These hostess cupcakes from Pastry Queen Parties are simpler to make than you’d imagine and, given the excitement they always inspire, they certainly are worth the effort–especially for Halloween! You’ll need a pastry bag with a number 10 tip to inject the cream filling into the center of the cupcakes.
From Pastry Queen Parties by Rebecca Rather and Alison Oresman
Makes 2 dozen standard cupcakes
11/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
1 cup high-quality unsweetened cocoa (such as Green & Black’s or Scharffen Berger)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup boiling water
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup or corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of kosher salt
To make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease standard-size (3-inch-diameter) muffin cups with butter or cooking spray, sprinkle with flour, and knock out the excess.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. In a bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, melted butter, eggs, and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and whisk until combined. Add the boiling water and whisk until the batter is smooth. Evenly spoon about 1/4 cup of batter into each of the prepared muffin cups, filling about 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and cool on wire racks about 20 minutes before filling and icing.
To make the cream filling: Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the 1 cup butter and powdered sugar on medium-high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the 1/4 cup whipping cream and beat for 1 minute more. Set aside.
To make the icing: Set the chocolate in a bowl. In a saucepan set over medium heat, bring the 1/2 cup whipping cream to a gentle boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, stirring constantly until it melts completely. Stir in the syrup, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and pinch of salt. Let the icing cool for about 20 minutes before spreading over the cupcakes.
To assemble the cupcakes: Using a spoon, fill a pastry bag fitted with a round number 10 tip three-quarters full with the cream filling. Set the cupcakes upside down on a work surface. For each cupcake, push the metal pastry tip into the center of the bottom of the cupcake three-quarters of the way in, squeezing filling out as you go. Refill the pastry bag as needed and repeat with each cupcake. (There will be extra filling; you’ll use it to decorate the tops of the cupcakes.) Turn the cupcakes right side up and use a spatula to ice their tops. Let the icing harden for about 15 minutes.
To finish: Embellish the top with curlicues of the leftover filling piped with the same number 10 tip; 2 or 3 plumpish curls will fit on top of each cake. For a more authentic look, spoon the leftover filling into a plastic sandwich bag, snip off a tiny corner, and squeeze out the filling to make 5 or 6 thin curls on each cupcake.
Do It Early: The cupcakes can be made, filled, and stored on a tray or platter and covered in plastic wrap up to 1 day in advance without refrigeration. Covered and refrigerated, they’ll keep 2 days. Ice before serving.
Tip: No buttermilk? Here’s a substitute: put 1 tablespoon lemon juice or distilled white vinegar in a liquid measuring cup. Add enough milk to measure 1 cup and stir. Let the mixture sit for about 15 minutes; stir again.