Thursday, September 1, 2011


Yesterday was my brother-in-law Jerrod's birthday. I told him I wanted to make him a cake or cupcakes since I've been wanting to try new recipes and enjoyed decorating my rainbow cupcakes. I wanted to make something easy. I found some cool cupcake wrappers at Hobby Lobby that claimed you don't need a muffin pan to bake cupcakes in these wrappers. They claimed that they would hold their shape if you just fill them with cake batter, put them on a cookie sheet and bake like normal. They lied. Look at these abominations!

WhatThe. Fudge

Me: Jerrod, your cupcakes came out all jacked up.
Jerrod: lol
Me: Tell me what you want - I will make anything. Anything at all.
Jerrod: (10 minutes later) Cream filled cupcakes.
Me: (thinking: what the crap!? I can't make those! What is he thinking!? I'm going to tell him no.) You mean like Hostess Cupcakes? Chocolate cupcake with cream in the center and frosting on top?
Jerrod: Yeah, that's kind of what I was thinking.
Me: (cursing. thinking: fudge that! Who does he think I am? Rosie from Sweetapolita??) Um. K.
Jerrod: That sounds really good.
Me: (thinking: of course it does. I'm not Betty Crocker. Wait... does Betty have a recipe for that?)

I immediately Googled "Hostess Cupcake Recipe". The second hit was this fabulous blog: Bake at 350. She got the recipe from another fabulous blog, Loves To Eat, who got the original recipe from the Food Network Magazine, page 107 of the Feb.March 09 issue.

From Bake at 350

From Bake at 350
Oy to the vey. They looked delicious! Scrumptious! Fabulous! Decadent! To die for! I told Jerrod I would make them. Come to find out, he was joking about the whole thing. He didn't think you could make cream filled cupcakes.

I was stressing out. I made the abomination cupcakes on Monday night and we were going to celebrate his birthday on Tuesday night. I had to work on Tuesday until 2:30, so right after work I rushed to the nearest grocery store and bought the ingredients for the Hostess cupcakes. I got home at 3:00, ran inside with the groceries, and frantically dumped ingredients into my Kitchen Aid to get them done before 6:00-ish, since we were going to meet Jerrod at Applebee's to celebrate his birthday even though his birthday was on Wednesday, not Tuesday.

Ok. Wait. Back up. This is where it gets really confusing.

What Jerrod thought was the plan:
His girlfriend and my best friend, Erin, was travelling to Chicago this week for a work event. Jerrod was going to drive down to Chicago on his birthday, Wednesday, and would bring her back up to town for the weekend. Adam and I wanted to celebrate his birthday with him, so we told him to meet us at Applebee's on Tuesday, the day before his birthday.
What actually was the plan, and went down:
Erin actually flew into Chicago on Tuesday, rented a car and drove to my house immediately after she landed (three hour drive, mind you!). Jerrod thought she was arriving in Chicago around dinnertime.
Erin helped me with the last-minute details on the cupcakes while I sent Adam to get balloons filled with helium. 
The three of us met up at Applebee's to set up decorations and waited for Jerrod to arrive.
Erin was sitting at the table, but the balloons were blocking the line of sight to the entrance so he didn't see her right away. Muhahaha!! Oh, and he loved his card!
Here are some pictures of the final product, three hours in the making!

Our waitress, Amanda, was awesome and our friend Kirstie was working that night. They came out and sang to him to add to the embarrassment factor :)  We gave them a cupcake for helping out.

The birthday boy:

As for the recipe, I made a few notations for myself that I thought may be useful to others. Next time I will probably halve the icing recipe - there was SO much left over.


Homemade Hostess Cupcakes
(adapted from Food Network magazine, modified by Lovestoeat, Bake at 350, and me)

For the Cupcakes
1 & ¼ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon coarse salt
1 & ¼ 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 extract
3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 cup marshmallow crème

For the Ganache
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
½ cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Icing (may need to halve)
1 stick unsalted butter
1 & ½ - 2 tablespoons milk
2 cups powdered sugar
¼ tsp vanilla

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350. Place paper liners in muffin tin for about 20 cupcakes.

Prepare 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 a large bowl; add the chocolate and butter and let sit, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture has cooled slightly. Stir in the vanilla.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

Using a mixer, beat the eggs into the chocolate, then mix in the dry ingredients.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans (about ¼ cup batter per cupcake, fill liners more than ½ full) and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 22-25 minutes. They will sink in the middle… they'll puff up when filled later.

Cool in the pans for about 25 minutes, then transfer cupcakes to a rack to cool completely.

For the filling: Using a mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Beat in ½ cup powdered sugar. Add the vanilla and 1 tablespoon heavy cream; beat until smooth. Beat in the remaining ½ cup powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons heavy cream in batches, alternating after each addition. Beat in the marshmallow crème. Spoon the filling into a pastry bag with a medium star tip. Set aside or refrigerate.

For the ganache: Place the chocolate in a stainless-steel bowl (I used a glass 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.

Once cupcakes are completely cooled, use the filling in the pastry bag and 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.

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, ¼ teaspoon vanilla, the milk and powdered sugar until smooth, adding more milk if needed. Spoon into a pastry bag with a small, plain tip (#2 works well); pipe onto the cupcakes to decorate.

Store in the refrigerator. Best when chilled at least an hour.

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