If you met me today, most of you would think that I’m an incredibly outgoing person. I like to go out, I love parties and get togethers with tons of people and I actually enjoy floating from one conversation to another in a crowd of people. Though it comes a little bit more naturally now, this was definitely not the case growing up. I was lucky enough to grow up with two sisters and a mom who’s friendliness and ability to feel at ease in nearly any circumstance provided me with a curtain I could stand behind and just observe. They initiated conversations, made friends, and I tagged along just watching and creating stories in my head.
Books were my closest friends. I could just lose myself in a story, let myself get pulled into the characters and escape from my own life for a while. For me it was the perfect situation – I could stand just on the edges of their world and observe the inner workings of all the characters without having to interact. Without having to really look at myself. Or have to think about how the characters themselves would view me. They were real in my mind, but I took comfort in the fact that they weren’t quite alive, and as such, couldn’t stand up in the real world and judge me. Or worse, make fun of me.
There are certain truths about me that are as true today as they were 15 years ago. I am not poised or graceful or put together. I am sarcastic, have an odd sense of humor, and have a manly chuckle. I would much rather watch a really great film or go wander around an art museum or get lost in a play than walk up to a group of strangers and even just say hello. The difference is that I actually try these days. I push down the feelings of absolute panic, swallow hard a few times and clear my throat to loosen that taste of cotton mouth, then walk into that party we spoke about earlier, and strike up a conversation. Funnily enough, what I’ve come to realize, is that people don’t immediately make fun of me.
This cake may look like a mess at first glance – only half completed and sort of just thrown together. The frosting flows out of the sides and you can see the cake plain as day. But then you look closer, and that messiness takes on a certain rustic charm. The walnuts that are strewn across the top actually form a sort of pattern. And when you cut into it, you notice the additional layer of walnuts… something that was unexpected. The taste of the caramel frosting has a depth that surprises you. The tanginess of the cream cheese catches you off guard. It all comes together with flavors and textures of caramel, walnuts, and vanilla. You take a step back, look at the cake again, and realize it’s actually quite… pretty.
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter (room temperature)
- 1 brick (8-ounces) cream cheese (room temperature)
- 1/2 cup salted caramel sauce (homemade or store bought)
- 3-4 cups powdered sugar
- Cream together the butter and cream cheese.
- Pour in the salted caramel. Beat until combined.
- Sift powdered sugar directly into the bowl, and beat for a few minutes until really light and fluffy.
The vanilla cake I used is my basic vanilla cake recipe which you can find in this post
The frosting is definitely a soft frosting and does not sit well on a hot day (ie it melts all over the place). Keep the cake refrigerated until about 30 minutes before you are ready to serve it. I prefer to use the frosting in a rustic frosting method shown here, or spooned / piped on cupcakes like in Baked Bree's post.