Caramel Cream Cupcakes with a light whipped cream frosting

Caramel Cream Cupcakes

Caramel Cream Cupcakes with a light whipped cream frosting
Caramel Cream Cupcakes with a light whipped cream frosting
Caramel Cream Cupcakes with a light whipped cream frosting


It’s a common stereotype that people who study psychology are gravitated to the field because of their own experiences with mental illness. I’m not sure whether that stereotype has any truth to it, but it certainly proved true in my case, even if I wasn’t aware of my mental illnesses when I chose my major. Coincidentally, one of the disorders that fascinated me the most is one I was diagnosed with near the end of my degree: PTSD.

With most mental illnesses, there is a combination of biological and environmental causes that sneakily work together. One biological factor (of many) that relates to whether or not an individual will develop PTSD is having overactive amygdalae. Your amygdalae are responsible for emotions, among other things. If you’ve ever felt yourself getting really worked up about something, that’s your amygdalae doing their job!

But what about when you get worked up about something in a semi-conscious state? As a kid, I was a chronic sleep walker and sleep talker. I don’t sleep walk anymore (at least to my knowledge…), but nightmares have been a regular part of my sleep since as long as I can remember.

Nightmares are a strange phenomenon. During a nightmare, a part of your brain remains awake and active. That’s the reason that emotions and experiences in dreams can be so intense. But when you have hyperactive amygdalae like me, those nightmares can be even more intense. We’re talking an amalgamation of a thriller film and an amusement park fun house (I’ll spare you the details of those ones.)

Even though I’m not working at the restaurant now, I still have the dreaded serving nightmares. If you’ve ever been a server, you know the ones I’m talking about! You forget to punch in an order, and, all of a sudden, the world ENDS. Everyone you’re serving starts complaining. You get fired, start crying on the spot and…BAM! You’re awake.

Even though my nightmares emotionally startle me when I awake, I still find them fascinating. I’m not one to believe in astrology or old-age psychobabble about the meaning of dreams, as I’ve read enough research to know that our dreams are purely a manifestation of our thoughts and experiences during the day and nothing more. But I do find it interesting how nightmares can be quickly forgotten after you awake, only to pop into your consciousness in the middle of the day, seemingly out of nowhere.

You know the nightmare where you walk into school or work and you’re completely naked? That nightmare has tripped me up a number of times in real life. The morning after that particular nightmare occurs, I often second guess myself before leaving the house to make sure I’m fully dressed. It’s kind of ridiculous, because I don’t know anyone who has actually left their house accidentally without any clothes on, but this nightmare rests somewhere in my subconscious and I’m reminded of it only when I turn the doorknob.

Do you ever struggle with nightmares? What kind of nightmares do you have? Let me know in the comments!

Caramel Cream Cupcakes with a light whipped cream frostingCaramel Cream Cupcakes with a light whipped cream frostingCaramel Cream Cupcakes with a light whipped cream frosting

The recipe:

I got alot of positive feedback on the lightness of the whipped cream icing on my double coconut cupcakes, so I wanted to take that technique a step further with these caramel cream cupcakes. Since caramel is such a heavy, sweet taste, a soft pillow of whipped cream icing doesn’t draw attention away from that deep caramel flavour. I used dulce de leche in this recipe for extra creaminess, but any canned caramel you can find will do. Or even homemade! But I like to skip steps and make things easier. Soft, creamy, and sweet, these caramel cream cupcakes will be a party favourite. Enjoy 🙂

Caramel Cream Cupcakes
Author: My Dish is Bomb
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
  • [i]Cupcakes[/i]
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 6 oz (170 g) butter, melted
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • just under 1/4 cup caramel
  • [i]Frosting[/i]
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 2 TB powdered sugar
  • caramel
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and sugar and beat on medium until combined and foamy (about 2 min.). Pour in the melted butter and vanilla and beat on low to combine.
  4. Add half the dry ingredients and the buttermilk, and mix on low to just combine. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix on medium to combine. Fold in the caramel.
  5. Scoop the batter into the paper liners, filling each cup 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops spring back to a light touch. Let the cupcakes cool in the tins completely before frosting.
  6. To make the frosting, add whipping cream to a medium sized mixing bowl and beat on low until thickened and frothy. Add the powdered sugar and continue beating on medium until the cream has formed stiff peaks.
  7. Using a spatula or a piping bag, ice the tops of the cupcakes. Drizzle the caramel over the whipped cream with a spoon. Serve immediately, or store in an air-tight container in the fridge.

Recipe adapted from Food Network Kitchen

Published by

Katy MacKinnon

Katy MacKinnon is a food photographer and recipe developer, and Food Fight! co-host.

24 thoughts on “Caramel Cream Cupcakes”

  1. Your cupcake pictures always make me drool and give me pleasant dreams, not nightmares. My dreams always resemble story plots, so there are lots of pleasant parts mixed in with some nightmarish high action parts I’d rather wake up from. And occasionally the dreams are so real I sometimes wake up feeling the physical pain of what happened in the dream, which is always a little wacky.

