Friday, January 4, 2013

Gourmet Hostess Cupcakes (and Homemade Twinkies)

OK, I think I'm starting to catch up and can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm only a couple months behind.

It was about two months ago that the big headlining news was that Hostess was going out of business. All of America was in a panic. There was a run on all Hostess products at the grocery store, and people were selling Twinkies on Ebay for ridiculous amounts.

I think I fell into the same category as most Americans. I hadn't eaten a Twinkie, Cupcake, or Zinger in years, but now that they would be no more, I was upset. They were definitely a part of my growing up. Every day at school for years, I could count on some sort of Hostess product in my lunchbox. And, I have many memories associated with them. Katie and I called the raspberry filled powdered sugar donuts "Temple Donuts" because we would pick up a package for the car trip to the LDS temple when we were newlyweds. Ding Dongs and Chocodiles were also some of my favorite Hostess treats. I even remember when they came out with special orange flavored Ding Dongs.

I'm not too worried though. My bet is that some company will by Hostess, and they'll return soon.

In the meantime, I've made my own Twinkies and Cupcakes. I had planned to bring in some of both to work for Ellie's birthday. But, only the Cupcakes made it. The recipe for the Twinkies didn't make enough, and once everyone in the family tried one, or two, there weren't many left.

For the Twinkies, I used the Todd Wilbur's Top Secret Recipes version. I didn't have a Twinkie pan, so I watched his video on how to make Twinkie molds from tinfoil. Most of the Twinkies turned out well, but a few were oddly shaped. However, they all tasted remarkably like the real thing.

Next time I try making them, I plan to make them completely from scratch. Todd Wilbur's recipe uses a cake mix. I want to see if I can kick the "gourmet" level of the Twinkies up a notch.

Yep, they look like the real thing.

I actually think this cream center is better than what you actually find in a Twinkie.
So for Ellie's birthday, I decided to make my own gourmet version of the famous Hostess Cupcake. I was not going to use a cake mix but rather my favorite cocoa fudge cake recipe. Instead of chocolate frosting, I covered them with a ganache. My original plan was to write Ellie's name across the top instead of the trademark loops, but my piping skills are terrible and I was in a hurry. Using white chocolate, I scribbled like a two year-old across each one.

The gourmet Hostess Cupcakes were a bit hit. I thought they were much better than the original. I have plans to make them at Christmas. However, I will practice my piping skills so I can write "hohohohoho" across the top. Clever, eh?

Mmmmm...Hostess-y goodness!
Happy birthday, Ellie!

Gourmet Hostess Cupcakes

Cocoa Fudge Cupcakes
  • 1 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ⅔ cup cocoa
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
Heat oven to 350˚. Grease and flour cupcake pan(s). Recipe will make about 24 average-sized cupcakes. Instead of flour, you can also dust the pans with cocoa powder. 

Beat all ingredients on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Pour into pan. Bake for 20-24 minutes until inserted toothpick comes out clean. 

  • 4-oz. chocolate
  • ½ cup cream
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Chop chocolate into small pieces. Heat cream and corn syrup to a simmer. (I do this in a microwave.) Add butter and chocolate. Stir until chocolate is melted and incorporated. Let cool. To speed this process up, I put it in the refrigerator (or freezer) and stir every so often until it gets to a frosting texture. 

  • 2 teaspoons very hot water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups marshmallow cream (1 7-oz. jar)
  • ½ cup shortening
  • ⅓ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
Combine salt with hot water in a small bowl until salt is dissolved. Let cool. Combine marshmallow creme, shortening, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until fluffy. Add salt solution to the filling mixture and combined. Put into piping bag with a round tip.

Take a thoroughly cooled cup cake and core out the center. I used a vegetable coring tool, but you could use something similar like a very small biscuit cutter, or you could use a small paring knife. Pipe as much filling in as you can. Replace the top part of the core piece. Frost cupcakes with the ganache. I found it actually quite easy to dip them. Let the ganache set up completely before proceeding. Using melted white chocolate in a piping bag with a small round tip, pipe loops across each cupcake.

1 comment:

  1. Curtis,
    I made BOTH of these recipes today for a family party (30 Twinkies and 30 cupcakes) and they were a total HIT! Thanks so much for giving me great ideas and great instructions. You are helping me to become a better cook! I'm going to have to work my way through your blog and try everything.


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