Random Acts of Kindness & Cupcakes

FOREST CREATURES & WOODLANDS

 

Cupcakes are an anti-bullying tactic. Seriously. Don’t believe me? How about cupcakes delivered to fellow students, anonymously, for being caught preforming a Random Act of Kindness. A local high-school senior project was based on the proactive approach to ending bullying by promoting kindness and cash payouts for being caught in the act. Four seniors spent a year combating the “major” bullying problem at their high-school by starting a campaign called “Sonora Strong.” Through fundraisers, educational talks to 5th graders, team building games and cupcakes they started a movement in their own high-school.

Not just cheesy team building or lame fundraisers, no. They had a car donated for the project and advertised the opportunity to “smash out bullying”; for a dollar you got one swing at the car with a sledgehammer. Pretty cool. So, I’m bringing awareness and gratitude to this concept with a blog post and recipe for cupcakes. It’s a problem that is near and dear to my heart and I so appreciate the creativity these students brought to creating a solution.

 

P.s.- Wine and cupcakes are totally a pairing. I like to advise that the color of the wine should match the dessert, white for light edibles and heavy dark port for a dark chocolate. More specifically, caramel and Moscato are heavenly together. Our La Folia Barbera would be decadent too, matching the nutty rich sweetness of the caramel to the smooth sweet ripe berry notes in the Barbera.

“Smashing” Caramel Cupcakes

Ingredients
2/3 cup sour cream
2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 whole vanilla bean, split
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup (8 ounces) salted butter, melted
2 cups all-purpose flour
Caramel Buttercream Frosting, recipe follows

Caramel Buttercream Frosting:
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
4 ounces cream cheese, cubed and chilled
3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup caramel sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (325 degrees F in a convection oven). Line cupcake pans with cupcake liners (24 regular size or 48 mini size).

Using a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the sour cream, baking soda, salt and eggs until combined. Scrape out the insides of the vanilla bean. Add the vanilla and granulated sugar to the egg mixture. Mix until combined.

In a small bowl, mix the melted butter with 1 cup water. With mixer set to a low speed, alternate adding the water and butter, with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue mixing until well combined.

Fill the cupcake liners two-thirds full with the batter. Bake until golden brown and baked through, 22 minutes for regular size and 16 minutes for mini size. Cool the cupcakes completely. Frost with the Caramel Buttercream Frosting. Garnish if desired.

Caramel Buttercream Frosting:
Using a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the butter and beat until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cream cheese and beat until fully incorporated and smooth. Reduce the speed and add the powdered sugar a little at a time. Mix until fully incorporated. Add the caramel sauce to the buttercream mixture. Yield: about 1 quart.

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Recipe courtesy Mary Sarain, Cupcake Wars 2012