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homemade hostess cupcakes

hostess cupcakes! the childhood treat, which also happens to be the best-selling snack cake in history (according to wikipedia), is known by its chocolately cake, cream-filled center, + signature squiggles. i ran across some in the grocery store + almost bought them, remembering how delicious they were when i was young. then i thought, hey, i bet i can make a tastier, healthier, more-natural version at home.

while i thought my idea was totally original, a quick google search revealed that many before me had thought the same – there were lots of recipes, blog posts, + pictures devoted to homemade hostess cupcakes. so, i found a recipe that looked good, picked up the ingredients, + got down to business.

the result is insanely tasty. while the recipe is easy to follow, i’ll admit that it has a lot of steps + is fairly time-consuming. but it is completely worth it, i promise. everything about this cupcake is delicious – the cake itself, the rich ganache, + (my personal favorite), the marshmallow filling. also, they’re so darn cute!  i know lots of you are always looking for a new dessert to try – how ’bout these?

homemade hostess cupcakes

makes two dozen cupcakes, adapted from the food network magazine, as seen on what megan’s making

ingredients

for cupcakes

1 1/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 1/4 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 marshmallow filling

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla exrtact
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup marshmallow creme

for ganache

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

for icing on top  **note: i had enough of the marshmallow filling left over to use for the decorative swirls on the top, so i skipped making this icing.

1 stick unsalted butter
1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla

directions

place oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. place paper liners in muffin tin for 24 cupcakes.

make cupcakes

place sugar + 1 cup of water in a saucepan. bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. pour into a large bowl. add the chocolate + butter + let sit, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted + the mixture has cooled slightly. stir in the vanilla.

sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder + salt in a bowl. beat the eggs into the chocolate with a mixer, then stir in dry ingredients.

divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans (about 1/4 cup batter per cupcake) + bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. the cupcakes will sink in the middle slightly. cool in the pans for 25 minutes, then transfer to a rack and cool completely.

for the marshmallow filling

while cupcakes are cooling, make the filling. using a mixer, cream the butter until light + fluffy. beat in 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar. add the vanilla + 1 tablespoon heavy cream + beat until smooth. alternating between batches, beat in the remaining 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar + 2 tablespoons heavy cream. beat in the marshmallow creme. refrigerate until ready to use.

for the ganache

place the chocolate in a stainless-steel bowl. heat the cream + 1 tablespoon butter in a saucepan 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 + liquid.

to assemble

spoon the marshmallow filling into a pastry bag with a medium star tip. insert the tip into the center of each cupcake top; fill until the cupcake is heavier (do not overfill). it’s okay if some of the filling peeks out, it will be covered by the ganache.

spoon a little ganache on each cupcake + 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, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, milk + confectioners’ sugar until smooth, adding more milk if needed. spoon into a pastry bag with a small tip. pipe onto the cupcakes to decorate.

store cupcakes in the refrigerator.