Month: August 2012

I Want Candy: York Peppermint Pattie Cupcakes

Today marks the start of a series of cupcake recipes that mimic popular candy bars. I saw these ideas in Food Network Magazine a few years ago and knew that I had to try them all. Every Monday for the next six weeks I’ll post a new candy-inspired cupcake recipe — plus a little candy trivia for each.

The first in the series is the York Peppermint Pattie cupcake!

  • York Peppermint Patties are produced by the Hershey Company.
  • The pattie was first produced by the York Cone Company in 1940. The product was sold nationwide after the York Cone Company was acquired by the Peter Paul Candy Manufacturing Company in the 1970s.
  • Peter Paul merged with Cadbury Schweppes in 1978 — and the Hershey Company acquired Cadbury Schweppes in 1988.
  • Production of the York Peppermint Pattie currently takes place in Mexico.
  • A signature of the pattie is the distinctive, yet quiet, noise that it makes when broken in half. [all trivia found on Wikipedia]

York Peppermint Pattie Cupcakes
Recipe source: Food Network Magazine Jan/Feb 2010
Print Recipe

For the cupcakes:
3 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
3-1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the topping:
1 pound (about 4 cups) powdered sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 teaspoons peppermint extract

For the glaze:
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1-1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1. Make the cupcakes: preheat oven to 350F. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners. Put the butter, cocoa powder, and 3/4 cup water in a medium microwave-safe bowl, cover and microwave until the butter melts (about 2 minutes). Whisk to combine, then whisk in the brown sugar.
2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in the warm cocoa mixture. In another bowl, whisk the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla; stir into the batter until just combined but don’t overmix.
3. Divide the batter among the prepared cups, filling each about 3/4 of the way. Bake until the cupcakes spring back when touched, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool in the pans 10 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.
4. Make the topping: Beat the powdered sugar, corn syrup, shortening, and peppermint extract with a mixer until a tight paste forms. Gather into a ball, place between two sheets of parchment paper and roll out to 1/4 inch thick. Use a 2-1/2-inch round cutter or juice glass to cut into disks; reroll the scraps. Place a peppermint disk on top of each cupcake.
5. Make the glaze: Put the chocolate, corn syrup, butter, and 1/4 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl, cover and microwave on 50% power until the chocolate melts (about 2 minutes). Whisk to combine, then cool slightly. Spread the glaze over the peppermint topping, leaving some peppermint exposed. Refrigerate until set, at least 20 minutes. Serve cold.

Makes about 24 cupcakes.

Homemade Hostess Cupcakes

I saved my favorite for last! I LOVE the classic Hostess Cupcake. When I was a little kid my grandma used to treat me to these cupcakes or Ho-Hos for my after-school treat. The first Hostess cupcake was sold on May 11, 1919 (which also happens to be my grandpa’s birthdate – see, all good treats are tied to your grandparents in some way or another!). The filling and the squiggles were added in 1950.

In addition to the classic chocolate version, Hostess also sells Golden (frosted yellow cake with cream filling), Orange (orange-flavored cake with cream filling), and Strawberry (strawberry-flavored cake with cream filling) cupcakes. I’ve always loved the variety that looks like baseballs.

Homemade Hostess Cupcakes
Recipe sources: Family Circle Magazine 2009 &
Print Recipe

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla exrtact
3 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup marshmallow creme

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 stick unsalted butter
1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
2. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk to blend. Combine the buttermilk and the vanilla in a measuring cup.
3. Beat the butter and the sugar in a medium mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium high speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture alternating with the buttermilk mixture, starting and ending with the flour mixture.
4. Divide the batter between the prepared muffin pans. Bake 18-20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

While cupcakes are cooling, make the filling. Using a mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Beat in 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar. Add the vanilla and 1 tablespoon heavy cream and beat until smooth. Alternating between batches, beat in the remaining 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar and 2 tablespoons heavy cream. Beat in the marshmallow creme. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Place the chocolate in a stainless-steel bowl. Heat the cream and 1 tablespoon butter in a saucepan until just boiling, then pour over the chocolate. Let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Add 2 teaspoons vanilla; let stand until cool but still glossy and liquid.