    1. Thanks Megan! Wow, that’s so interesting that you wake up and still feel physical pain! I’m not sure if that has ever happened to me, but I do sometimes have strange dreams when I’m lying on my arm and it falls asleep. That’s an odd one to wake up to when you can’t feel your arm!

  2. Katy,

    I don’t feel like I have nightmares specifically, I would call them more stressful dreams. I too was a server/bartender in restaurants years ago. I’m talking years. And I still have the server dream, mostly that I forgot a table and they’ve been waiting for hours. I also have dreams where I’m standing at a table taking someone’s order and I can’t understand them or I write the order down but I can’t find it when I get to the ordering station….. The list goes on!


    1. Hahaha yes!! I have had all those server dreams too! It’s so funny that they’re horrible nightmares because if they actually happened it really wouldn’t be so horrible, but in nightmares they are the worst!

  3. I have a degree in psychology too, Katy! I had no clue we had that in common. And I had no clue you suffered from PTSD. :/ Sorry to hear about that, girlfriend. Dreams or nightmares can be crazy, I have definitely had the “serving” nightmare and the “naked” nightmare… although I was freggin fabulous server and I’ve never left the house naked. hahaha. Anyways, Loving these cupcakes!!! Your photography is always so gorgeous and these beauties are no exception! I LOOOOOOVE caramel, so I’m totally drooling all over my keyboard! I can’t wait to make these over the weekend! PINNED! Cheers, dear – hope all is well with you! xo

    1. Yayyy psychology nerds unite!! Yes it’s so funny how we have these nightmares about serving when they’re scenarios that have never/will never happen! Thank you so much for the compliments on the cupcakes 🙂 Thanks for pinning and enjoy your weekend!

  4. I thankfully have never really struggled with nightmares … I get them every once in a while if I watch a really violent TV show or movie (or if I’m extremely stressed!!). Crazy what stress can do to you.

    But these cupcakes! That frosting! I want dessert! haha And I have nothing in the house right now…

  5. I was actually a sociology/ gender studies major but I took several psych classes also. I loved them! I read somewhere that nightmares are your brain’s way of working through a highly stressful or tragic situation. That makes perfect sense to me and lines up with my own experience. But If I had these cupcakes to wake up to I think it would make waking up from a nightmare just a little easier! These are BEAUTIFUL, and that caramel sounds drool worthy. Pinning!

  6. I’ve been having some pretty bad nightmares as of late its actually so weird! I wake up in the middle of the night and but I guess I am still not fully awake, like i am still drifting from my unconscious mind to my conscious mind or something because I actually SEE THINGS. Like things that AREN’T ACTUALLY THERE. At first I thought I was going crazy but I went online and it seems like this happens to people. Like one night I woke up at midnight and there were like swarms of bugs all over my room like something from the Bible haha and I literally RAN OUT OF THE ROOM. I was like scared out of my wits. Of course I went back and I’m like… Linda, there is nothing there. But yeah it definitely has to do with my dreams and whether I went to bed feeling good or not. Anyways to add on to that, definitely want to say that these are like the prettiest cupcakes ever haha, I could never get my frosting looking as good as yours!

    1. Wow, that sounds terrifying. Yes, hallucinations and nightmares are certainly intertwined. I’ve hallucinated before too. We need to redefine the word “crazy” because brain differences are normal and lots of people experience the world in different ways. It’s definitely terrifying but you’re certainly not the only one! Sleep stages are complicated and lots of funny trickery can go on while you’re not fully conscious! Thanks for the compliments 🙂

  7. Haha I identified with your post so much, my major was also psychology, and now working as a psychiatric nurse…I don’t think the stereotype fits me either but I do think I perhaps over-analyse certain experiences about myself.
    I very rarely have nightmares but have to come out clean though, I do try to find meaning in dreams!
    Beautiful cupcakes!

    1. Thanks Mariana! I think it’s probably a good thing, personal analysis and insight is better than ignorance! I bet you have some really interesting dreams!

  8. First let me stop drooling over these cupcakes! They look delicious! I have not had a nightmare since I was a little girl, but I remember they were not fun. Good that you think your nightmares are fascinating, I don’t think I would be able to handle one now.

  9. Hey friend! I rarely have scary nightmares however I do have two recurring situations in my dreams…I have no voice (need to express, nothing comes out) and I need to run but can’t move… What do you think of that?! I’d love for you to interpret… Are you planning to pursue a career in psychology? Onto these cupcakes…incredible!

    1. I’ve definitely had those dreams too, Annie! If I remember correctly, those dreams usually happen in REM sleep (though you can dream in all stages of sleep) and physically, your body is paralyzed during REM sleep. So when you have a dream where you can’t talk or can’t move…it’s probably because your body physically can’t because of the neurotransmitters that are active during REM sleep!

  10. Hi, I didn’t read the article just the recipe, it says 1/4 caramel but I didn’t see a recipe for the caramel ? What recipe do you use ?

    1. Hi Inoa, I didn’t use a recipe for the caramel, I just bought some canned caramel from the grocery store. If you can’t find canned caramel, dulce de leche works just as well!

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