Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hostess with the Mostess

Hostess with the mostess.
Hostess Cupcakes were probably the best thing in my dad's lunch box when he was a kid. As they were in so many kids lunch boxes back in those days (wink wink). So in honor of his birthday my sister and I made him homemade Hostess cupcakes. By saying my sister and I, I mean mostly me but she would get mad if I did not give her the credit deserved. So yes my sister and I made Hostess Cupcakes. Aren't we cute?

We did research for these cupcakes. We were not going to just make a boring chocolate cake with a plain ole' whip cream center and chocolate on top. So we came to a final conclusion. A devil's food cake and vanilla center from Baking Bites and the chocolate top I mixed a combination of chocolates, butter and light corn syrup. But first, let's start with the batter.
Making the batter for the cake was not hard at all. However, I made a mistake with the first step. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. The butter had to get to room temperature and my sister kept wanting to just mix it already so once the butter was ready, I combined the sugar, butter, and all three eggs into the bowl at the same time to take picture. Whoops. But it did work out perfectly I just kept the mixer running a little longer. So if you ever make the mistake...DON'T WORRY! We all have Dumb Blondie moments my sister says.
Now the next step was to fill these beauties with creme. The creme proposed some questioning. Should we use marshmallow fluff? Do we add whipping creme instead of regular milk? How much sugar to the right consistency? I finally decided to go use Baking Bites's recipe for a vanilla creme as a reference. It looked delicious.

The first step is to heat milk (1/2 cup) and flour (3 tablespoons) until it is the consistency of a thin pudding and then to strain it. Seems easy enough right? Wrong. I had to make it twice. The first time I used a whisk to stir which was unable to get to the mixture on the bottom. Also I did not mix the flour and milk together before it hit the heat which could be the cause of the clumps. After it reaches thin pudding consistency, Baking Bites said to strain it. But since all of the lumps I felt that not enough mixture went through. I covered that one and let it sit (room temperature).
While it was sitting I made another concoction of the milk and flour but made sure it was mixed before the flame and used a spoon instead. I got more juice out of this one so once both were room temperature I decided to use the second one.
Besides the whole milk and flour incident, making the creme was relatively easy. Toss a stick of butter and some sugar into the mixing bowl and creme until light and fluffy (nothing unusual there). Then add the milk and flour mixture and vanilla. Crank up the speed on the mixture and set the timer for 7 minutes. I stopped and scraped the bowl down twice in this process. Once its done get your pasty bag ready with either Wilton tip #230 or #3 (or whatever works for you) and fill with the creme. It does not look like a lot. I thought was going to have to make another batch because I had a lot more then 24 cupcakes.

I happen to have the cupcake filling tip made by Wilton. But no fret if you don't have it because Wilton tip 3 would work as well, and that one is more common to have.To fill, place the tip about 2/3 of the way into the cupcakes and squeeze until you feel it, then begin to lift up. This might take some getting used to with the first few cupcakes. The picture on the left was one which exploded, too much filling (pshh as if that could happen). But I did have enough creme to get through all of the cupcakes (plus some for me and my sister to eat before, after and well during)

The third step in these cupcakes was the topping. Something that hardens but is still fudgy. We have this chocolate ganache type of recipe which turned out to be a balanced combination of fudgy while retaining it's shape.

For the chocolate mix 4 oz. of chocolate (I combined milk, bittersweet and semi-sweet to get the perfect flavor. It was about 1.5 oz. of milk, 1.5 oz. of semisweet chocolate chips and 1 oz. of bittersweet.) with 3 tablespoons of butter and microwave for a minute. Stir and add 1 tablespoon of light corn syrup. That's it.
Now take a filled cupcake, turn it over and place it in the chocolate mixture. Let it run off a little and twist to avoid getting a point at the top. Repeat with all of the cupcakes.

Let the chocolate set and make a white icing. My sister mixed some confectioners sugar with a few drops (about 1/2 a teaspoon) of whipping cream (its what we had on hand) and about a tablespoon of light corn syrup. Add more sugar or milk until a thick drizzle consistency. Place in a piping bag with tip #1 and pipe the swirl. Feel free to practice on the wax paper first.

How pretty? Only disappointment was that I should have put more creme in the center of each. I recommend doing that.

recipes follow...

with love and cupakes,

Devil’s Food Cupcakes with Cream Filling (adapted from Baking Bites)
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2-oz dark chocolate
1 cup water, boiling
Preheat the oven to 350F and lightly grease two 12-cup muffin tins.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in eggs one at a time, followed by sour cream and vanilla extract.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Add half of flour mixture to the butter mixture, followed by the sour cream and vanilla extract, followed by the addition of the rest of the flour mix. Stir well between each addition and mix until no streaks of flour remain.
Stir the cocoa powder and the dark chocolate into the boiling water (easiest in a large measuring cup). Pour chocolate water into the rest of the batter and stir until uniform.
Evenly distribute batter into prepared baking cups. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the cakes spring back when lightly pressed. (It’s fine if you can’t fit both trays into the oven at the same time, just wait until one batch finishes before putting in the second pan)
Turn cupcakes out onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting and filling.

Vanilla Cream Filling (adapted from Baking Bites)
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 scraped vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract
Whisk together the flour and milk and cook in a small saucepan over medium heat until thick. This will only take a few minutes. Sir continuously to prevent the mixture from clumping and do not bring all the way to a boil. When thickened (consistency will be that of a thin pudding or custard), strain with a mesh strainer into a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool completely to room temperature.
When the milk mixture is cool, cream the butter (or shortening) and sugar together in a medium bowl until lightl. Add in the milk/flour mixture and the scraped vanilla bean seeds (or vanilla extract) and beat at high speed with an electrick mixer for 7 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape into a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip, or a large ziplock bag with the corner cut off, and set aside until ready to fill your cupcakes.
Chocolate Ganche
4 oz. of chocolate
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup

Microwave the chocolate and the butter for 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Add corn syrup and stir.

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