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Salted caramel, powdered donuts, suckers, and sweet treats have all been tied to Sheriff Donna Hanscum since her introduction in the episode “The Purge.” It was easy to pick her as an inspiration for a Supernatural Cupcake War. After all, in “Plush,” Sheriff Donna Hanscum states, “My diet secret. One bite of dessert and then I dump salt on it. Kills the craving. You betcha. On everything except---salted caramel.” I leafed through all of my baking books and thought hard about how I could combine the salted caramel with something that also fit her spunky character.

I needed something that was sweet and bold, but something that also had some undertones and layers. After all, Donna has many layers as we get to know her. Underneath her bubbly and bold exuberance is a soft vulnerability and a complexity that I hope we get to explore more in future episodes. I found the perfect recipe that would identify with her - a salted caramel pudding and a cake decadent enough to match
(from my Joy the Baker's Homemade Decadence):
Brown Sugar Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting

Filled with brown sugar, buttermilk, caramel, cream, and some cinnamon for spice, they just screamed Donna to me---and boy do they ever taste so good. I have no doubt that her little salt trick would be an abysmal failure---and honestly, it'd be such a crime you might find yourself in Stillwater's lock up if you tried. And just to add to the punishment, I have no doubt that Sheriff Donna would gladly eat them right in front of you, right down to the cute dollop of salted caramel frosting dusting her nose as she did so. Think of the agony of watching her enjoy these tasty, sinful, yet oh so gooey treats and not being able to indulge!

I dubbed them

Donna's Delights

They're sweet, spicy, and bold. They're simple yet utterly indulgent. I imagine Donna eagerly eating these after a long trying day---just one or two, mind you. And if she ever wanted to say thank you to the Winchesters, this is the very thing I can see her eagerly baking up and giving with exuberance, don't y' know? Sure, Dean may complain that cupcakes aren't pie, but he wouldn't care once he took that first bite. We all know about his weakness for salted caramel, anyways. They're that good and they're relatively an easy bake.

Let's start with the recipe and supplies list.


Liquid measuring cup

Set of dry measuring cups and spoons

Medium mixing bowl

Large mixing bowl


Cupcake liners

2 Cupcake tins

A cup to melt butter into

Brown Sugar Cupcakes:

3 cups all purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt (I use kosher in all my baking, but table salt works fine, too)

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 large eggs

1 large egg yolk

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 cups packed light brown sugar

1 ½ cups buttermilk

  1. Put racks in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cupcake pans with paper or foil liners.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon

  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, eggs and egg yolk, vanilla, and brown sugar. Add the brown sugar mixture to all at once to the flour mixture and stir well. Add the buttermilk and stir well. Divide the batter among the prepared cupcake cups. Bake until lightly golden on top and a wooden skewer inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs, 20 to 23 minutes. Let cool in the pans for 20 minutes before transfering to wire racks to cool completely.

  4. The cupcakes will keep unfrosted and well wrapped at room temperature for up to the three days. Cupcakes can also be wrapped and frozen for up to seven days. Once frosted, they should be stored in the refrigerator.

Salted Caramel Frosting

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted buttermilk

½ cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup packed light brown sugar

½ teaspoon salt

3 to 4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

  1. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, combine the butter, cream, vanilla, brown sugar, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar melts and the mixture beings to simmer, about 4 minutes.

  2. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixture fitted with the whisk attachment. Add 2 cups of the confectioners' sugar and beat on medium-low speed until throughly combined. Add another 1 to 2 cups confectioners' sugar and beat until thick and fluff, 4 to 6 minutes.

Once the cupcakes are fully cooled and the frosting is made, frost the cupcakes. Pipe it on with a piping bag or spread it onto each cupcake with a knife---either method works. Oh, and don't forget to pull a Dean and taste that uber tasty frosting---just leave the roofies out of it and you'll be fine. And you can be “darn tootin'” that you'll “lick the bowl clean.”

So, what's the verdict on Donna's Delights? Yah betcha that they're tasty! There will be no pouring salt on top to kill the craving. Having made them twice, once to eat myself and once to give away as a gift, everyone's who had them found them pleasing, tasty, and truly delightful. I think Dean would enjoy getting the frosting on his nose like that powdered sugar from those donuts. He'd certainly sneak extra when Sam's back was turned to eat on the way home. Perhaps Sam would steal some from that not so secret stash. They're that good---and even he can't complain too much about them being “unhealthy.” After all, why not enjoy some naughty decadence and sinfulness once in awhile?

Go ahead, make these delectable cupcakes. We won't tell Doug. Hunting Sheriff's Honor. See if anyone can possibly best them in a Supernatural Cupcakes War. They've captured that pudding Dean certainly couldn't stop eating and they're the one true indulgence I see Donna having no shame in having. Especially if she's earned it in a hunt, too. After all, one should have something sugary after killing some vampires or dealing with some ghost possession, right?

Any-who, have fun bakin' don't y' know?