Thursday, January 8, 2015

Interregnum of the Profits - Butter Pecan Cupcakes with Creamy Nutella Frosting

January 7, 2015:  "Hey Dad, somebody wants to get their taxes done tomorrow, is that okay?"  Of course it is okay, and with those words from our daughter Betty, we enter the Interregnum.  The Fifth Season.  The No-Cruise Zone.  This year, Tax Season promises to be extra-special, thanks to the cluster-f*** known as Obamacare.

My husband, also known as The Taxman, has been getting geared up for this annual event since early last fall.  Despite the inevitable aggravation of high pressure number-crunching, he really does thrive on this, sort of like the way I thrive on doing between eight and thirteen trials a month for an eight month period.

Thriving is not what I'm doing today.  I was beset by the Insane Itching for a good part of the night, which impacted the quality of sleep, so I am a trifle cranky.  I am suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous bulls*** from an outside source.  I am, however, extraordinarily proud and pleased that I did not respond in kind.  But ohhhh, the temptation.  And then, I have been working on a particular drafting project for a number of days, and have run into a ginormous glitch.  Big surprise, right?

Time to find my Zen Zone.

Back on the needles, albeit the smaller ones and I like the results.  I have to get used to the color changes, which occur more frequently than from a ball of Noro Silk Garden.  I also have to get a new bottle of Advil, because my head is starting to crack and my eyes are protecting themselves by going all squinty on me.  No time for lunchtime knitting, I'm afraid.

So you know that lately I've been hooked on cupcakes.  Today, when I ran into Walmart to get a nice big bottle of Advil, I ran into the grocery section to find a new flavor of cake mix.  Always experimenting, that's me.  The basic sour cream recipe works perfectly, as I found when I tried it with chocolate and then with white cake mix.  The butter pecan mix, however, comes in the new, smaller size, which requires adjustment to the other ingredients.  I can't take credit for this - I can say that it works really well.  I got 22 cupcakes from this mix, but then I did not add a cup of chips as I did to the other two recipes.

Butter Pecan Cupcakes with Creamy Nutella Frosting

1 (15.25 ounce) package butter pecan cake mix 
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 extra large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tin with paper liners.
2. With a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, eggs, vanilla and almond extracts and water. Beat for about two minutes on medium speed until well combined.
3. Using a large cookie scoop, distribute the batter between 22 muffin wells.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 18-22 minutes or until the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly touched. Allow cupcakes to cool inside muffin tins for about 20 minutes.
5. Remove cupcakes from muffin tins and allow to fully cool on a wire rack. Once cupcakes are cool, top with the Creamy Nutella Frosting, recipe below.

1 - 16 oz. tub creamy vanilla frosting
1/3 cup Nutella
2-3 tablespoons half and half

Stir all of the ingredients together until completely combined and smooth. Frost the cooled cupcakes using your favorite method.

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