Saturday, October 30, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

How to Make Homemade Hostess Cupcakes

Making Hostess Cupcakes

These cupcakes are so incredible! (Read: these are nothing like the store bought ones.) And I'm going to teach you my method for making them. I love to share my recipes and I don't believe in keeping recipes secret - until it came to this recipe, that is. I'm not sure why, but this recipe is so perfect and so special that I didn't want to share. But I'm over it, so consider this your lucky day!

{I don't generally have the patience to take step-by-step photos, but I thought I'd try it here because frankly, I don't know how I'd explain the process using only words. Some of the photos are a little blurry, but hopefully you'll get the idea. I have whole new respect for you bloggers who take a picture of every step of a recipe!}

Making Hostess Cupcakes

First, make the retro vanilla filling and the chocolate glaze (recipes follow). These can be made a day ahead. Then bake your cupcakes. I used this recipe (omitting the cinnamon) and it makes about 45 cupcakes. You want a nice flat cupcake, not a domed one. The secret is not to fill the liners too full - 1/2 to 2/3 full at the most. It's always tempting to fill the liners a bit more, but please try to resist!

Making Hostess Cupcakes

After the cupcakes are completely cool, take a thin knife - this $5 Rada tomato knife is perfect - and cut at an angle, with the point of the knife near the bottom center of the cupcake, all the way around until you've cut an upside-down cone shape out of the cupcake. Note: the tomato knife also works wonders on a tomato! This is one handy knife that I use daily in my kitchen.

Making Hostess Cupcakes

See how it comes to a point at the bottom?

Making Hostess Cupcakes

Holding the cone with the pointed end up, slice off the pointed end with your knife. You'll end up with just the top layer of the cupcake plug. Discard (or eat) the cutaway scraps. Rest the "lid" on top of your cupcake and cut the remaining cupcakes in the same manner.

Making Hostess Cupcakes

Here are the cupcakes all ready to be filled.

Making Hostess Cupcakes

Fit a piping bag with a coupler and a medium-sized round tip and fill the bag with your vanilla retro filling.

Making Hostess Cupcakes

Fill the hole with filling ...

Making Hostess Cupcakes

...and replace the top of the cupcake. Press down lightly on the top.

Making Hostess Cupcakes

Your cupcake will now look like this.

Making Hostess Cupcakes

Dollop a spoonful of chocolate glaze on the top of the cupcake and spread it out with a small spatula or butter knife. Let this set for a few minutes before decorating.

Making Hostess Cupcakes

Swap the tip of your piping bag filled with retro filling to a small round tip - around size 3 or so. Using a coupler on the piping bag makes it easy to change tips. Then pipe the characteristic squiggly on top,

Hostess Cupcakes with Chocolate Espresso Glaze

or pipe whatever you like - an initial, stripes, dots, whatever tickles your fancy.

Sloat Cupcakes

I'm pretty sure I could open a shop that sold only these cupcakes and it would be a roaring success...

Eating Hostess Cupcakes

But for now I'll settle for just eating them. Oh, and grab a fork - they're oooey, gooey, and delicious - the perfect meld of vanilla and chocolate with a hint of espresso!

Retro Vanilla Filling

1/4 pound or one stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup or 2oz powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 oz marshmallow creme (marshmallow fluff)

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and salt and blend well. Add the marshmallow cream and beat only until combined. Store at room temperature.

Chocolate Glaze

8 ounces or 1 cup sugar
3 ounces espresso
1/2 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup or 1 ounce unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 cup or 2 sticks butter

In a medium saucepan, bring the sugar and espresso to a boil. Whisk in the chocolates, cocoa powder, and salt until smooth.

Place the mixture in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. On low speed, add the corn syrup and butter. Beat until smooth and cool. Store at room temperature. The mixture should be somewhat liquid so that it makes a smooth icing on the cupcake, but not so runny that it drips down the sides. If it is too stiff, you can microwave it for about 10 seconds once or twice until it is the correct consistency.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Carrot Cupcakes

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Do you remember The Best Carrot Cake Ever? It was, really, the best carrot cake. And it contains no pineapple. For some reason, I always thought it was strange to put crushed pineapple in a carrot cake.

So I made The Best Carrot Cake recipe into cupcakes, but they looked a little plain. And since I was serving three flavors of cupcakes, I also thought it would be nice to let my guests know what flavor of cupcake was beneath that white frosting. With an itty bitty carrot on top, there would be no guessing.

Piping these carrots is really easy. Here's how...
1. Reserve a little bit of the cream cheese icing and color some with green and some with orange (maybe about 1/4 cup or less of each color).
2. Transfer the icing to two small piping bags fitted with small round piping tips. I used a round tip Wilton #3 for the orange and a smaller tip Wilton #2 for the green.
3. Pipe the orange first. Without lifting the tip, start at the top and pipe back and forth in a zigzag pattern, getting smaller each turn until you get to the bottom. Then, with the green, pipe three short lines, starting each line at the edge of the carrot top.

Voila! The cutest little carrot cupcake!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Monday, October 11, 2010

Blueberry Crumb Cake

Blueberry Crumb Cake
You've got to put this recipe into your "to try" file. You have one of those, right? This cake is absolutely delicious! It is perfection on a plate. And it's easy to make. I'm going to try it again today with raspberries. I hope it lasts longer than the blueberry, but I doubt it.

Blueberry Crumb Cake
from Maida Heatter's Cakes

2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

1/3 cup sifted flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 ounces butter

2 cups sifted flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 ounces butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
zest of one lemon
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 375. Butter or spray a 9-inch square baking pan. Coat it well with fine dry bread crumbs.
For the topping:
In a small bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
For the cake:
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Place the blueberries in a large bowl. Sprinkle the blueberries with about 1 1/2 T of the flour mixture. Set aside the flour mixture and the blueberries.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter. Beat in the vanilla and sugar and beat for one minute. Add the egg and beat until incorporated. Add the dry ingredients and the milk alternately in two or three additions, scraping the bowl when necessary.
Stir in the lemon zest and pour the mixture over the floured blueberries and gently fold the blueberries into the batter.
Fill the prepared pan with the batter and even out the top. Sprinkle walnuts over the top, then the reserved topping.
Bake 50 minutes or until top is well browned. Cool in the pan for 30 minutes before serving.

Friday, October 8, 2010

It Happens Once Every Hundred Years...

10-10-10 Cookies

And if you happen to have a birthday on this day, it's an extra-special occasion! Are you ready for it??

The cookie and icing recipes
The bags
The ribbon I found at Wal-mart - large spools for $2 (more than enough for 100 cookies)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Puppy Cake

Puppy Cake

As my home business gets busier, I'm finding that I have less time to try new recipes, although I'm being challenged on other levels - like cake decorating. I'll be the first to admit that I'm no Duff of Ace of Cakes. My cakes lean toward the simpler side - and sometimes they lean to the right or left!

My favorite cake is one that has no decorations - just a homestyle swirled icing with a few birthday candles. But often there is a need for a cake with a little more decor. A trick I use for coming up with simple pictures that can be piped on a cake or cookie is to search for the image in clip art. For instance, for this cake I searched "dog clip art" and looked for a drawing of a dog that I could draw free hand.

I'll try the image on paper first...

Dog/Cat Drawing

...and then try to recreate that image using a piping bag and icing. I think he turned out pretty cute!

The recipe:


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