Hostess cupcakes remind me of road trips. You know...when you're in the middle of nowhere and limited to fast food or gas station food? More specifically they remind me of one particular family road trip: my parents, sister and I were driving through Ontario, Canada on our way to cottage country one summer.
I was a moody, bratty 12 year old which happened to be during the heyday of Dawson's Creek. We stopped for a refuel and I grabbed a pack of Hostess cupcakes (my favorite gas station snack food), and then made a beeline to the magazine section- Joey Potter herself was front and center.
I took the Seventeen magazine to the cash register, only to be shut down by Dad since I wasn't "seventeen."
After having a brief meltdown over the matter, we compromised, and I was allowed to get Teen magazine, which had someone unmemorable on the cover.
I think that my karmic payback came instantly because reading in the car + eating sugary junk food did not mix. I'll let you imagine what happened next.
I've since updated the classic with a strawberry filling which I think pairs marvelously.
AND I know that I'm gonna take heat for this one- but I was totally Team Dawson.
INGREDIENTS: (makes 16 cupcakes)
For the cake:
- 3 oz. semi sweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- ¾ cup hot coffee
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ½ t. table salt
- ½ t. baking soda
- 6 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 2 t. white vinegar
- 1 t. vanilla extract
-Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
-Line standard-size muffin pan with liners.
-Place chocolate and cocoa in medium bowl. Pour hot coffee over mixture and whisk until smooth. Set in refrigerator to cool completely, about 20 minutes.
-Whisk flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
-Whisk oil, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla into cooled chocolate-coffee mixture until smooth. Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth.
-Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups, about ¼ cup of batter in each.
-Bake until cupcakes are set and just firm to touch, 15 to 20 minutes.
-Let cupcakes cool to room temperature.
For the ganache:
- 6 oz. semi sweet chocolate
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 2 t. vanilla extract
-Place the chocolate in a bowl.
-Place the cream and butter in a saucepan and heat until steaming.
-Pour hot cream mixture onto chocolate, add vanilla extract and mix until smooth.
-Cool until cold in the refrigerator.
For the strawberry filling:
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar, packed
- 1 tbsp. heavy cream
- 1 cup marshmallow cream
- 4 tbsp. strawberry puree (blend strawberries with a squeeze of lemon juice until smooth, strain).
-In a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, cream the butter until smooth.
-Add the powdered sugar and when fully incorporated, add the heavy cream and marshmallow fluff and strawberry puree.
-Mix until all ingredients are blended and refrigerate until cold.
-Using a pairing knife at a 45° angle, cut into the top of each cupcake, making a circular cut, about 1” wide. (Make sure to place each cut out next to the appropriate cupcake).
-Using a piping bag, pipe in the strawberry filling to fill ¾ of each hole.
-Cover each cream filled hole with their matching top.
-Spread a generous layer of chocolate ganache over cupcake.
-Replace the piping bag with a small tip, pipe the signature swirl.
-Remove the cake liners and serve!
-Should be held in the refrigerator if made long before serving (so the swirl doesn't bleed).