Friday, November 22, 2013

Hostess cupcakes with homemade fluff filling

When I was a kid, there was a Hostess outlet store in our neighborhood that always had their products on sale for really cheap. My Dad, not able to pass up a good deal, loved to buy me as many hostess cupcakes as my heart desired; and my heart desired lots of hostess cupcakes. I knew he was showing me love by getting me something I liked, and I probably ate one or even two of these every day for 3 years. Even when a friend told me there were some questionable ingredients in them, I ate on, not really caring because they were so darn GOOD. 

I had a method to eating them too. I would first eat the bottom of the cupcake. The most boring part. Then I would eat the cream out of the inside. Finally, I would eat the rest of the cupcake with a much better cupcake-to-frosting ratio. 

You would never catch me eating one of those wrapped things now, or buying them for my kids, but that doesn't mean we have to live without them. Goodies like that are good for the soul, and in moderation we all need treats in our lives. Sometimes I think that is the key to longevity: Really enjoying what you do and stress management. I'll say this over and over again. You don't want to eat cupcakes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. However, as a person who lives to eat, just like my Dad, my quality of life would go down without treats like this in there. I wouldn't want to live an extra 5 years not being able to enjoy myself! I can, however, make them from scratch in my own kitchen, and feel much much better about what I am putting into my body, and the bodies of my kids. 

I didn't chose to bore you with pictures of batter-making. I do want you to see how full I filled the muffin cups though, because they were not too big or to small, and I always have trouble with cupcakes overflowing or looking minuscule. I'd say these are 3/4 of the way full. 

The perfect rise is when they come up over the top of the muffin cup, but don't spill onto the muffin pan. I wish this would happen every time I made cupcakes.

While those cooled, I made my homemade fluff. It does use corn syrup, but I really don't have a problem with corn products. I think they get a bad rap because they are used in so many products that are horrible for you. In my own home, however, it isn't an evil sweetener.  I didn't have light corn syrup so I used dark and was afraid it was going to look brown, but by the time it was all whipped up with the egg whites it came out fine!

Egg whites, corn syrup and salt
 Add some powdered sugar and let the mixer do its thing! It is done after about 10 minutes when it looks like this:


To fill the cupcakes, to make a more "authentic" filling, I should have used some butter and more sugar in addition to the fluff and made a fluff cream. But, I just wanted to use the fluff. I also did not want to dirty my mixer yet again. It was getting enough of a workout that day. I filled a gallon ziplock with the fluff and stuck it in the cupcakes and squeezed out a little until it came out the top.

I didn't feel like the cupcakes were getting enough filling, so I dug some little craters in the next dozen cupcakes. Either way I think they came out fine.

I had to spread the extra fluff that exploded out of the cupcakes on big deal.

It was then covered with chocolate ganach anyway  :). I just used a basic chocolate ganach, which is hot heavy cream and dark chocolate.

If there was any part of this cupcake I was unhappy with it was the vanilla frosting for the decoration. I kind of wish I had just left it off. It was mostly because I was lazy and didn't put it in my mixer, or take the time to get the right consistency. It was a big cooking and baking day, and I was worn out by this point. So the swirls on top didn't come out great and kind of bled. Oh well, they still tasted good.

I used the cup trick again to put my frosting in a ziplock bag for piping.

Gavyn and John got their own special cupcakes
 These are super yummy. Not exactly like their role model from Hostess, but as with most things I make un-processed, I can't expect to get the same results while using whole foods. Hopefully, this is all my kids will know and will never know the difference!

This recipe makes 24 cupcakes, unlike the 12 that is stated in the original recipe. Either that baker ate half the batter or was using really big cupcake pans. I sent most of these to the high school for a bake sale!

Cream-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes
adapted from Babble


1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup hot coffee
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, Dutch process cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together eggs, oil, buttermilk and vanilla and then add into the dry ingredients. Whisk in the hot coffee.
Fill lined muffin cups 2/3 full and bake at 350 degrees F for 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Fill with Homemade fluff (recipe below) and top with chocolate ganach (recipe below) and vanilla icing (recipe below) if desired. 

Homemade Fluff
3 egg whites
2 cups light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 - 3 cups powdered sugar, to taste
1 - 1 1/2 Tablespoons vanilla extract, to taste, or other flavoring

*If using raw egg whites worries you, there are other recipes that use gelatin. I use the eggs from our own chicken and am not worried at all about consuming raw eggs, but it is up to you. 

Combine egg whites, corn syrup, and salt in a stand mixer with whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until it gets large, fluffy, and looking like fluff. Add in the powdered sugar (I just needed 2 cups for the amount of sweet I wanted) and vanilla. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. 

Vanilla icing

2 Tbsp. soft butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar (or more if needed)
1 Tbsp. milk

Mix all ingredients thoroughly, adding more powdered sugar if it is too wet. 

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