Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Cupcakes for My Boy

Hello again. Sorry I have been largely absent this summer. Truth be told, I've lost my mojo. I have to say that with the tiny hint of fall in the air (I said tiny), I am starting to feel more energized about getting in the kitchen. I have been so busy with writing assignments that my brain is fried by the end of the day. The blazing heat further fries my brain and I want nothing to do with turning the oven on. I go in the kitchen, stand and stare. Then we order take-out. Or I just make boring stuff. Or, maybe I make something interesting, but I don't have time to write the recipe down or photograph it. The kitchen is just too much of a mess and I have two hungry little mouths to feed. If something starts to feel like a chore to me, then I don't like it anymore. And I don't want this blog to be an unpleasant chore (like doing the laundry).

So, I have come to the conclusion that I'm just never going to be a full-on recipe blogger. That's just not who I am. I will tell you funny stories from time to time, write about recipes, travel and give you glimpses into the life of a harried mama. (But don't call me a mommy blogger!!) I'll also reflect on my family and the memories that inspire me to cook and eat good food. Maybe this blog defies labels, and I'm OK with that. Basically, I'm just going to keep doing what I have been doing but not beat myself up about it.

In keeping with my "I am who I am" revelation, I want to tell you about making cupcakes for my son's birthday last week. There are no award-winner photos here. No perfectly folded napkins. No macro shots of caramel dripping in slow motion on perfectly piped icing. Nope, just some simple photos of homespun cupcakes that I took with my camera or phone in a rush. (I'm not knocking good photography - really, I'm just jealous! ;)

Salted caramel cupcake with a side of chocolate ice cream. Yes, please!

My seven-year-old is hilarious. He is quite the serious foodie. He loves cooking shows, chef demos at the Farmer's Market and is obsessed with sweets. (I wonder where he gets all this from?!) When I asked him what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday, he said "salted caramel." His favorite ice cream at our favorite ice cream place, Morelli's, is salted caramel. The first time I tasted it, I developed a mild obsession over it. It is sooooo good. Now my boys are addicted and they get that flavor in their kiddie cones almost every time we go. He also insisted that I make the cupcakes because "they're the best." He's my biggest fan, and I'm just going to enjoy that while it lasts! Despite it being the hectic first week back to school, I manage to whip them up and rush them off to his school in the nick of time.

I'm not even going to give you a recipe because I'm still not 100 percent happy with my yellow cake recipe. If I ever find a good one, I'll let you know. Likewise, if you have a good one let me know! But, here's all you need to do to replicate these.

Packed and ready to carry to school.

Cream Cheese Salted Caramel Cupcakes

  • Make your favorite yellow cupcakes
  • Ice with cream cheese frosting (Here's a recipe if you need one.)
  • Melt about 10-12 Kraft caramels with a dash of salt and a splash of half and half
  • Add another splash of half and half to cool. Stir until smooth and allow the caramel mixture to cool about 10-15 minutes. 
  • Drizzle caramel on top of cupcakes
  • Sprinkle with coarse sea salt
  • If you'd like, fill the cupcakes with caramel before icing for extra richness. I experimented with a few like this. Yum!
There were a few kids in the class who rejected them, but most happily licked the caramel and icing and proclaimed them to be good. I even made some banana cupcakes for the two vegan children in the class so they wouldn't fell left out. Sam was all smiles. Despite being a frazzled, exhausted mess, I was smiling, too. Isn't this what it's all about? Good food makes people happy. My son was proud of his mama's homemade cupcakes and for that I am proud. That's what I like to write about.

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