Thursday, August 16, 2012

Homemade Hostess Cupcakes

Over the last week, my family has gotten a bit sarcastic with their food requests.  On Monday, I asked, "what dessert recipe would you like to see me make next?"  With a bit of a smirk, I got a quick reply that they wanted "Hostess Cupcakes".  I think they were joking, but I was up for the challenge.

I located a recipe online at the Instructables website by @karenchoward.  Thankfully, I already owned most of the ingredients.  The only thing I needed to obtain was marshmallow fluff. (does anyone keep that on-hand? I guess I do now!)  I quickly got to baking.  Good thing because I was up until almost midnight working on this one!

Keep in mind that this recipe is amazing, but it is not a quick one.  It contains many steps, and if you are missing an ingredient (like fluff.....) it can add even more time.  This is not a spur of the moment baking endeavor.  That being said, it is potentially one of the most delicious "knock off" recipes that we've ever tasted!  Not only was the flavor spot on for a Hostess Cupcake, but the texture was indescribably Hostess.  This recipe is a keeper!

Ingredients for Cupcakes

  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup of water

  • Directions for Cupcakes

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a sharp knife and a clean, dry cutting board, chop the chocolate and butter into small pieces. Place the chopped chocolate and butter into a large bowl. 

    In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs, but do not combine the eggs with anything yet. Just set them aside.
    In a small saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil. Make sure the sugar is fully dissolved. Working quickly, pour the sugar and water mixture into the large bowl with the chocolate and butter.  Stir until the chocolate and butter are melted.  When the mixture has cooled a bit, add the vanilla and mix until combined.

    In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Using an electric mixer on medium speed, add the lightly beaten eggs to the chocolate mixture and beat until combined. Mix in the dry ingredients.
    Fill lined cupcake tins with batter about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch from the top. I had enough batter for 18 cupcakes. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool completely.
    While the cupcakes are cooling, start working on the filling.

    Ingredients for Filling
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 cup marshmallow cream (fluff)

  • Directions for Filling
    In a clean bowl, cream the butter until it's light and fluffy. Beat in 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. Add vanilla and 1 tablespoon of heavy cream and beat until smooth. Continue alternating powdered sugar and cream and continue to beat.  Once all combined, beat in the marshmallow cream.  Fill a pastry bag with the filling and stick in the fridge.  (Note: the filling is very messy until it's cooled a bit.  It will likely start flowing out of the pastry bag if you've already cut off the end, so work fast and fill it over a bowl.  I used a medium star tip to fill the cupcakes)  While the filling is chilling, make the ganache.

    Ingredients for Ganache

  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • Directions for Ganache
    Using a sharp knife and a clean, dry cutting board, chop the chocolate into small pieces. Put the cut up chocolate in a medium bowl.  In a small saucepan, melt the cream and butter over medium-low heat and barely bring to a boil.  Once the liquid reaches a boil, pour it over the cut up chocolate.  Using a whisk, stir the mixture until the chocolate melts.  Stir in the vanilla, and whisk the mixture until it is smooth and glossy. 

    Now, it's time to put it all together!  Remove the pastry bag of filling from the fridge and pipe some of the filling mixture into the center top of each cupcake.  You should insert the star tip about halfway in and pull back a little.  Then start to fill just until the filling starts to appear at the top of the cupcake.  I had just enough filling for my 18 cupcakes. 

    Once filled, check to make sure that the ganache has cooled enough that it can be spread on top of the cupcakes.  You don't want it too hot that it runs right off, but you don't want it so cool that it won't spread.  Use your judgement.  I waited about 15 minutes to achieve the right spreading consistency.  Now, cool the cupcakes in the fridge so that the filling and ganache sets.
    You may have noticed that there was something missing-- where are those cute little white swirly things on top?  Well, we thought that they were unnecessary.  We didn't think they'd add too much taste, and this recipe was already so many steps, that we didn't have any guilt omitting them.  If you want the swirls, I would use any white buttercream recipe.

    We stored these cupcakes in an airtight container in the fridge, but we found that they tasted best when taken out about 30 minutes prior to consuming.  The texture was not "cakey" like most cupcakes.  It had that moist, yet grainy texture that hostess is known for with these tasty treats.  Overall, we rated this a 5 out of 5 stars, and will definitely be making this again!



    1. If you run out of marshmallow fluff, the creamcheese farmer cupcakes are always great substitutes. I will gladly come over to eat them.

    2. Not to be silly, but what the heck is fluff? Is it really food? Not that I want you to have to put more steps in to something but, I mean, couldn't you make that too? I am not denigrating your recipe, not at all. I think I lived on Hostess cupcakes in High school. I just don't have the inclination to make something that I have to run out to buy ingredients that are weird unnatural food. But good on you to do this challenge! I made my version of ragout of chicken last week and enjoyed it all week. I served mine with a little pasta. Yum.

      1. I somewhat agree, Toni! I was definitely hesitant on the "fluff". I actually had marshmallows in the house, and did a bunch of research on how to make my own fluff. I paced around my kitchen for about 10 minutes debating if I should "buy or make" the fluff. Making fluff would have added a whole bunch of corn syrup to the recipe, which would have likely altered the sweetness of the filling, and since it was about 10pm at that point, I made the decision to buy the fluff. Best 99 cents I ever spent! Okay, maybe not "the best", but it felt like it at the time.

    3. haha, Toni! 'Fluff' is a spreadable marshmallow (processed food) and you don't like marshmallows >_< I've got some fluff and usually have it in a PB-sarnie... I like the idea of filling a cupcake! Will you be making Twinkies next? I tell ya the canoe pans are hard to find. Bill found me a whole Twinkie pan 'kit' which is pretty cool. I have a bunch of Hostess recipes and the Twinkie ones turned out so great I haven't even tried the recipe that came with the 'kit'. Also I usually opt for filling mine w/ strawberries but the Fluff sounds pretty awesome, too! Happy Baking!

      1. I think I know what Toni is getting for Hanukkah this year! 8 crazy days of fluff!