Friday, July 16, 2010

The Hostess "Cup" Cake

The Hostess Cupcake. Iconic. Nostalgic. Slightly Waxy. Some of the many descriptions that come to mind whenever someone mentions those little individually wrapped cream filled chocolate cakes. Forget the Twinkie, Hostess even alludes to it being the single most popular snake cake in history, something most people who were young up anytime in the 70's all they way through the 90's can probably attest. Packed in millions of school lunches and probably millions of adult lunches as well, the Hostess Cupcake with its squiggly swirl of vanilla icing on top was for many people a generational snack. Eric's dad loved the things and growing up, so did he. Charisse's mom also has a soft spot for the little chocolate cakes, and mentioned something to Charisse a few days before her birthday. So after some searching around, Charisse hit up the idea of making her own version of the little cake for Monica's birthday and our friend Susan brought the candle. It's a good thing that Charisse decided to make the cake... bigger, because it was a huge hit and darn tasty. 

Two home made cakes with a marshmallow icing in between. Charisse changed it up a little bit going with the marshmallow frosting on the outside as well, accented with a chocolate ganache. The little flip flop didn't seem to bother anyone as the cake disappeared almost before we could get pictures of it. Lesson for all the food photographers out there, when you make a cake for a party, make two. One to photograph, one to eat. If the cake turns out right and you try and telling everyone to wait while while you take pictures you may end up with a shortened life expectancy. I mentioned this candle earlier, but I figured I should tell you a little about it and why it was so neat. This candle, called a "Musical Birthday Cake Candle Sparkler Fountain Flower" is a big plastic lotus flower that when lit erupts into a shower of sparks and fizzlesticks (who knows what a fizzlestick actually is, but it seems to be an accurate description) then the flower opens up and has a candle on each spinning leaf while it plays Happy Birthday. Really was pretty spectacular. Hit the break for some pictures of it and the cake! 

Chocolate Cake
What You Will Need

3 ounces of semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3/4 tsp vanilla

Preheat your oven to 300*

Grease and flour 2 round cake pans, I would suggest using 10 inch pans, I used 9 inch rounds and the batter almost rose out of the pan. 

In a small bowl, pour the hot coffee over the semisweet chocolate, stirring occasionally until the all the chocolate has melting evenly into the coffee. 

In a large bowl, sift together all of the dry ingredients and set aside.

Using your mixture, beat eggs until thickened and a light yellow color. (Note in the picture I used more eggs, I ended up doubling the recipe because of the large amount of people it was going to serve).  So only use 3 eggs for 1 cake.
Slowly add the oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and coffee mixture until well combined.  Slowly add in the dry ingredients and beat until mixed.

Divide batter between the 2 pans and cook about 1 hour to 1 hour 10 mins until a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.  Let cool 10 minutes and invert onto a cooling rack and cool completely.  

Frost with Marshmallow Frosting and drizzle sides with Chocolate Ganache and cut large slices! You guests will LOVE you for it!

Marshmallow Frosting
What You Will Need

4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
4 Tbs water
3 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

In a metal bowl set on top of a pot of simmering water, whisk the egg whites, salt and the rest of the ingredients with an electric hand held beaters for about 7 minutes on high until thick and stiff peaks form. Remove from heat, continue beating until cooled. (note: use frosting the day of! This frosting does not hold up well in the heat! we chilled the cake before transporting it to Charisse's parents house about 10 minutes away. About 1/2 way there the frosting starting to break down and melt.  Keep cake chilled and it will be just fine. Next time, we will frost cake at the party location!)

Chocolate Ganache
What You Will Need

1/2 lb. semi sweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs light corn syrup
2 Tbs unsalted butter (cut into small cubes)

In a small saucepan, bring the cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over low heat until all the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat, add the chocolate and whisk until it is melted.  Add in the butter and whisk until melted and incorporated.  Cool until the chocolate sets up a bit. I wanted to drizzle it over the sides of the cake, so I wanted it thick but still a bit saucy.  

adapted from


  1. Hey! Thanks for stopping by. Just a note on the size of the slice from my "funfetti cake" - that was cut by the birthday boy...its your birthday.. have cake! :p I made the same frosting for that cake that you did for this one. I loved it... although I think your application is much more suiting for that type of frosting. I'll definitely remember the chocolate cake combination.

    Love, Wendy Z

  3. wow that's some cake!!! looks great and i'm sure it tasated great too