May has been a pretty big month at 711. Neon has survived 12 months as a San Francisco resident, Trucker is moving out (after almost 9 years, sniff!) and we have three new roomies moving in… Brooklyn, Mapper and Plaid. To commemorate such notable events we (Neon, Techno, Trucker, Mapper, Brooklyn, Plaid and myself!) all invited friends over for a ‘Big Ol’ 711 Party’, requiring attendees to either dress up as/bring something you would find at a 7-Eleven. During the course of the night we were lucky enough to receive numerous goodies including 40oz’s of Colt 45, Nutter Butters, Drumsticks and Scratchers. We even managed to get our hands on a large quantity of 7-Eleven to-go cups as an elegant way to serve our keg of Bud Light (we tried for Miller High Life, but alas, the store was all out…)
For the icing on the cake (literally!) I decided to make homemade hostess cupcakes; an American convenience store favourite. Hindsight is a wonderful thing… I now understand why people buy these cakes, rather than bake them – it’s a seriously long-winded process! But I will say, the final result was pretty damn delicious, so it was worth the effort. For entertainment value, I dressed up as a hostess cupcake to serve the cakes to our partygoers (amazing what you can do with a black dress and white ribbon!). The only downside to this, is that most people didn’t put two and two together, they just thought I was a crazy English girl covered in curly white ribbon. You win some, you lose some! At least there was a unanimous agreement that my homemade cupcakes kicked the store-bought versions arse. Thank goodness for that!
Homemade Hostess Cupcakes
Serves: About 15 cupcakes – I doubled this recipe to make 30 for the party
Preparation time: A whole afternoon!
Baking time: 18 – 20 minutes
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 3 large egg whites
- 2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup heavy cream, warmed in a saucepan
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking tray with cupcake cases.
- Whisk the flour with the cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- In a large bowl beat the butter for 2 minutes until smooth and creamy. On medium speed gradually add the sugar, beating until light and smooth (approx. 5 minutes).
- On low-speed beat in the eggs and yolk one at a time, followed by the vanilla.
- Add the flour in 4 additions beating well after each one. Drizzle in 2 tablespoons of the hot water at a time, mixing briefly until a smooth batter forms.
- Fill the cupcake cases with 1/4 cup of batter each. Bake for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick comes clean from center. Cool in pans on wire rack 10 minutes then remove and cool completely on wire racks.
- Take a knife / piping tip and cut a whole out of the center of each cupcake. Set aside and make the filling.
Beat egg whites together until light and frothy using an electric stand mixer with the whisk attachment. With the mixer running, slowly pour in 2 tablespoons sugar; beat until soft peaks form.
In a small saucepan, combine 1/3 cup water, corn syrup, and remaining 2/3 cup sugar. Place over medium heat and cook until boiling. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly, until mixture reaches the firm-ball stage, about 242 to 248 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 10 minutes.
With the mixer on low, slowly add hot syrup to egg-white mixture. SLOWLY is the operative word here… do not have any small children or animals around either! Increase mixer speed to high and continue beating for 4 minutes. Add vanilla and continue to beat until mixture looks like marshmallow cream, about 1 minute more.
Transfer to a pastry bag with a wide tip. Stick the tip down into the center of each cupcake and squeeze out 1-2 tablespoons of filling.
- Bring the heavy cream to a simmer in small saucepan. Pour over top of the chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl. Allow to sit 2-3 minutes then whisk until smooth. Dollop a big spoonful of ganache over top of each cupcake and spread from edge to edge using the back of the spoon. Allow to set for about 15 minutes.
- Take the remaining filling and change the tip on the piping bag to the smallest one you have. Draw circles in a line over the top of each cupcakes. It helps to practice a few times first!