Wednesday, February 1, 2012

"Fauxstess" Valentine Cupcakes

Get it?  Fauxstess?  These Hostess-like chocolate cupcakes have a fluffy marshmallowy filling and a rich, glossy ganache topping, just like the store-bought variety....only better! 

I decorated these with fondant hearts and pink swirls a la Hostess.  I wish I had a picture of the yummy filling inside, but these cupcakes are being gobbled up by my 1st grader's class.  (It's their teacher's birthday today!  The jumbo cupcakes is for her.)  I did not even get a single bite of these little treats.  Bummer for me.  ;)

There are many delicious recipes for chocolate cake on the internet, but I went with my reliable and delicious go-to chocolate cake recipe, which is actually a doctored-up cake mix recipe.  (Thanks Cake Mix Doctor!)   I scooped 24 regular sized cupcakes and one jumbo cupcake from this recipe.

 Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

1  package devil's food cake mix
1 small box instant chocolate pudding
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs

 Beat together cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, water, oil, and eggs in a mixing bowl on low for 1 minute.  Scrape down sides of bowl and beat on medium for 2-3 minutes.  Bake according to cake box directions for cupcakes or cakes.  Cool completely before filling and decorating.

For the filling, I used a 7 Minute Frosting recipe. Don't be intimidated by the words "double boiler".  Just use a metal bowl that's larger than a saucepan.  Fill the saucepan with about 1 inch of water and bring to a simmer.  Put your metal bowl over the saucepan, and make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water.    Place your frosting ingredients in the metal bowl while keeping the water at a simmer in the saucepan below.

7 Minute Frosting

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
2 egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Place sugar, cream of tartar, corn syrup, salt, water, and egg whites in the top of a double boiler (or your metal mixing bowl). Beat with a handheld electric mixer for 1 minute. Place pan over boiling water, being sure that boiling water does not touch the bottom of the top pan. (If this happens, it could cause your frosting to become grainy). Beat constantly on high speed with electric mixer for 7 minutes. Beat in vanilla.  Use immediately.  Serve cakes and cupcakes on the same day this frosting is made. 

Set aside 1/4 cup of the frosting to be used to make the swirls on top of the cupcakes and cover with a damp papertowel.  To fill the cupcakes, use an apple corer to remove about a 1 inch deep core from the center of the cupcake.  Spoon the filling into a piping bag or large ziploc bag.  Snip off about 1/2 inch of the tip of the bag and squeeze the filling into the holes you've cut into the cupcakes.  Trim about half of the cake core that you just removed and replace the top.  Repeat with all of the cupcakes.

After you've filled all the cupcakes it's time to dip them in ganache.  "Ganache" sounds so fancy, and you might think it's difficult to make or work with, but don't be scared---it's SO easy!  There are only four ingredients, and you'll be so impressed with yourself.  :)   It's best to let the gananche cool for a little while so it thickens up, so it's a great idea to make this while your cupcakes are cooling, before you make and assemble the filling in the cupcakes.  By the time you've completed those steps, the gananche will have cooled and thickened to the perfect consistency.  Behold, the unintimidating recipe:


3 tablespoons light corn syrup
6 ounces heavy cream
12 ounces dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small saucepan combine the corn syrup and heavy cream. Bring to a simmer and add the chocolate. Remove from the heat, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes.  Stir until smooth. Add the vanilla extract.  Poor into a deep-sided bowl to cool and thicken for dipping your cupcakes.

I actually used semi-sweet chocolate chips because I had them on hand.  I prefer sweeter chocolate anyway, so this suited my cupcakes just fine.  :)   To dip your cupcakes, simply lower them into the gananche and dip just to the paper liner.  Raise up and allow the excess to drip off.  Place dipped cupcakes on a cookie sheet or platter and refrigerate for 30 minutes or so to allow the ganache to set.

For the swirl on top, use the remaining 7 Minute Frosting that you'd set aside, and pipe loop-dee-loops on top of the chilled cupcakes.  Again, you can use a piping bag with a small round tip, or just use a sandwich baggie with a teensy bit of the corner cut off to make a small hole.  Whatever works for you!

I hope you enjoy making your own Fauxstess Cupcakes!  Decorate them for Valentine's Day with sprinkles or pink swirls, etc.  Have fun!


  1. I know you're used to applause but I'm sorry, nothing but nothing is better than a real Hostess cupcake.

  2. Lulu, try them first, before you decide! :P