We secretly adore trashy treats of our youth, and while others can have their Ho Hos, Ding Dongs, and Ring Dings, our girlish 10-year-old heart belongs to Hostess Chocolate Cream CupCakes.
Element of distress
Imagine our disappointment upon tasting one recently: Wan chocolate encasing salty whipped shortening.
Line of attack
We vowed to create a homemade chocolate cream cupcake that lived up to our memories with a moist, tender cake with deep chocolate flavor, a buttery filling that wouldn’t dribble out, and a shiny, fudgy glaze. The homemade version had to be easy enough to make so we wouldn’t be tempted to throw up our hands and scour convenience store shelves for a cheap cream cupcake fix.
First order of business: Crank up the chocolate to 11. We mixed chocolate chips (they’ll melt right in) with instant espresso and cocoa powder dissolved (“bloomed”) in boiling water to deepen flavor before combining everything with oil, sour cream, sugar, and eggs, which in turn was then combined with the flour, baking soda, and salt.
Everyone knows that these cupcakes would be worthless without a properly soft, stable, creamy filling. After trying a slew of hopeful attempts (from the silliest, like pushing a marshmallow in each cupcake’s batter, to the fanciest, like a “seven-minute icing” cooked on the stove and whipped), the answer loomed: marshmallow creme. Our starting point was a Fluff recipe for chiffon pie that appeared to have a light yet stable texture. After a little tinkering with gelatin amounts, we were in business with a set but creamy filling.
Let’s load ‘em up. Piping the cream filling into the baked cupcakes caused them to crack; instead, we carved out a cone of cake off the top of each, filled each cupcake using a spoon, and “plugged” the filled cupcakes with the top rounds. A bonus discovery? We could get twice as much filling into each cupcake without a crackup. (Cream queens, you know who you are.)
It wouldn’t be complete without the fudgy glaze and little white curlicue on top. A quick glaze of semi-sweet chocolate chips mixed with butter was appropriately fudgy and firm. Keeping things simple, we piped the same marshmallow filling in a flourish of swirls across each cupcake.
Et voila: Our childhood dream cake, easily realized in our own kitchen.