While out shopping last week, I saw an issue of Cook's Country Best Country Recipes at the register. So what, right? Wrong. So, so wrong. Seducing me from the cover of the magazine was a dazzling, yet nostalgic photograph of what I instantly recognized as Hostess Cupcakes. There was absolutely NO mistaking the velvety chocolate crumb, creamy white filling and...wait for it...the curlicue icing across the top of the frosted confections.
Hostess, the last few times I've had a Yodel, Ring-Ding, Cupcake or Twinkie (thanks, Tim), I was definitely not transported back to my childhood. Now, I know times have changed since I was a kid and dinosaurs roamed the earth, but what I remembered as delicious little cream-filled cakes wrapped in crinkly cellophane, tasted artificial and worst of all, the consistency of the filling was simultaneously slimy and gritty. Imagine my delight when I found myself back at the grocery store yesterday, only to discover the magazine still on the shelf as though waiting for me.
Cook's is that they test and report on the hits and misses of each recipe before going to press, so I was pretty sure the recipe would be great. And for the most part, it was...except for the marshmallow filling which was well, too marshmallow-y and not at all like the cream filling I remembered. So I tossed out the first batch and went to work adapting the recipe, keeping the excellent cake, but substituting my own whipped cream filling and and pipping. Taddahhhhhh!
|Cut a wedge out of the center|
|Cut the tip off the wedge|
|I used egg whites, cream of tartar and confectioners' sugar for the piping|
Chocolate Cream Cupcakes (Adapted from Cook's Country Best Country Recipes)
(Makes 12 Cupcakes)
1 Cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup boiling water
1/3 cup cocoa powder (I used Dutch Process)
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 Tbsp. instant espresso
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp. Madagascar vanilla
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp. confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp. Madagascar vanilla extract
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. egg white, at room temperature
1 pinch of cream of tartar
1/2 cup plus 2-3 Tbsp. confectioners' sugar
1. Make Batter Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325F. Grease and flour 12 cup muffin tin, or use paper/foil liners. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer whisk water, cocoa, chocolate chips, and espresso until smooth. Add sugar, sour cream, oil, eggs, and vanilla and mix until combined. Whisk in flour mixture until incorporated. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out with few dry crumbs attached, 18-20 minutes.Cool cupcakes in tin 10 minutes, then turn them out onto wire rack and cool completely.
2. Prepare Filling Combine cream, confectioners' sugar and vanilla and whip until fairly stiff.
3. Assemble Cupcakes Microwave chocolate and butter in small bowl, stirring occasionally, until smooth, about 30 seconds. Cool glaze to room temperature, about 10 minutes. As demonstrated in photos, cut cone from top of each cupcake and fill with 1 tablespoon filling each. Replace tops, frost with 2 teaspoons cooled glaze, and let sit 10 minutes.
4. Prepare Piping Fill pastry bag fitted with a small plain tip with piping mixture and, pipe curlicues across glazed cupcakes. Chill until piping hardens up.
Final Assessment: These are un-bleeping-believable. The cake is perfect in both flavor and crumb. The whipped cream filling was a HUGE improvement over the marshmallow filling I'd made the first time around. The main difference is that using real cream requires refrigeration to prevent spoiling. Cupcakes will keep up to 2 days in the refrigerator and up to 2 weeks if frozen.