Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Fauxstess Cupcakes

Whew.  The election is over.  Can't say that I'm happy about the results.....state or national.....but at least I was able to take my kids with me to the polls and exercise my duty to vote. You can only imagine the spectacle we made, me with my gaggle of children, complete with an umbrella stroller holding the baby, maneuvering our way down the length the crowded hallway in the local high school to find our place at the end of the line.  Oh, and there was only a handful of Caucasians in the mix, so we attracted even more attention.  I got some *interesting* looks.  Thankfully, we only had to wait in line for 30 minutes, which is pretty good compared to a lot of people.  
The one upside.....I am more than happy that my phone will finally stop ringing with political calls.  I guess because Virginia was a serious swing state this election, we were completely inundated with calls for at least a month.  (I know, I know....ditch the landline already. We will soon.)  So that's over.  

So what do you do when you're down in the dumps or unhappy?  Do you do the smart thing and go exercise or vigorously clean your house?  Or are you like me and sit down and stuff your face with chocolate? 

My family didn't eat a lot of prepackaged things when I was young, although I do fondly remember the Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls making an appearance occasionally.  Did you know those are really good frozen? Try them sometime.  The filling almost tastes like ice cream.  Anyways.  I don't know if I have ever eaten a real Hostess cupcake, but I can say without a shadow of a doubt that these are better.  

I mean, it's chocolate cake, with marshmallow buttercream hiding in the middle, and ganache.  And we can't forget the whimsical swirl on top - because cute food automatically tastes better. No contest with that package.  

I got the recipe from Annie's Eats - and made them for Annika to take to her Wed. night church class several weeks ago.  While they were a huge hit and everyone loved them, Grant commented that he didn't particularly like the cake part. I thought it was good.....but not my favorite. 

So when it came around for Marissa to take snack to her class a few weeks later, I decided to make them again and use a different cake recipe. We both liked them even better.  Of course, Annie has tons of positive reviews on her cupcakes, so maybe we're just the odd ones.....either way, you can't go wrong.  They're scrumptious. 

Wish I had some around to munch on today.  Guess I'll have to settle for chocolate covered peanuts. 

Fauxstess Cupcakes (cake from Food Network, filling and ganache from Annie's Eats)

2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
12 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups plus 2 Tbs. sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1-1/4 cups water
1/4 cup milk

Filling and frosting swirl:
1 container marshmallow fluff
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
Pinch salt
1/2 tsp. cream or milk

Chocolate Glaze:
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350°.  

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Increase the speed to medium-high and slowly add the sugar.  Continue beating until light and smooth, about 4 minutes.  Turn the mixer off and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Sift the cocoa powder into the bowl and add vanilla.  Beat on medium speed for 1 minute bowl.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute between additions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. 

Combine the water and milk in a saucepan and bring just to a boil.  Remove from the heat.  With the mixer at low speed, add the flour mixture, about 1/4 cup at a time.  Carefully pour the hot liquid into the batter.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a large rubber spatula to finish combining the batter until smooth.

Fill paper-lined cupcake pans 1/2 full with the batter. I ended up with around 30 cupcakes.  Do NOT overfill.  I nearly always do that and I always regret it.  

Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cupcakes comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pan for a couple of minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the filling, combine the marshmallow fluff and butter in a mixing bowl and beat on medium-high speed until smooth.  Blend in the powdered sugar and salt and whip until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes more.  Transfer the majority of the filling mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a medium round tip, reserving 1/3 cup in the mixing bowl.  Blend in the cream to the reserved filling mixture to make it smooth for piping the swirl on top of the cupcakes.  Transfer this to another pastry bag fitted with a small round tip (Wilton #3 works well). Chill until ready to use.

Fill the cupcakes by inserting the pastry tip directly into the center of each cupcake and squeezing in a dollop of the filling. If excess filling comes out of the top, just scrape it off with a knife so the top of the cupcake is essentially smooth. If you overfill too much, the top of the cupcake will crack, so be cautious about that.  

Make the chocolate glaze by placing the chopped chocolate in a small bowl.  Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan or the microwave.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let stand 1-2 minutes.  Whisk together until a smooth ganache forms.  Let cool briefly, about 5 minutes.  Take the cupcakes one at a time and invert them, dipping the top into the chocolate glaze.  Transfer them to a wire rack or baking sheet and let the glaze set.  (You can speed up this process by chilling in the refrigerator.)  Once the glaze is set, use the reserved portion of marshmallow frosting to pipe a uniform swirl across the top of each cupcake.  Store in an airtight container until ready to serve. 

Yum.  The filling is my favorite.  

It tasted so good.....better take another bite.

Can't just leave a chunk of cupcake there....oh, the hazards of cupcake baking.  


  1. I clean when I'm sad or upset. So, I now have a cleaner house, but no chocolate to reward myself for all my hard work, and to boot, I'm still sad =(
    Save me a cupcake, I'll bring the coffee!

  2. Haha, I'm like you: chocolate!! Those muffins look divine.

  3. My Mom baked everything--bread, cakes, cookies etc. But occasionally she would go to the local Hostess Outlet (they must have sold day old goods because I know she wouldn't pay full price) and purchase a sack full of Hostess Cupcakes. Stale or not we thought we had died and gone to heaven. What a treat. I bought one awhile back, smelled that familiar chocolate smell and took a bite. I was excited to bring back a great childhood memory. Sadly all I tasted was a dry cake with very artificial frosting. I should have left my memory alone!
    But, these little gems look like something I could enjoy. Can't wait to try them.
    Thanks for sharing.


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