Cinnamon Spiced Cupcakes with Frangelico Cream Cheese Frosting are a decadent treat. Perfect as a rich dessert, or paired with your favorite coffee or tea for a sweet snack.
Oy, the election. I’ve thought long and hard about whether or not I wanted to address it here on the blog, and decided that I will, only because this is a reflection (mish-mashed though it may be) of how I am in real-life, and I’ve been interested in politics and how they shape us ever since I was a child. I have my mom to
blame thank for that–She instilled in my sister and me both the need to research and to make informed choices, especially once we were old enough to vote. After all, she is of the age of those who were sent to war in Vietnam, but weren’t old enough to vote on said war. You may disagree with me, but I am of the firm belief that if you don’t exercise your right to vote, you have given up your right to complain about the state of government and its many many problems.
***For those of you who just want the recipe, feel free to skip all this–I know not everyone wants to talk politics, and sometimes, food is medicine/comfort. So I won’t be offended if you showed up just for the cupcakes.***
I know the past year has been…Well, incredulous, as the political process has played out. I will preface this by stating that if you know me in real life, you know I am living blue in a red state. Progressive, liberal, Democrat, whatever you want to label me. I was a Bernie supporter who voted for Hillary, both because he wasn’t on South Dakota’s ballot (and South Dakota doesn’t allow write-in votes), and because the more I watched her, the more respect I gained for her. Is she a career politician? Yep. Is she crooked, like the other side claimed? You know, I honestly don’t think she’s any worse than any other politician out there. She has been investigated more thoroughly than any other politician I can think of (except maybe Richard Nixon), for YEARS (Bill Clinton first took office when I was in high school). Either she’s made one hell of a deal with Satan himself, is the luckiest woman alive, or maybe, just maybe…she’s actually innocent of all they keep trying to throw at her.
I also watched her dealing with Donald Trump during the debates, and felt myself getting angrier and angrier at his talking over her, his condescension towards her, the mansplaining that she had to deal with. That ALL women have had to deal with. The constant objectification, being patted on the head, being told to smile more, or be quiet and not worry our pretty little heads, or being ridiculed for having an opinion.
And I watched as the scary underbelly of America was slowly exposed. I know there are people hurting. I get that. I worked in banking for over ten years, and for about eight of those years, worked peripherally in Wealth Management (as in I was the receptionist for the department). I watched as the rich, the very clients I helped on a daily basis, got richer with the economic recovery, while my family struggled to pay the bills. Talk about feeling like a hypocrite. I came from a rust belt state, now live in a rural agricultural state, and while I’m in customer service, it’s for a large manufacturer.
But I’m also a college graduate–The only one on my mom’s side of the family with a Bachelor’s degree. And I am damn proud of that accomplishment. Does it make me a liberal elitist? I don’t think so. After all, my employer requires a 4-year degree, at least for the position I have. And I try to remember that even those without a college degree or even a high school diploma very likely possess knowledge I do not. I can talk your ear off about the socioeconomic factors that may lead to a child joining a gang, and I can discuss common threads among the more notorious serial killers (I majored in Criminology, in case you were wondering), but that doesn’t make me any better than someone who didn’t attend college. It just means our knowledge is different.
But what I don’t understand is the disconnect I see with the people who supported Donald Trump. I have real-life and internet friends who are his supporters, and while I admit, it’s been difficult to keep my mouth shut, and resist the urge to block or unfriend them, I haven’t done so, because I don’t want to be one of those people who exists in an echo chamber. It’s the same reason Jay reads Fox News and Breitbart. I would rather learn about the WHY, their reasoning for their support. I’ve seen clips of people going on about how he’s going to bring jobs back, how he’s going revamp and revoke the ACA, round up all the illegal immigrants and get them out of here, and build a wall to prevent them coming back. How he speaks to middle/rural America and those who are hurting because the American dream has slipped away. I get the impression they feel like he’s one of them. And that’s what I don’t understand. A New York businessman, born with a silver spoon in his mouth, whose products labelled with his name aren’t even made here in the United States is your savior? I feel a lot like Martin Gore in Depeche Mode’s “People Are People,” pleading “Help me understand.”