To Assemble:
Spoon the filling into a pastry bag with a medium star tip. Insert the tip into the center of each cupcake top; fill until the cupcake is heavier (do not overfill). It’s OK if some of the filling peeks out, it will be covered by the ganache. (I thought this part would be complicated and I was worried, but it was fine. I had Mike test one of the cupcakes to make sure I had the right amount of filling in it.) Spoon a little ganache on each cupcake and lightly spread with an offset spatula or a knife. Chill for at least 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the icing:
Using a mixer, beat the remaining 1 stick butter, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, milk and confectioners’ sugar until smooth, adding more milk if needed. Spoon into a pastry bag with a small tip. Pipe onto the cupcakes to decorate.

*Makes 20-24 cupcakes. Store in the refrigerator.

Homemade Hostess Sno Balls

If you are a regular reader of this blog you know that I cannot stand coconut. But I had to include Sno Balls in this week’s series! Sno Balls are pink and cute and will forever remind of “Overnight Delivery”, a not-so-great movie from 1998 staring Paul Rudd and Reese Witherspoon. There’s a scene in the movie where they are at a gas station and Reese’s character buys a package of Sno Balls – and a joke is made about how she is the only one on the planet to actually like eating them. Has anyone else seen this gem* of a movie? [And by “gem” I mean cheesy-but-awesome-because-it-stars-Paul-and-Reese-before-they-were-famous]

Sno Balls were introduced in 1947 and originally lacked the cream filling. The cream filling was added in 1950 along with pink food coloring.. to spruce up the formerly white Sno Ball. Other colors besides pink are sold throughout the year: white (during winter), orange (Scary Cakes for Halloween), neon green (Glo Balls for Halloween), green (Lucky Puffs for St. Patrick’s Day), and lavender (Hoppers for spring). [trivia courtesy of Wikipedia]

Homemade Hostess Sno Balls
Recipe source:
Print Recipe

1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup brewed coffee
1/2 cup milk

Marshmallow coating:
1 lb sweetened, shredded coconut
Pink gel food coloring (optional)
1-1/2 packets of unflavored powder gelatin (about 9 grams)
1/4 cup cold water
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup corn syrup
2 Tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Creme filling:
1/2 teaspoon warm water
Dash of salt
Half of a 7 oz. jar of marshmallow fluff
1/4 cup shortening
2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter and flour the wells of 2 mini-rounded cake pans. [I used a Wilton Mini Ball pan from]
2. Sift the cocoa powder, cake flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder together. Set aside. In a medium bowl, beat the butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs one at a time and beat until well combined.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the coffee and milk. Stir half the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Stir in the coffee/milk mixture. Add the remaining dry ingredients and stir to blend. Pour batter into prepared cake pans until 2/3 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes clean, about 18 minutes. Let cakes cool completely before turning the pan over to remove them.

For the marshmallow coating:
1. Pour coconut into a bowl. Mix with a teeny bit of food coloring. Mix well to evenly tint the coconut. Set aside.
2. Place the 1/4 cup of cold water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water, and let set. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and 2 Tablespoons water. Bring to a rolling boil. Fit the whisk attachment to the stand mixer, and turn to low to break up the gelatin. Pour the corn syrup mixture into the stand mixer with the gelatin and beat on high for 4 minutes. Stop the mixer and add the salt and vanilla. Continue beating on high for another 6-8 minutes. Remove bowl from mixer.
3. Using a spoon or an off-set spatula, dip the rounded side of the cakes into the marshmallow. Quickly roll the marshmallow-coated cake in the coconut, making sure to cover the entire marshmallow surface. Place uncoated side down on a sheet to set.

