From the time I was small, I’ve been a big fan. Come to think of it, the original Hostess Cupcake may have been the start of my cake obsession. I really like cake, “good cake”, as the Barefoot Contessa would say.
I saw these little knock off cupcakes all over the web and I knew I wanted to try to make one. When I saw that Cook’s Country had a rendition all their own, I knew this would be the version I would try first. Their recipe did not disspoint. The cake is so tender and moist. I think I will actually start using it as my go to chocolate cake recipe (when my cake doesn’t have to be stacked or loaded with frosting – because I don’t know if this cake has the tensile strength to stand up to much frosting.)
The only problem I had with these cupcakes is that they looked like everyone elses. How do you make something so great, just different enough to add your own “signature”?
As I thought about how I could do this, a popular poem kept coming to mind….
By Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Not that my version of these cupcakes have or will make any huge LIFE differences for me or anyone else for that matter but they certainly can represent the opportunity. No one can know for sure where our choices will take us but even if the choices seem insignificant, like changing the pattern of icing on a cake, they may just make all the difference. We’ll never know unless we take that road.
Makes 18 cupcakes
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup boiling water
1/3 cup cocoa powder (natural unsweetened)
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon instant espresso (optional)
¾ cup sugar
½ cup sour cream
½ cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons water
¾ teaspoon unflavored gelatin
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups marshmallow crème
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees and adjust oven rack to middle position. Grease and flour wells of 18 muffin cups or put in paper liners.
- Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
- Whisk water, cocoa, chocolate chips, and espresso (if using) in a large bowl until smooth. Add sugar, sour cream, oil, eggs and vanilla and mix until combined. Whisk in flour mixture until incorporated.
- Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out with few dry crumbs attached, 18 to 22 minutes. Cool cupcakes in tin 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack and cool completely before filling or frosting
- Combine water and gelatin in large bowl and let sit until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Microwave until mixture is bubbling around edges and gelatin dissolves, about 30 seconds. Stir in butter, vanilla, and salt until combined. Let mixture cool until just warm to touch, about 5 minutes, then whisk/stir in marshmallow cream until smooth; refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes. (I let mine sit overnight and then when I was ready to put it into the cupcakes I just stirred it up to loosen it a bit.
- Transfer 1/3 cup marshmallow mixture to pastry bag fitted with small plain tip; reserve remaining mixture for filling cupcakes.
- Microwave chocolate and butter in small bowl, stirring occasionally, until smooth, about 30 seconds.
- Cool glaze to room temperature, about 10 minutes. Hollow out a cone from top of each cupcake and fill cupcakes with 1 tablespoon filling each. Replace tops, frost with 2 teaspoons cooled glaze, and let sit 10 minutes.
- Using pastry bag, pipe curlicues (or center road marks) across glazed cupcakes. Serve. (Cupcakes can be stored in airtight container at room temperature for 2 days.)
Notes: Cooke’s Country advises to use the cone method to fill the cupcakes because the cake is so light. Piping the filling into the cake will compromise it’s stability and the cupcake will fall apart.
Source: Adapted from Cook’s Country: Chocolate Cream Cupcakes