A Passion for Chocolate

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Irish Hostess Cupcakes, Part III: The Icing on the Cake

Okay, so you have the cupcakes and the filling. Now all we need is the icing! I threw together a quick and easy icing from one my favorite cookbooks, Baking by Dorie Greenspan.

Quick Chocolate Glaze (Frosts 10 cupcakes)

3 oz. chocolate (I used Hershey’s Special Dark chips)

1 T. confectioner’s sugar

2 T. butter, slightly softened

Melt the chocolate in the microwave, stirring until smooth. Let cool slightly and stir in the sugar.

Then stir in the butter, until everything is smooth and glossy. Mine was spreadable immediately, but if your kitchen is warm you might need to put it in the fridge for a bit.

Assembling the cupcakes:

Cut a small core out of each cupcake with a small paring knife, put the cores in a bowl – you’ll need them again later. Fill the holes with fluff and use some of your cut pieces to cover the top of the fluff on each cupcake.

Ice half of the cupcakes with the frosting, ice the rest with the remaining marshmallow fluff, reserving 1/2 c. of fluff. Sprinkle the fluff-topped marshmallows with the leftover cake. Fill a piping bag with the reserved fluff and pipe it in swirls over the chocolate frosted cupcakes.

Next time I’m going to try and find some dessert glasses shaped like pints, and put the cake in the bottom with a “head” of fluff on top.

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Irish Hostess Cupcakes, Part II: Honey Marshmallow Fluff

So, we’re on to part two of the great Irish Hostess cupcake project! The cake recipe posted on Monday. I’m not sure I want to think too long about what is actually in the real filling of the cupcakes on the supermarket shelves. It’s super easy and fun to make your own fluff, and you know exactly what’s in it – sugar, just like nature intended. I’ve used honey here because it rounds out the stout nicely. This recipe will give you plenty to fill all the cupcakes plus some leftover. You can do what I did, and use the extra to frost some of the cupcakes or you can make a couple of the world’s best fluffernutter sandwiches.

Honey Marshmallow Fluff

2 egg whites

1/3 c. sugar

1/3 c. honey

1/3 c. water

1 t. vanilla

1 t. unflavored gelatin dissolved in 1 T. cold water

Beat the egg whites on high until you get stiff peaks. Set aside.

Combine the sugar, water and honey in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook to 246 degrees, the firm ball stage.

 

Working quickly, turn on your mixer and beat the hot syrup into the egg whites on medium-high until well-combined. When you’ve poured in all the syrup, add the gelatin mixture and vanilla, turn the mixer to high and beat for another five minutes, until light and fluffy.

 

Now on Saturday just the icing and then we’ll be ready to put it all together!

 


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Irish Hostess Cupcakes, Part I: Guinness Cake

Irish Hostess Cupcakes, Little House by the Dunes

So everyone has been talking about the whole Hostess bankruptcy thing lately, and feeling a little sad that at some point soon they’ll be buying their zingers on the black market. In the name of research, I bought one of the last packages of Ding-Dongs I could find to see if they were as good as I remembered. Sadly, they weren’t. The cake was dry and the filling was tasteless. The chocolate on the outside was the best part. Since so many people already have recipes to mimic the Hostess snacks, I challenged myself to go one better.

I created a light, soft chocolately cupcake made with Guinness Extra Stout. I should hedge this by saying I’m not a beer lover myself, but if you share your house with one as I do – you’ll both love this recipe. The stout keeps the cake from being overly sweet and adds an extra level of depth. Then for the filling I made a marshmallow fluff based on honey, to round out the stout flavor. I finished them off with a quick, dark ganache that pulls everything together. So rather than mourn the loss of dry cupcakes filled with preservatives and half your day’s allotment of saturated fats, bake these and celebrate having something even better! The stout will be noticeable the first day, but after that it will all mellow into a happy blend.

Guinness Cake Recipe (Makes 18 cupcakes)

1 stick butter

1-1/3 c. sugar

2 eggs

1 t. vanilla

2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour

1/3 c. Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa

1/2 t. baking soda

1 t. baking powder

3/4 c. Guinness Extra Stout

Preheat the oven to 350. Cream the butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat until well-combined. Beat in the vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder.

Beat half of it into the creamed mixture until well-combined. Beat in 1/2 of the stout. Repeat with the remaining flour and stout.

Divide the batter between cupcake tins and bake 15-20 minutes, until the center springs back lightly. Cool on a rack. Stay tuned this week for the rest of the recipe!