I was never actually into the Hostess cupcakes that much as a kid. I was definitely more of a Nutty Buddy type. Wafers plus peanut butter plus fake chocolate tasted fabulous!
Now I prefer to bake stuff from scratch when I can, mainly because I like to know what’s in the food I’m eating and it’s weird that something can last for years on a shelf. Time for a copycat version that’s homemade!
This week’s Reddit bake challenge was childhood favorites. Hostess Cupcakes have been around quite a while and look really monochromatic and cool. My husband fondly remembers eating the rubbery chocolate layer off them first as a kid, so I’m going to assume these count as a childhood favorite 🙂
Your cupcake base is a FABULOUS chocolate cake recipe simply in cupcake form. I actually use this particular recipe for all my chocolate cakes because it’s so good. Don’t be afraid of the instant espresso; you won’t taste it and it just intensifies the chocolate flavor.
Each little cake is filled with a simple 7-minute frosting, cooked over the stove and whipped. The recipe for that is here. Save your leftovers after filling them, cuz you’ll need it to pipe the little swirly on the top to decorate. They aren’t the real deal without the swirl 😉
They are all topped off with a 2-ingredient ganache. I used bittersweet chocolate chips, but I bet you’ll get an even more “authentic” flavor if you use semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips instead. Let them sit in the fridge for about 10 minutes to firm up the ganache, and pipe your curly-cues on top for the finishing touch with the leftover frosting.
(Weird measurements in the recipe are from scaling it for exactly 12 cupcakes; we definitely didn’t need 24 of these sitting around 🙂
The finished product really does taste amazing, and we had exactly none leftover from the dozen we made. There’s something SO satisfying about whipping up something that’s typically made in a factory 🙂
Copycat Hostess Cupcakes
A homemade twist on the classic childhood favorite!
Chocolate Cupcake Recipe
Preheat oven to 350 and line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large measuring cup, combine the milk, vegetable oil, vanilla, and 1 egg.
Using a mixer, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until combined.
Bring the 1/2 cup water to boil and add the espresso to it. Immediately add this to the batter and mix until combined. It will be thin and watery.
Fill each cupcake liner with about 1/4 cup of batter.
Bake about 18 minutes, until toothpick stuck in the center is mostly clean. Let cool in tin for 5 minutes, then remove and cool completely on a rack.
When your cupcakes are cooled, get started on the 7-minute frosting. Recipe I used is up above in instructions, but any basic 7-minute frosting would be fine.
If your cupcakes have a dome, use a serrated knife to shave a bit of the top off and level them. Now core out each cupcake for the filling. I just use a small metal veggie peeler and carve out of a little rough circle shape from the center of the cupcake. Fill with frosting.
Place your chocolate in a small bowl and set aside.
Bring your heavy cream just barely to a simmer and take off the heat.
Pour heavy cream over chocolate and cover the small bowl with a lid. Set aside for 3 minutes to soften the chocolate.
Using a whisk, gently mix the cream and chocolate together in one direction, not vigorously. It will eventually come together in a smooth, glossy, beautiful ganache.
Let cool for a few minutes until firmed up just a bit for spreading over cupcakes. I used an offset spatula to spread it just to the edges; dunking the whole cupcake upside down in the ganache resulted in a mess, so I would avoid that way with this recipe 🙂
Put the ganache-covered cupcakes in the fridge for 10 minutes to firm up the ganache. Make the swirl on top using the leftover white frosting.
Leb-a-who?? Lebkuchen, i.e. German gingerbread cookies. The baking theme this week (see https://www.reddit.com/r/52weeksofbaking/) was Germany. I’ve always been interested in all things Deutschland related. With 2 years of German language in high school and a love affair with marzipan, I am almost German, right??
I also happen to have a brand new sister-in-law from the UK that brought my attention to Lebkuchen. According to all-knowing Wikipedia:
Lebkuchen or Pfefferkuchen, is a traditional German baked Christmas treat, somewhat resembling gingerbread.
These lebkuchen are soft when they first come out, but quickly harden and become more crisp as they cool. Eating the cookies plain was a bit underwhelming to me, but the chocolate on top converted me 🙂 There is a reason most pics of Lebkuchen are smothered in icing and it’s because they are definitely tastier 🙂 Having something on top adds moisture that seeps into the cookies and softens them up nicely.
Lebkuchen (German Gingerbread Cookies)
Spiced German gingerbread cookies iced with either powdered sugar or bittersweet chocolate.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Add the molasses and corn syrup to your melted butter and stir. Set aside.
Mix your flour, brown sugar, spices, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
Add your butter mixture to your dry ingredients and mix well.
Add your eggs one at a time and mix well after each addition.
Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon, drop spoonfuls onto your cookie sheets, leaving about 2 inches between them for spreading.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on a rack before icing.
To make your chocolate icing, melt your chocolate and coconut oil together either in the microwave or over a double boiler on low heat.
Add your melted chocolate to a piping bag, snip the tip off, and pipe in a swirl fashion. Start from the inside and work your way out to the edge for half of the cookies.
Decorate with almond slices while chocolate is still wet. You can also take a few almonds and drag them through the excess melted chocolate to set aside for later.
To make your white icing, mix your powdered sugar with a few tablespoons of water to get a flowing icing consistency. Either add a bit more water or a bit more icing to get the thickness you want.
Add your icing to a piping bag, snip the tip off, and pipe in a swirl fashion to the other half of your cookies.
You can either add plain almond slices to the wet icing or use the chocolate dipped almond slices you made earlier for a nice black/white contrast.
Recipe inspired by Just Like Oma.