Monday, November 8, 2010

Homemade Hostess Cupcakes

I'm the girl who uses anyone and everyone as my culinary guinea pigs.  Hosting a party or attending a potluck? Let's try this random recipe for the first time.  It often includes tears before the dish is complete (what? I'm emotionally tied to my cooking) especially if it is a dessert.  I'm not sure if that makes me more brave or foolish.  I do know that it baffles Hey, Babe to no end.  He is constantly wondering why I profess to enjoy cooking and baking when it can bring me to tears.  The recipes nearly always turn out well in the end, it is very rare that I find something completely inedible, only once? twice? and I think both times I was only cooking for ourselves so that's okay.  I think it is this track record, combined with my recipe collecting (hoarding) obsession that encourages me to continue on in this manner.

All that being said, it is pretty much only a very good recipe that gets made more than once.  Correction, a very good dessert (non-cookie) recipe.  Savory recipes I have in a much smaller quantity and need to make for dinner nearly every night so they get reused much more often.  Similarly, cookies are more of a spur of the moment let's have something sweet and so they also get made more often.  Fancy desserts however, the cakes, pies, custards, and pastries, they do not get made nearly as often as I'd like to eat them (fortunately for my health) and so they get one attempt at perfection before I move on to the next one that has caught my eye.  So far there have been only a few exceptions, this recipe being one of them.

These cupcakes are so good that I made them several times in one month.  I made them the first time for a family gathering.  Later that night as Hey, Babe was talking with his brother on the phone, they reminisced about how good they were.  Odd since dessert is an unusual thing to come up in their conversation.  The next day we got together with Hey, Babe's sister and her family.  Her husband recalled how good these were, another unusual occurrence.  These were so good we all couldn't get them out of our heads, which is why I made them again, and then again.

When Heather announced that the theme for this month’s Sugar High Fridays was “Desserts with a Hidden Surprise,” these came to mind.  I began to consider other possibilities as well, cookies or perhaps venturing into new territory with candies.  Then I recalled that we were going to be visiting friends who had recently finished construction on their new home and that I had offered to bring dessert.  That sealed the deal.  These are exactly what I wanted to bring.  A sure crowd pleaser.  How could you go wrong with delicious chocolate cupcakes topped with chocolate Ganache?  You can't.  Especially when there is hidden within an incredible cream filling.  These are simply awesome.  It is hard for me to imagine anyone not liking these, but if you make them and it turns out you don't like them, would you do me a favor and send them to me?

Homemade Hostess Cupcakes
originally from The Food Network
For the Cupcakes:
1 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate chopped
1 stick unsalted butter cut into pieces
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs lightly beaten

For the Filling:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla exrtact
3 tablespoons heavy cream
7 oz marshmallow creme

For the Ganache:
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Icing: (I usually have leftover filling and so decorate with that, though it doesn't really hold it's shape long it saves me a step)
1 stick unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons milk (or up to 2 TB)
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla


Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F.  Place paper liners in muffin tin for about 20 cupcakes.  Do not skip the liners or you will not be able to nicely remove the cupcakes from the pan.  This is the voice of experience, I tried skipping this step because I didn't have enough liners and didn't want to go to the store.  I went to the store anyway (well, Hey, Babe did) and started over again and now must find something to do with destroyed cupcakes.

For the Cupcakes:
Bring the sugar and 1 cup water to a boil in a saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Pour into your mixing bowl.  To the bowl add the chocolate and butter. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted and the mixture has cooled slightly. Stir in the vanilla.

In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Using your mixer, beat the eggs into the chocolate, then mix in the dry ingredients.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared muffin pans.  It says it should be about 1/4 cup per cupcake, but I found that using my 3 tablespoon cookie scoop was the perfect amount and gave me exactly 23 cupcakes with no batter left over.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Cool in the pans for about 25 minutes, then transfer cupcakes to a rack to cool completely.  The cupcakes are going to sink in the middle, don't worry because when you fill them later they will puff up again.

For the filling:
Using a mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Beat in 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar. Add the vanilla and 1 tablespoon heavy cream; beat until smooth. Beat in the remaining 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar and 2 tablespoons heavy cream in batches, alternating after each addition. Beat in the marshmallow creme; set aside or refrigerate.

For the ganache:
Place the chocolate in a stainless-steel bowl. Heat the cream and 1 tablespoon butter until just boiling, then pour over the chocolate; let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Add 2 teaspoons vanilla; let stand until cool but still glossy and liquid.

Spoon the filling into a pastry bag with a medium star tip. Insert the tip into the center of each cupcake top; fill until the cupcake is heavier (do not overfill). (It's OK if some of the filling peeks out, it will be covered by the ganache.)  I chose to insert the tip twice, once on each side, rather than just once in the center.  It worked better for me and used up more of the filling.  Be sure that the cupcakes are absolutely cool first.  If you fill them warm the filling kind of melts into the cupcakes and disappears a bit.  Again, this is the voice of experience.

Spoon a little ganache on each cupcake and lightly spread with an offset spatula or a knife. Chill for at least 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the icing: Using a mixer, beat the remaining 1 stick butter, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, the milk and confectioners’ sugar until smooth, adding more milk if needed. Spoon into a pastry bag with a small tip (I used a #2 plain tip); pipe onto the cupcakes to decorate.

Store in the refrigerator. Make 20-24 cupcakes depending on how evenly you distribute the batter.


Be sure and check out Heather's round up of all the other Sugar High Friday posts at the end of the month.  Also, you may want to check out Jennifer of The Domestic Goddess and her links to past Sugar High Friday round ups.


  1. These look exactly like the Hostess cupcakes I used to eat and love as a kid. Great job. They probably taste even better because they're homemade.

  2. They do taste better than Hostess....seriously, they are AMAZING!!!! Katie, you need to open up a bakery. =)

  3. Thanks Renee! A bakery would be way to much work for me, and way to many accessible calories ;-)


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