Something you should know about me: I'm a cupcake fanatic.
There. The first step is admitting you have a problem, right? Anyway, with this cupcake fanaticism that I suffer from comes the need to bake cupcakes and eat cupcakes anytime I can, regardless of worries of weight gain or unhealthiness. It doesn't matter. Cupcakes are the sacred dessert to me.
I usually try to bake a cake for everyone in the office when it is their birthday. It gives me an outlet for baking and a reason to bake, without the guilt of having to eat the goods all by myself. I can practice recipes and know that they are going to a good cause: the bellies of my coworkers. For some reason, I find it interesting that as of late I associate cakes with the men and cupcakes with the women. Is a cupcake really more feminine than a cake? Doubtful, but they are daintier, just like women (usually). Hence, cupcakes for a female's birthday this week.
Now, I have to admit that as usual, I didn't make this recipe up myself. I got a little help from Sunset magazine (Okay. A lot of help.). But I have made it so many times that it has nearly become my signature in cupcake baking.
I was lacking in time when I baked these tasty little cakes, so I chose to go the route of the cake mix. Don't sue me! Cake mix can be very handy when dealing with cupcakes. I would NEVER use a cake mix for a normal cake (unless it was a decorating practice cake). However, these cupcakes are all about presentation and what's in the middle that counts, so I used a cake mix. I believe I went for the Pillsbury Devil's Food mix. Most cake mixes contain pudding so they will almost always be moist, unless you TOTALLY forget them in the oven. Not good. Never, under any circumstances, leave a cake alone for the last 10 - 20 minutes of its baking time. Most of the time, it will bake much more quickly than the time states it will. Cookies are okay if overbaked. Cakes and cupcakes are just down right raunchy.
So never overbake your cakes....even if from a cake mix.
I have used the recipe from the Sunset site, but didn't love it. I would suggest finding a good Devil's Food recipe to use if you don't want to use the Sunset one or a cake mix, but make sure to make Devil's Food.
Let those little cupcake guys cool before moving on to the next step.Cupcake filling:
Your first step should now be to cut a cone out of the center of each cupcake. Be sure not to dig too deep or near the sides or you will bust out the sides. Not so good if you don't want sticky fingers. The Sunset magazine says to cut a 3/4" cylinder out. I say try a cupcake out and see how much you want to cut and go for it. Practice makes perfect, right?
After the tops are cut off you are left with a hollow cupcake. Now the fun part!
Take a plastic decorator's bag or even a Ziploc bag and scoop your marshmallow creme into the bag, cutting a small hole at the end to allow it to come out. DO NOT attempt to use a spoon to scoop marshmallow creme into the cupcakes. It won't work and you'll just be left with a big, sticky mess.
Squeeze the marshmallow creme into each hollowed out center, allowing a little room on the top for the top of the cupcake to sit upon.
Don't forget to have a little snack of marshmallow creme before tossing the bag.Taking the tops you cut out recently, cut off the excess cake with a knife, leaving only a thin shell to go back onto the top of the cupcake.
Cupcakes after putting the top back on shown below.Cupcake Icing:
Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese - room temperature
1/2 stick butter - room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
6 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa
In a stand mixer (or hand mixer) on low speed, cream together the butter and cream cheese until well blended. Slowly add the cocoa to the mix, then the powdered sugar until well blended. Crank that baby on high and make it fluffy and smooth...usually about 2 minutes.
Now, the Sunset recipe tells you to sift your cocoa and powdered sugar together. Fine. But that's just a lot of work you don't need to do. For one thing, if you buy a 10X sifted powdered sugar, like Domino, your sugar has already been sifted 10 times (hence the 10x). It's pretty darn fluffy.Also, the recipe called for 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar. Dudes. Have you EVER measured powder sugar? No. Because it's too fluffy and there's too much air in it. Basically, one 1 pound box of Domino 10x powdered sugar contains 4 cups. I used the whole box because I like my cream cheese frosting to be a little sweeter and more dense. However, I add it slowly in order to make sure it does not become hard to work with. You will have to do a little fine tuning with your frosting recipe to come to a similar (or different) conclusion. Don't worry...it's nearly impossible to mess up as long as you use the right ingredients!
For this batch of cupcakes, I chose to spoon the frosting into a decorator's bag and use a star tip instead of the normal spreading of the frosting. It all looks good. And they will eat it. I added chocolate jimmies this time to give it a little spark. Everyone was very impressed with the star tip frosting and it only took me an additional 15 minutes (if that).
Presentation is key.