This is the most requested recipes of one of my clients – they absolutely loves these cupcakes – but I’ve never had the opportunity to eat one myself. Finally, there’s an occasion worthy of this absolutely delicious but time-consuming treat: the Super Bowl.
Sadly, my favorite team da Chicago Bears had a disappointing season but I’m still looking forward to a nice afternoon watching overly-produced commercials with friends. So long as there’s good food.
Back to the cupcakes. These are delicious – did I mention that yet? They’re rich, chocolatey, moist, and the creamy buttercream filling just melts in your mouth. Oh, and let’s not forget the chocolate ganache that boosts an already phenomenal dessert into a gastronomic experience. Yes, I went there.
It’s hard to remember exactly where this recipe came from, I think it was actually the Food Network, and I’ve made several changes to it since. I wouldn’t go so far as to say the recipe is challenging, simply time-consuming with many components. You could even take it a step further and decorate the ganache top with sprinkles or add the white swirl the Hostess version is known for.
I’m actually thinking about playing around with the flavors next time I make this recipe. Maybe add mint flavor to the ganache or buttercream? Mini-chocolate chips to the filling? Or even mocha flavoring?* Let me know your suggestions.
Even more than their taste, these cupcakes offer a sense of nostalgia for me. I used to the enjoy the individually-wrapped Hostess version as an afterschool snack as a kid (I can’t believe my mom bought stuff like that for me; she’d never do that now), but looking back those don’t even come close, as in not in the same neighborhood, as the homemade version. If you were a fan of Hostess, these will blow you away!
*Note: The coffee in the cupcake batter is very subtle, mainly just there to enhance the chocolate.
Homemade Hostess Cupcakes – makes 24
1 1/4 cups cake flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup strong, hot coffee
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 325F. Line muffin tins with paper cups; set aside.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on high speed until doubled in volume, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sugar and beat for 2 minutes until well-combined. Add the eggs one-at-a-time, beating until each is incorporated. Continue beating until light and fluffy.
With the mixer running on low, add 1/3 of the flour mixture. Pour in the buttermilk and vanilla, then another third of the flour. Add in the coffee, then the remaining flour. Use an ice cream scoop fill the muffin tins halfway and bake 15 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set on racks to cool.
To make the buttercream filling, beat the butter in an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy and doubled in volume. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the confectioners’ sugar. Increase speed to high and beat until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a medium, smooth tip. Insert the tip about 1/3 the way into each cupcake and pipe in the filling until the cupcake expands and the filling reaches the top (be careful not to add too much filling or the top of the cupcake will crack).
For the chocolate ganache, begin by placing the chopped chocolate in a small bowl (I like to use a glass 2-cup measuring cup). Pour the cream into a small saucepan and set it over medium-low heat to scald (the cream will just begin to bubble, but be careful it doesn’t boil or it will burn). Pour the cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 1 minute, then whisk until smooth. Let the ganache sit for 5 minutes until it becomes slightly thick but still liquid. Dunk the top of each cupcake into the ganache to coat; use a spoon to fill in any holes or sides that didn’t get covered. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to set. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.