledge to ourselves m’kay? I have a feeling that if more Cupcake Hero-ers find out, pumpkin will be the squash of choice. Personally I wasn’t feeling the Petite Pan Squash option myself. Sorry its true. Can you blame me? Its a green amoeba! That doesn’t scream cupcake to me. Just saying… HAHA.
Now I know that my entry will stir up a debate b/c I’ve already had a couple naysayers who I gave privy info about my Cupcake Hero entry argue that my entry doesn’t count. *cough NIKKI cough* but I kinda see it as my month of immunity since I won the last challenge you know? So I am doing something a little controversial and posing the question:
What makes a cupcake… a cupcake?
Check out my nifty WP poll below and vote. (I ♥ this new WP feature!)
Feel free to vote for multiple answers that apply.
You’ll see from the recipe below that I have 2 out of the 3 answers. I guess I’d say in order of cupcake importance: baked in a cupcake liner, frosting/topping and then texture. A non-cakey texture isn’t a cupcake deal breaker for me.
So have I convinced you…? Is my recipe a cupcake?
(If you aren’t Nikki, b/c I already know how she feels on the situation, just nod your head yes and agree. That’s a good little reader.)
Makes about 14 cupcakes
For the crust
1-1/2 cups finely ground gingersnap cookies (I used graham crackers)
1-1/2 cups toasted pecans, finely ground
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
[NOTES: I had alot of crust left over so next time I'll probably 1/2 the recipe.]
For the cheesecake
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground cloves
1 pinch ground nutmeg
For whipped cream
1-1/2 cups whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp granulated sugar
caramel ice cream topping, garnish
Preheat oven to 350F.
To make crust—
Combine gingersnap cookies, pecans and sugar in bowl; add melted butter and mix until combined.
Press crust mixture onto bottom of each cupcake liner, about 1 tbsp. Set aside.
To make cheesecake—
In a stand mixer with a flat beater, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time.
Add pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to the remaining batter and stir gently until well blended. Fill the cupcake liners almost full (cheesecake doesn’t rise that much).
Bake in preheated oven for 22-25 minutes, or until center is almost set. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Cover with whipped topping before serving.
To make whipped cream—
In mixer with whisk attachment, whip the cream, vanilla extract and sugar on high speed until you get stiff peaks.
To assemble cupcakes—
Using a 1M star tip, pipe whipped cream on cupcake. Drizzle with caramel.
Husband rating: A+
He really loved this recipe but he preferred it naked (no whip or caramel) and raved about the graham-pecan crust.
Wifey rating: A/A+
I am not a pumpkin fan but these were really good esp with that caramel drizzle. Everything’s better with a little caramel!
Other rating: A+
I brought it over for a family dinner. The whole family raved and requested I make it for Thanksgiving!
Tags: better than sex cake, caramel, chocolate, toffee
Sometimes inspiration isn’t subtle.
Sometimes it hits you smack in the face.
Last week I went shopping at one of my favorite stores, Old Navy, at my local mall. I strolled down the aisles, craning my neck every which way to check out all the different shoes, purses, swimsuits, belts, PJs, tank tops etc when I came across this graphic tee:
(photo credit: OkRockSteady)
… and all the sudden my brain started storming my next cupcake. I decided to bake up a play on words from a “better than sex” cake recipe for my Hankie Pankie cupcakes. I found a semi-homemade version online but I definitely have plans to make it scratch next time. (Please, don’t disown me cake mix haters!) I just know they’ll be a hit at T’s department meeting tomorrow. I just wish I could be there to see his face when he has to say the words “hankie pankie” to his coworkers! LOL
PS. You know I totally bought the tshirt!
(Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com | photos from me!)
Makes 24 cupcakes
1 (18.25 ounce) package devil’s food cake mix
1/2 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
6 ounces caramel ice cream topping
3 (1.4 ounce) bars chocolate covered toffee, chopped (I used Heath toffee bits)
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed (I made homemade, recipe below)
Bake cake according to package directions for 24 cupcakes. Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes.
Make slits across the top of the cake, making sure not to go through to the bottom.
[NOTES: I used a skewer and poked holes through the top of each cupcake.]
In a saucepan over low heat, combine sweetened condensed milk and caramel topping, stirring until smooth and blended. Slowly spoon the warm topping mixture over the top of each cupcake, letting it sink into the slits; then sprinkle the crushed chocolate toffee bars liberally across the entire cake while still warm.
[NOTES: I combined the condensed milk and caramel topping in a small bowl and nuked it in the microwave for about 30 secs instead. Saucepan is probably better but I got lazy. haha]
Let cake cool completely, then top with whipped topping. Decorate the top of the cake with swirls of caramel topping.
Husband rating: A+
He’s not really a caramel person but he raved between bites.
Wifey rating: A+
Its not called better than sex cake for nothing. Enough said. LOL
Other rating: A+
T’s CWs loved the cupcake. He said it was really funny b/c one of his department heads was talking to them and took a bite of the cupcake in the middle of his speech and all the sudden exclaimed “Oh My God! What’s in this cupcake? The ooozy stuff. Its good!”
Whipped Cream recipe after cut.