Monday, December 8, 2008

Classic Creme Filled Cupcakes---The Easy Version

I'm on a dessert jag! Last week was short-cut chocolate mint brownies, this week, homemade creme filled chocolate cupcakes...also made easy. As a kid I adored Hostess chocolate cupcakes. You could keep the Twinkies, the Snowballs, and especially that awful vanilla version of the cupcakes. I was a chocolate nut even then...and those cupcakes were my favorite.

One day I was watching John Barricelli's PBS show, Everyday Baking. John is the host of the show, plus is the owner of the fantastic SoNo Baking Company in South Norwalk, Connecticut. I met him a couple years ago while writing a magazine article on bakeries, and was hooked on both his amazing breads, desserts, and also the show. This particular day, John featured a homemade version of my beloved Hostess cupcakes. Naturally, I had to give them a try. Also naturally, I cheated by using a good quality boxed chocolate cake mix for the base (Cook's Illustrated rated the butter-based Betty Crocker mixes the best). I'm sure his may be a bit more decadent, but I have to admit that even this short-cut version was delicious. It is all in his filling, which was straightforward to make. A little practice with a pastry bag (or a ziplock bag with a corner snipped off) and you're in business.

Indulge in a childhood favorite!

Creme Filled Chocolate Cupcakes

Makes 24 cupcakes

1 box dark chocolate cake mix

1⅓ cups water

½ cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 - 7.5 oz jar marshmallow Fluff

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare the cake batter by combining the dry mix with the water, oil and eggs.

Use a electric mixer to combine until smooth (about one minute).

Grease 24 muffin tins with butter and flour (remove excess flour by gently tapping the tin). Evenly distribute the batter among the tins.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out from the cake clean.

Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then gently remove from tins, and continue to cool on a wire rack.

Using a melon baller, scoop a piece out of the bottom of each cupcake, reserving the piece (which will later plug the hole).

Hollow out a bit more of the cupcake and set aside.

Repeat with remaining cupcakes.

To make the filling, place butter and Fluff in a medium bowl.

Whisk with an electric mixer until combined. Chill for 15 minutes.

Place cream into a large ziplock bag, and cut a ¼ inch opening in one corner (to make a mock-pastry bag).

Pipe cream into the hole in each cupcake, being careful not to overfill.

Replace cake “plug” and turn right side up.

Using the same cream, pipe a zig-zag design on top of the cupcake, to resemble the Hostess cupcakes.

Repeat with remaining cupcakes.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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