Rating: Chocolate Cake
Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.”
After hearing that, I have begun to see creative maladjustment everywhere. Who were the USA’s founding fathers, if not people who could not fully adjust to Great Britain’s exploitation of the colonies? Who was Galileo, if not someone who saw the world in a different way than the masses did?
Who are we, if not people who want to see a positive change in the world?
We seem to live in a world filled with problems. The economy. Gas Prices. Conflicts in various parts of the world. Natural disasters. Global Warming. 2012. Yes, that is true. Our world is nowhere near perfect. At the same time, it is much improved from the times that human beings in the US walked around in chains, real or figurative, purely because of their skin color. I’m not saying that we are free from all prejudice, but I do think that our country has made great strides. This is thanks to those creatively maladjusted people.
Martin Luther King, Jr. stood up for what he believed in, what he dreamt of, at the cost of his own life. He was maladjusted enough that he stopped caring about his own physical well-being, placing his energy into a higher cause.
Many of the people around me do not care about this extreme sacrifice, only caring about the day off from school/work that this day of remembrance awards them. I’m trying to use today for a different purpose; I am spending time thinking about those people who have changed the world, and trying to figure out how to become one of them.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
This same type of creative maladjustment occurs in Kathryn Stockett’s The Help
. If you have not already read through this gem of a book, I suggest you do so ASAP. The three main characters live in the South during the 1960’s. Two of them are African American maids and the other is a still-unmarried white woman who just received her college degree.
They are quite the unlikely trio.
These ladies team up, at the cost their safety, to expose the prejudice that still exists more than 100-years after the Civil War. Each heroine has something different at stake in this work. Aibileen is a maid who specializes in child care. After her own child dies, something shifts in her and she becomes unprofessionally attached to the girl she is being paid to raise. Minnie, the other maid, has a sharp and unruly tongue that gets her fired more often than not. She also is a first class cook who knows how to (literally) dish out the payback when she is provoked. Skeeter is a white woman whose college education leads her to see that she does not need to get married young to a man that she doesn’t like/know and spend the rest of her life playing bridge at the club while the nanny is at home taking care of her child. She sees that life can be more than that.
Once these maladjusted women team up, they pursue a dream that could lead to a dramatic change in their small town, and the rest of the South as well.
In honor of Minnie, The Help, and the creatively maladjusted out there, I have created my version of Minnie’s famous Caramel Cake. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Caramel cupcakes!
Just like Minnie and the rest of the crew, these cupcakes seem normal enough on the outside, but only when you bite in do you realize how deliciously unique they truly are.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen, which was adapted from Gourmet, January 2008
For the cake
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sifted all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature 30 minutes
- 1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
For caramel glaze
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Sea Salt (optional)
Equipment Needed: a candy thermometer
- Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
- Butter a 12 count regular cupcake pan.
- Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until fluffy.
- Beat in vanilla.
- Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Gently, beat in buttermilk until just combined.
- Add flour mixture in 3 batches, mixing until each addition is just incorporated.
- Fill each cupcake about ⅔ full. Then rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles.
- Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 15-20 minutes.
- Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then place the cupcakes on a rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
- Bring cream, brown sugar, and corn syrup to a boil in a 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved.
- Boil until glaze registers 210 to 212°F on thermometer, 12 to 14 minutes.
- Stir in vanilla.
- Put rack with cupcakes on top of a sheet of parchment paper.
- Pour hot glaze over top of cupcakes, allowing it to run down sides.
- Sprinkle tops with sea salt, if desired.
- Cool until glaze is set, about 30 minutes.
Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to you and all of the creatively maladjusted people out there!