For the creme filling:
1. Combine salt and water in a small bowl. With a mixer, combine fluff, shortening, sugar, and vanilla. Beat until fluffy. Add the salt mixture, and beat until combined.
2. Using a large plain decorator’s tip, pipe the filling into the center of each cake, from the bottom.

*Makes 12-16 servings.

Homemade Drake’s Devil Dogs

Devil Dogs are made by a company named Drake’s, which is owned by Hostess. Devil Dogs are described as “An unfrosted devil’s food cake sandwich with vanilla creme with round edged cake wafers resembling a hot dog.” Sounds good to me!

Homemade Drake’s Devil Dogs
Recipe source: Family Circle Magazine 2009
Print Recipe

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 can (12 oz) whipped vanilla frosting

1. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Combine flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk to blend. Stir in buttermilk egg, and melted butter. Stir with a wooden spoon until just blended.
3. Spoon some of the mixture into a large resealable plastic bag (or pastry bag). Snip a 1/2-inch corner from the bag. Pipe 3-1/2 by 1-inch logs, about 2 inches apart, on prepared pan, about 12 per pan. Bake 12-14 minutes or until firm to the touch. Transfer to wire rack and let cool completely.
4. Spoon the frosting into a second resealable bag. Snip a 1/2-inch corner from the bag. Pipe some of the frosting onto the flat side of half of the cookies. Sandwich with another cookie, flat side against frosting. Continue with remaining cookies and frosting.

*Makes 12 servings.

Homemade Hostess Twinkies

Twinkies are the food we all love to hate… and hate to love. You’re not supposed to eat Twinkies (because they have a shelf-life of 398,408 years! Not quite, but I’ll get to that in a minute) but what human being hasn’t tried at least one? Twinkies are marketed as being a “Golden Sponge Cake with Creamy Filling” – sounds pretty delicious, right?

I can vouch for the fact that the homemade version of this treat really is amazing. They disappeared from my house in less than 2 days!

Before I give you the recipe, here is some Twinkie Trivia for you, courtesy of Wikipedia!

  • Twinkies were invented in 1930 by a man named James Alexander Dewar and were originally filled with banana cream.
  • Hostess released a Fruit and Cream version of Twinkies in 1988 but this product did not stick around long.
  • Banana cream Twinkies returned to the market in 2007.
  • Deep-fried Twinkies are frequently sold at state fairs and ballparks.
  • Urban legend states that Twinkies have an infinite shelf-life, which isn’t true. They are able to stay fresh for about a month and are only on grocery shelves for 7-10 days.
  • College professor Mark Haub went on a Twinkie diet in 2010. He ate only foods that he could find in convenience stores (Twinkies, Oreos, Doritos, etc) and lost 27 pounds over the course of 2 months. He did this to demonstrate to his students that weight loss is about pure calorie counting, not the nutritional value of the food.

Homemade Hostess Twinkies
Recipe source: Family Circle Magazine 2009
Print Recipe

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large eggs
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 to 2 Tablespoons milk

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour Canoe pan; set aside. [I purchased my Norpro Cream Canoe pan on]
2. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Whisk to blend. Heat 1/2 cup water and the butter in a small sauce pan until the water just boils and the butter melts. Remove from heat.
3. Beat the eggs with an electric mixer on high for 2 minutes. Gradually add the sugar and beat until thick and golden, 4 to 5 minutes longer. Fold in the flour mixture until just blended. Add the water and melted butter and stir until just blended.
4. Divide half of the batter evenly among the prepared pan indents, a scant 1/4 cup per cake.
5. Bake 15-17 minutes, or until cakes are golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Invert cakes onto a wire rack to cool. Wash pan and repeat with the remaining batter. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
6. Filling: Beat butter in a medium-size bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar. Add 1 Tablespoon of the milk and beat 5 minutes until fluffy. Add extra milk if the filling is too stiff. Spoon frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip. Remove cakes from pan. Insert tip of the pastry bag into the center of the flat side of the cakes and squeeze. Repeat on either side for a total of 3 spots of frosting piped into the base of each cake.

*Makes approximately 16 servings.