Like it or not, the times, they are a-changin’ and if there’s one thing I’ve learned from the years of watching the bambino’s dinosaur/other prehistoric documentaries, it’s that you either learn to adapt, or you die. The jobs aren’t coming back. Trump may indeed round up as many people of color as possible and deport them or block them from entering the US, but when things DON’T improve, who’s then to blame? Yes, he might get taxes lowered, but for whom? I grew up during the Reagan years–Trickle-down economics is a joke. Our infrastructure is already crumbling and decaying. If anything is to be done about it, how will it happen and who will pay for it?
What scares me the most is the feeling that there’s now a sense that because Trump ripped off that bandage, people are going to feel they have the freedom, a mandate, to go out of their way to harass anyone who isn’t a white man. Let’s not forget, he spent the better part of the last eight years questioning the legitimacy and citizenship of our current president. I know, I’m somewhat isolated from it. I don’t live in a big city, I’m in a small college town, in flyover country. The very heart of the country that it seems everyone has forgotten.
But it makes me fear for my friends and family who are people of color, LBGTQ, foreign-born, female. As pessimistic as I usually am, I’m trying desperately to hold onto some hope. Maybe the next four years won’t be as bad as I fear. Maybe Trump WILL turn the economy around to the point that even people like Jay and I will benefit. Maybe the wall is metaphorical, not literal. Still, I’m rather skeptical, as he has yet to condemn any of the violence and fury (on both sides) that’s been unleashed since the election results were announced. I don’t think he’s really interested in healing the nation. This is one instance where I really hope I’m wrong, and my friends and family who supported and voted for him CAN point their fingers at me and say “We told you so.”
Jay and I both are fond of quoting Battlestar Galactica–“All this has happened before, and all of it will happen again.” The country survived the presidencies of Andrew Jackson, Richard Nixon, and George W. Bush, and it will survive the presidency of Donald Trump.
Now that I’ve gotten all that out of the way (and bravo if you’re still reading at this point–Thank you!), this is really supposed to be about cupcakes. These are the delicious result of stress-baking, and my fondness for throwing booze into desserts at every opportunity.
Warmly sweet cinnamon-spiced cupcakes are topped with a decadently rich Frangelico Cream Cheese frosting. I thought when I made Baileys Cream Cheese Frosting, it was the best thing ever, but I was very wrong. No, Frangelico Cream Cheese frosting is now my new favorite. This is the kind of frosting you’re going to want to eat with a spoon.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners and set aside. *To make sour milk, place a Tbsp. of white vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup. Fill the cup up to the rest of the needed measurement with milk. Stir, and allow to sit for 5 minutes before using. Cupcake recipe slightly adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook (1930-2000 Limited Edition)
For the Cupcakes:
For the Frosting:
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium speed for 1 minute. Add in the sugar and vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed for 2 minutes.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Drop the speed to low, and alternately add the flour and butter/sour milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until combined, being careful not to overmix. Scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula, and beat 30 seconds more on medium speed.
Using a large (3-Tbsp.) scoop, place the batter in the cupcake liners. Bake for 25-27 minutes, or until a tester inserted in several cupcakes comes out clean.
Cool in the pans 10 minutes, then remove cupcakes and cool completely on wire racks.
To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until well-combined and smooth. On low speed, slowly add half the powdered sugar.
Scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula, then add 1 ounce of the Frangelico and the salt. Add the remaining powdered sugar (the frosting will be rather thick), and the rest of the Frangelico.
Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl again, and whip the frosting on high speed for 1-2 minutes. Spread or pipe on top of the cooled cupcakes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners and set aside.
*To make sour milk, place a Tbsp. of white vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup. Fill the cup up to the rest of the needed measurement with milk. Stir, and allow to sit for 5 minutes before using.
Cupcake recipe slightly adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook (1930-2000 Limited Edition)
I’ll end this by saying that I welcome any thoughtful discussion about the election. But as I moderate the comments, any hateful name-calling, threats, or anything else I deem out of line will not be published. I know there are a lot of angry and upset people out there, but to fall into the “You’re a thin candy shell…” line of back and forth insults is not acceptable.