Who remembers their first time biting into a delicious, delightful, mouth-watering, chocolaty, cream filled Hostess cupcake?
Yeah, me too.
After the last edition of Do It Yourself Pinterest Fail? Instagram canvas prints , in which the project sadly bombed, I needed a serious ego boost to throw me back on track. So I turned to by best friend when I get down in the dumps: Chocolate.
I pride myself on my baking ability, and even consider the activity a giant stress-release, so I knew I had this one in the bag.
(Foreshadowing: As with most people who make over zealous statements like that, karma bit me in the butt).
The great idea: Pinner Tracey says the store-bought version of Hostess cupcakes “can’t hold a candle" to her version of the chocolate treat. She says the cupcakes turn out tender, with a rich, dark chocolate flavor and the marshmallow cream filling is the perfect contrast to the super chocolaty cupcakes. She claims they are utterly irresistible, so obviously I couldn’t resist making them.
Cost: This heavily depends on what ingredients you already have stored at home. Because I usually bake at my parents (so I can avoid cleaning up my own mess), I had to buy almost all the ingredients. It came out to about $40 (OUCH!).
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
1 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 large eggs, at room temperature and separated
1 cup canola oil
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
6 tablespoons water
Filling and Swirl Topper
3 cups marshmallow creme
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon half-and-half
5 oz semisweet (or bittersweet) chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
I don’t know about you, but I’m already exhausted just looking at all the ingredients.
(Starting to regret this project in 3...2…)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
Sift the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a medium bowl (I always sift cocoa powder to get rid of any lumps). In a second bowl, whisk the egg yolks, oil, 1 1/2 cups of the sugar, and the water together until well combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and stir just until combined. Add the egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-low speed until foamy, then increase the speed to medium-high, and gradually start adding the remaining 6 tablespoons of sugar. Continue beating until the egg whites form stiff, glossy peaks. Transfer 1/4 of the egg white mixture to the cupcake batter and stir in to lighten (no need to fold too gently yet). Add the remaining egg white mixture, and now gently fold to incorporate, just until you can no longer see white streaks.
Divide the batter among the prepared liners, filling each about 2/3-full. Bake the cupcakes for 17-18 minutes, or until they spring back when lightly pressed. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and allow the cupcakes to cool for a few minutes, then remove them to the rack to cool completely.
While the cupcakes cool, make the filling: Add the marshmallow creme and butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until well combined and smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar and salt and continue beating until the filling is light and fluffy. Transfer all but 1/2 cup of this mixture to a piping bag fitted with a round tip about 1/2-inch in diameter (this is what you’ll use for filling the cupcakes). To the 1/2 cup of the mixture left in the bowl, add the half-and-half, beating until well combined. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip (this is what you’ll use for piping the swirl on top of the cupcakes), and refrigerate.
To fill the cupcakes: insert the pastry tip into the center of each cupcake and squeeze to fill with a dollop of the marshmallow cream. If the filling overflows the top of the cupcake, just scrape it off so the top of the cupcake is smooth.
To make the glaze: Add the chocolate to a heatproof bowl. Add the cream to a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, then pour over the chopped chocolate. Let stand (without stirring) for 1 minute, then gently whisk until the chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth. Set aside to cool and thicken for a few minutes.
One at a time, invert the cupcakes and dip the tops into the glaze, covering everything up to the top of the liner. Lift up and allow any excess to drip off, then flip them over and place back on the wire rack. Repeat with all cupcakes (if at any time, the ganache gets too thick to work with, reheat briefly in the microwave). Allow the glaze to set completely (at room temperature, or if you’re in a hurry, pop them in the fridge). When the glaze is set, use the reserved filling mixture to pipe a swirl
onto the top of each cupcake. Store cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
OK, now I officially regret what I just got myself into. When I say I pride myself on my “baking ability,” what I meant was, I make some awesome Betty Crocker out-of-the-box brownies.
Here’s a quick video recap of (trying) to make the cupcakes:
Cost: I won’t be able to eat for a few days because I blew $40 bucks on ingredients. That’s a lot of money for a few desserts on anyone's budget.
Simplicity: THIS PROJECT WAS NOT FOR BEGINNERS. Sorry, that needed to be yelled.
How’d it turn out? After I spent a few hours breathing my baking anxiety away, I realized that I will never, ever, try to make this dessert again. First off, the actual cupcake was dry to me, as to where the actual Hostess cupcakes are very moist. Several taste-testers said they really weren’t dry, but I believe them to be lying to save me from a breakdown. Secondly, the cream-filled inside didn’t really work. Only a tiny bit actually went into the cupcake, which completely defeated the purpose. The one part that seemed to turn out OK was the chocolate topping. It resembled the original Hostess cupcakes and was delicious. However, as you can see in the picture of my disaster , the look of the cupcakes certainly didn’t turn out right. My 6-year-old cousin could have done it better.
Pinterest version My version
My opinion: If you are not willing to take a huge chunk out of your day to make these devilish cupcakes, I would not advise it. Maybe it’s because I’m more of an amateur than I previously thought, but this project was rough.
Pinterest fail or success? Fail