Monster Snacks: Hostess Cupcake… Of Epic Proportions

25 07 2010

For some reason this is the only good picture I have of this...

So, this is the (too) long awaited monster snack.  This four tier monstrosity is a replica of a Hostess Cupcake.  Right down to the cream filling.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera to document the making of or final product so this is the only picture of it that I really like because I’m not showing the other side with the crappy squiggles…

Anyway, since I cannot show you the process this thing went through to become what it is, I will share what I learned from this.

First off, I learned that I should probably write down the recipes I need if they are linked off of one blog post.  The idea for this cake came from this blog by Nicole Weston.  I loved her step by step tutorial so much so that it’s the reason that I didn’t want to do it again.  I would not do as well as she did.  However, I wish she had copied recipes onto the page for the cake.  So, because of that, I’m going to post recipes here.  These are all from Nicole’s blog Baking Bites.

Chocolate Cake – Double this so you have four layers.

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tbsp vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups cold water
1 tbsp coffee powder (I didn’t use coffee powder, instead I brewed two cups of coffee and let it cool down.  It has a more mocha-y taste, so whatever is your preference here.)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans, line with circles of parchment paper, and grease again.
In a large mixing bowl, mix flour, sugar, cocoa, soda and salt. Make three wells in the flour mixture. In one put vanilla; in another the vinegar, and in the third the oil. Dissolve the coffee powder in the cold water (or just use cold coffee for a slightly more mocha taste) and pour the water over the mixture. Stir until smooth. Divide evenly into prepared pans.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool in pans on wire racks for 15 minutes. Turn cakes out of pans onto a plate (or another rack), remove parchment paper, and reinvert onto racks to cool completely before frosting.
If storing overnight before frosting (they can be made a day ahead), just wrap completely in plastic wrap and keep at room temperature.

Cream Filling

Vanilla Cream Filling
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 cup milk (low fat is fine)
1/2 cup butter (or trans fat-free shortening)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 scraped vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk together the flour and milk and cook in a small saucepan over medium heat until thick. This will only take a few minutes. Sir continuously to prevent the mixture from clumping and do not bring all the way to a boil. When thickened (consistency will be that of a thin pudding or custard), strain with a mesh strainer into a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool completely to room temperature.
When the milk mixture is cool, cream the butter (or shortening) and sugar together in a medium bowl until lightl. Add in the milk/flour mixture and the scraped vanilla bean seeds (or vanilla extract) and beat at high speed with an electrick mixer for 7 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape into a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip, or a large ziplock bag with the corner cut off, and set aside until ready to fill your cupcake.

Chocolate Frosting

1/4 cup butter
1 cup chopped semisweet chocolate (or chocolate chips)
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup milk (lowfat is fine)
1 tsp vanilla extract Melt together butter and chocolate in a medium-sized, microwave safe bowl. Work in 30 second intervals, stopping to stir frequently, and continuing until the mixture is smooth. Let cool slightly (about 3-5 minutes).
Add in confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla and beat on medium-high speed with an electric mixer until smooth.

None of these recipes are mine!  The only reason that I’m reposting them is because of my own stupidity/confusion when baking this cake.  There were more than one recipe for both the vanilla and chocolate frosting and I kept getting confused.  So, I figured I would make it easier on anyone that wants to try this by putting these all in one spot.

Okay.  So, we established that I cannot figure out what’s going on when there are too many web pages open…

So, the next thing that I learned was that some cake pans look like they’re the same size and might even actually be the same size, but the cakes will bake differently and end up different sizes if you are not careful.  This wouldn’t have been such a big problem if the cake weren’t a) four tiers and b) frosted with a thin frosting.  If you only have one or two pans, I would bake one/two layers, clean the pan(s) and repeat until four layers are achieved.

That is definitely something I realize now should have been obvious, but I had four pans that were the same diameter, but different materials, so I figured it would be okay.  If you look carefully enough you will see that it kind of really wasn’t.

Now, to the filling.  When make the filling, I would double it because of a few reasons.

  1. Even though I kept more icing than was recommended for the squiggle, but I still ran out.
  2. I stuffed some cake back in when I couldn’t fill it all the way so bits of cake fell out as we cut it.  That isn’t a huge problem, but I’m kind of picky.
  3. It’s so damn tasty that you’ll want to eat it by itself.  Seriously.

For icing the outside of this thing, you have to move quickly.  That icing sets up and it looks weird if you try to move it around after it’s kind of filmed over.  Also, I would double this too because it is also very tasty and you will have people trying to scavenge frosting from you while you’re only halfway done icing the cake.  Or if you’re alone you will be eating it.

All in all, this was a fun cake to make and it turned out amazingly.  The cake was really tasty and moist, but the real star of this cake is the filling.  I had people ask me for just the filling recipe so they could eat it by itself.  It is really just that delicious.

I will be posting again soon, so here’s a riddle to hint at what I’ll be writing about next:

What is Beethoven’s favorite fruit?




3 responses

30 07 2010

Oh… gawd. Win.

I’m gonna be making that filling for a cake this weekend actually! (It sounds delicious >_>)

4 08 2010

Yay! I hope it was delicious!

P.S. A famous bakery in Chicago put out a book and it was total crap. I had the only ever baking fail I can recollect. It was seriously depressing until I found out that no one was able to make the cup cakes work.

3 08 2010

I hope it’s ba-na-na-na bread. I love me some banana bread.

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