kickin’ it old school

everyone has their favorite old-school lunchbox treat. oatmeal creme pie had my 7-year old heart. (and at times, my 23-year old heart)

for a teachers’ luncheon at my brother’s middle school, i decided to make this updated version of the classic hostess cupcake: deeply chocolatey, cream-centered and topped with that signature swirl. perhaps this will be the very treat to strike a nostalgic chord in someone else’s inner child.

this recipe included many firsts for me. my first time making seven minute frosting and my first time filling cupcakes. i quickly realized there’s more than one way to fill a cupcake and decided to test out two methods:

(a) the cone method, which involves angling a paring knife in the top of the cupcake to hollow out a cone

then cutting the tip of the cone

and recapping the top after filling the cupcake

(b) the piping method, in which you insert a star-tipped piping bag into the top

and squeeze until the cake feels slightly heavier

in this side-by-side comparison,

(a)     (b) 

i likened (b) the piping method as it was both easier and neater (less crumbs and easier to dip in the ganache later). if you are partial to creme filling though, go for the cone method.

Homemade Hostess Cupcakes

  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee 

(1)  Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line 2 12-cupcake tins with wrappers.
(2)  In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. 
(3)  In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry.
(4)  With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir to combine thoroughly, making sure to scrape to the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula (batter will be thin).
(5)  Pour the batter into the cupcake pans about 2/3 full (do not overfill) and bake for 16-18 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then place them on a wire rack to cool completely. 

Seven Minute Frosting:

  • 2 large egg whites
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

(1)  Combine all the ingredients with a pinch of salt in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Beat with a handheld electric mixer at high speed until frosting is thick and fluffy, 6 to 7 minutes.
(2)  Remove bowl from heat and continue to beat until slightly cooled. Reserve 1 cup of the filling to use for piping the swirls on top of the cupcakes at the end.
(3)  Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, fill each cupcake with the frosting (using either method shown above).

Ganache:
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz. semisweet chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

(1)  In a small saucepan, heat cream until steaming. Remove from the heat, add chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes.
(2)  Add the butter and stir until smooth. Transfer the ganache to a small bowl.
(3)  Once all the cupcakes are filled, dip the top of each cupcake into the ganache. 
(4)  Spoon the reserved frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a very small plain tip (I used a no. 3 tip) and pipe swirls or any design across the top of each cupcake.

Makes 26-28 cupcakes

fun fact: each hostess cupcake has precisely 7 ‘swiggles’ piped on top. next time you eat one, count them. or make your own and pipe as many swiggles as you want!

and to all the teachers out there…

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2 thoughts on “kickin’ it old school

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