I tried doing a hostess cupcake before with the filling, but obviously the top wasn’t quite right. I made these for church and decided that the curly que top would look pretty with different words. It would be fun for someone’s birthday or write “I love you” for Valentine’s Day.
I usually can’t find much fault in America’s Test Kitchen recipes, but for the life of me cannot figure out how on earth they got the white icing to work. In the original recipe, they use the marshmallow filling for the topping. Obviously, since it is marshmallow creme it spreads all over the place. And it did even after I tried adding more powdered sugar. Instead some people purchased Wilton icing pens. I made a small batch of buttercream – I guess some people are too lazy to do buttercream, well I’m too lazy to run all the way to the store for 50 cents of icing. I also don’t understand why they used hot water and not coffee, since coffee is much more flavorful. We can fix that Aren’t those cupcakes so pretty though? Look at that height!
The chocolate cake is very chocolatey and has a nice crumb. The cake was incredibly moist and if you don’t like coffee, simply omit the espresso powder. Even when I decreased it from 3 to 2 tsp. you could still taste it faintly.
Recipe adapted from Cook’s Country (America’s Test Kitchen)
If you need just a great, simple chocolate cake recipe – this one is still the simplest and my favorite.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup boiling water
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon instant espresso (decrease or omit optional)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons water
3/4 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
4 tablespoon (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups marshmallow créme
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Drop cupcake liners in to your 12-cup muffin pan. In a small bowl, whisk together the dry stuff: flour, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together water, cocoa, chocolate chips and espresso. Beat until smooth with the whisk – takes about a minute or two. Dump in: sugar, sour cream, oil, eggs and vanilla. Whisk that in until smooth. Add your flour and whisk until smooth again! Divide evenly among the muffin wells. It divided nicely between the 12 and got about 3/4 of the way full. Bake 18-22 minutes. Cool 10 minutes and remove from the pan to continue to cool.
2. Filling: In a large bowl (or rinse out the cake one), mix the water and gelatin and sit 5 minutes. Nuke this in the microwave about 30 seconds and it will start to bubble. Add the butter, vanilla and salt and whisk to combine. Cool about 5 minutes. Whisk in marshmallow creme in until smooth. Put in the fridge for 30 minutes.
3. Glaze: Nuke the chocolate and butter in a small bowl and melt. Stir everyone once in a while and this took about 45 seconds. Cool 10 minutes.
4. Buttercream: Beat the butter on medium until fluffy – about 1 minute. Add powdered sugar and beat on low. When incorporated, add a little vanilla and splash of milk. Beat another 30 seconds. Put in a piping bag or ziplock bag with a small hole. I used a Wilton #2 tip and this worked perfect. #3 might work too.
5. Putting the cupcake together: ATK warns to not pipe in the filling because the cupcake is too delicate. So, I cut out a cone using a small paring knife. Then with a spoon or ziplock bag, pipe in 1 Tb. of filling. Replace the top and gently push down especially around the crumbs – you don’t want the crumbs in your topping. Then, take 2 tsp. of the chocolate glaze and spread gently on top. Finally, pipe the buttercream swirl and you are done! See why I only made 12??