Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Look-Alike Hostess Cupcakes

I'm sure you've heard of "death by chocolate" before, haven't you?  Well this is pretty much it.  This is one chocolatey rich dessert thanks to the extra moist chocolate cake filled with light and fluffy frosting and blanketed with a rich chocolate ganache. 

Whoa.  Sensory overload.  At the same time, they're so airy and delicate that you could easily eat two...and that's bad! :P

I couldn't tell you what a real Hostess® CupCake (yeah, that circle R there is for you, know what I'm talking about! haha) tastes like because I honestly don't know if I've ever had one.  A sad childhood but alas it's true!  Twinkies yes, but these chocolatey little cupcakes I do not recall.  Either way, this cupcake sure does look authentic with the signature 7 white squiggles on top and creamy filling :).  And the vintage slogan said, "You get a big delight in every bite."...that's pretty much true, too!

Is it nerdy to admit that I was just excited to break out my cake decorating tools again?  I got to use 3 different tips for this one!  A fat round one to fill the cakes, a skinny round one to make the squiggles, and then another one with texture (heck...I don't know what it's called!) to pipe filling onto the top of some cupcakes when I ran out of ganache.  I'm suggesting you double the ganache from the original recipe to get enough...and my modified instructions below accounts for this.

Not sure how people get their ganache to look so smooth...mine when dipped you could see the hole still so I had to take a rubber spatula to put more chocolate across the top to fill the gaps and smooth it back out.  This is probably why I ran out of ganache :D.

It's a little time consuming but hey, they're ultra cute and pretty darn addicting!  If anything, I'd at the very least file this chocolate cake and the seven minute frosting to make plain....the cake is really chocolatey, moist, and overall yummy!  The frosting is made without any butter or cream and uses egg whites for a light fluffy and relatively healthy frosting.

Look-Alike Hostess Cupcakes
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Yields: 24 cupcakes


For the cupcakes:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa (any baking cocoa will do, most people prefer Dutch Process)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
For the cream filling (Seven Minute Frosting):
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the chocolate ganache:
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

To make the cupcakes
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
  2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be really thin). Fill cups about 3/4 full with batter.
  3. Bake 22 to 25 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely on a wire rack.
To make the fillling (Seven minute frosting)
  1. While waiting for cupcakes to cool, combine filling ingredients with a pinch of salt in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water and beat with a handheld electric mixer at high speed until frosting is thick and fluffy, 6 to 7 minutes.
  2. Remove bowl from heat and continue to beat until slightly cooled. Reserve 1/2 cup of the filling to use for piping the swirls on top of the cupcakes at the end.
To make the chocolate ganache
  1. Do this after the cupcakes have been filled (Step #3 in assembly below).  In a small saucepan, heat cream over medium heat until steaming, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes. Add the butter and stir until smooth.  Transfer to a small bowl.
To assemble the cupcakes
  1. Once cupcakes are cool, use the cone method to create a hole in each cupcake.  Using a thin sharp knife, insert knife at an angle (pointing towards center) about 1/2 way between edge and center of cupcake.  Keeping the tip in the center position inside the cupcake, gently saw a circle around the cupcake.  Remove the cake plug, which will look like an upside down cone.  Cut the tip off the plug and then set the remaining plug aside to use later.  Repeat until all cupcakes have been cut.
  2. Prepare a piping bag with a large round tip, and fill bag with the vanilla filling.  (If you don't have a piping bag, a gallon sized ziplock bag with the tip cut off will also work.)
  3. Squeeze filling into middle of cupcakes.  Replace cake plug into top of each cupcake.
  4. Dip the top of each cupcake in chocolate ganache to thoroughly coat.  If there are bare spots (such as where the plug was cut), spoon additional ganache on that area and then use a spatula to smooth it back out.
  5. Prepare another piping bag with a small tip. Fill with the reserved 1/2 cup of cream filling. Pipe swirls across the top of the cupcakes. For Hostess accuracy, there are exactly 7 squiggles on each cupcake.
  6. Allow chocolate ganache to set before enjoying or storing in an airtight container.
Source: Cake from Hershey's, Filling from Smitten Kitchen, and Ganache/Concept from Annie's Eats as seen on Heather Drive

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