Bryan and I went to Vegas this weekend for a friend's 30th birthday. Not wanting to come empty-handed and also knowing our group of 18 would want some late-night (or early morning!) eats, I brought two boxes of homemade Hostess cupcakes. Contrary to the store-bought variety, these Fauxstess cupcakes are entirely homemade; the cupcake, ganache, filling, frosting, everything. Which means they taste way better than the store-bought alternative and if you practice your piping skills, look just as good!
Chocolate Cupcake Ingredients:
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons brewed coffee
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup bread flour
- 1 cup good cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
Seven Minute Frosting Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces good semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar or 1 tablespoon white corn syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 egg whites
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Make the Cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners (I used foil liners to get a more retro look). In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and both sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Stop mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the eggs one at a time on medium speed. Once the eggs are incorporated, add the vanilla and mix well.
Measure butter and sugars into bowl of electric mixer
Beat butter and sugars until fluffy, about 5 minutes
Scrape down sides of bowl and add eggs, one at a time
In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, yogurt, and coffee. In a third bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
Combine buttermilk, yogurt and coffee
Sift together dry ingredients
On low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until blended. Fold the batter with a rubber spatula to be sure it's completely blended.
Mix dry and wet ingredients until combined
Divide the batter among the cupcake pans (1 rounded standard ice cream scoop per cup is the right amount). Bake in the middle of the oven for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Transfer to cooling racks and allow to cool completely before frosting.
Divide batter among 12 cupcake pans
Bake for 15-20 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack.
Make the Ganache: Heat the cream until it just comes to a simmer. Remove from the heat. Place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Pour the cream over the chocolate. Allow to sit for about 10 to 15 seconds. Then, whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Allow to cool slightly, stirring occasionally. Mixture should be a little thick, but still pourable.
Add chocolate chips to heated cream, let sit for 5 minutes
Make the Seven Minute Frosting: Place sugar, cream of tartar or corn syrup, salt, water, and egg whites in the top of a double boiler. Beat with a handheld electric mixer for 1 minute. Place pan over boiling water, being sure that boiling water does not touch the bottom of the top pan. (If this happens, it could cause your frosting to become grainy). Beat constantly on high speed with electric mixer for 7 minutes, afterwards beating in the vanilla. Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitting with a 1/4 inch tip.
Mix frosting ingredients over double boiler for 7 minutes
Completed seven-minute frosting
Assemble the Cupcakes: There are two popular methods for getting the fan-favorite Hostess "filling" into the cupcakes: the "cone" method and the "piping" method. While I have to say I prefer the piping method (in which you gently push a 1/4" piping tip into the top of the cupcake and pipe a small amount of frosting), this time I experimented with the cone method. The To accomplish the cone method, use a small, sharp knife (e.g. paring knife) to cut a small cone from the top of the cupcake. Pipe the frosting into the opening and seal with the "cone."
Remove small "cone" from top of cupcake. Pipe in filling.
Replace "cone" tops until snug.
Once the cupcakes are filled and the cone is replaced, dip the top of each cupcake in the chocolate ganache to thoroughly coat. Note: As you can see, the cone method creates a small bump on the top of the cupcake, but it is almost unnoticeable once dipped in the ganache. I personally prefer the cleaner look of the piped method.
Dip tops of cupcakes into ganache to coat.
Once all the cupcakes are covered with ganache, use the frosting piping bag to pipe tight, continuous curlicues onto the top of each cupcake. Let set for a few moments before serving or just dig in! You've got yourself Fauxstess cupcakes!