Monday, January 16, 2012

Celebrating cupcakes

A new episode of Cupcake Wars was aired last night and one of the contestants represented a cupcake bakery from St. Louis!  In honor and support of Chefs Casey Shiller and Dana Holland from Jilly’s Cupcake Bar, I purchase two fabulous cupcakes for Jim and me to eat during the show.  I also skipped lunch and went on a long run in order to indulge in the aforementioned cupcakes…though I’m sure my efforts only put a dent into number of calories that these decadent, monstrous cupcakes (almost 1lb!) contain.

The chefs from Jilly’s have been on, and won, Cupcake Wars previously.  Unfortunately they didn’t make it past the second round this time.  While the loss is disappointing it’s a comfort to know that there are still amazing cupcakes (and brunch!) offered in Jilly’s newly-expanded storefront, such as the ones shown below.

Jilly's Black Forest Cupcake
Jilly's Reese's Cupcake

The Reese’s is a chocolate cupcake filled with peanut butter mousse and chocolate ganache. Chocolate buttercream, peanut butter buttercream and Reese’s chunks generously top this treat, which is also available as a vanilla cupcake.

The Black Forest is a chocolate cupcake filled with cherry pie filling and topped with vanilla buttercream, chocolate shavings, powdered sugar, and a cherry on top!

Jim and I split the two cupcakes so that we could get a taste of each (because you know if I got the better one then I wouldn’t want to share!).  While both cupcakes were incredibly tasty, the Reese’s was a bit too rich and overwhelming; I think a few bites of this cupcake are about as much as I can handle.  The Black Forest is also rich, but the tart cherry filling helps in keeping the sweetness of the frosting from being too much.  Overall these cupcakes are certainly delicious and are absolutely works of art, but I prefer a cupcake that is a bit smaller and more subdued.  So, in the future I will longingly gaze at Jilly’s cupcakes but will travel to The Cup to make a sweet purchase (the Tuxedo is my favorite!).

To end this celebration of cupcakes, I’m including a recipe for homemade “Hostess” cupcakes.  I made these cupcakes for a baby shower in December and was pleased with the results…though the recipe was derived from one found in Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes so it’s not surprising that it turned out well.  I don’t know exactly how I feel about Martha, but I have to admit that she knows her way around cupcakes.

Homemade “Hostess” cupcakes (adapted from Martha Stewart's Cream-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes)
For the cupcakes:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter plus, room temperature, plus more for muffin tins
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for muffin tins (I used Godiva)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter muffin tins and dust with cocoa powder to coat.  Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl; whisk to combine.
Using a handheld or stand mixer on medium, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each is added.  Decrease the mixer to low and add half of the flour mixture followed by half of the sour cream, mix until just combined.  Repeat with remaining flour and sour cream.  Make sure not to over mix!
Fill each well of the muffin tin a little over halfway.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.  Remove from oven and cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes.  After 5 minutes remove cupcakes from pan and continue to cool on a wire rack.

While cupcakes are baking, prepare filling and chocolate glaze.  (Here is where I modified Martha’s recipe a bit…sorry Marty!)

For the filling:
3/4 stick of butter, room temperature
1 jar of marshmallow fluff
1 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp sugar

For the glaze:
2/3 cup heavy cream
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1 tbsp corn syrup

To prepare glaze, heat heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat, making sure not to let the cream boil.  In a separate bowl, combine chocolate and corn syrup.  When cream is hot, pour over chocolate and cover bowl with a plate.  Let sit 5 minutes.  Remove plate and whisk until mixture is smooth.  If the chocolate is not completely melted, microwave mixture for 15-20 seconds at a time, whisking after each round of heat.  If chocolate seems too thick to be able to dip cupcakes, add 1 tbsp of cream and whisk.  Repeat until desired consistency is reached.  Set chocolate glaze aside.

To prepare the filling, beat butter and marshmallow fluff with a handheld or stand mixer until creamed together.  In a separate bowl, beat whipping cream and sugar until stiff peaks form but be careful not to over mix.  (Whipped cream will be ready when you can turn a spoonful upside down and the cream does not slide or fall off.)  Carefully blend whipped cream into marshmallow mixture and transfer filling to a pastry bag fitted with a wide tip.  (If you do not have a pastry bag or a tip then you can make a cone out of parchament paper or even use a ziplock bag.  With either of these options just cut the tip off so that the opening is about as wide as a dime.)

To prepare cooled cupcakes for filling, use a teaspoon or melon baller to carefully cut "plugs" out of the bottom of the cupcake.  Set plugs aside, keeping each plug paired with the cupcake it came from.  After each plug is cut out, use the teaspoon or melon baller to carefully hollow out the inside of the cupcake to make room for the filling.  I would hollow out an area that is about the size of half of your thumb.  Be very careful doing this so that A) the cupcake base doesn't lose its foundation and crumble and B) the plug will fit snugly back into the cupcake.  I wish I would have taken a photo of this but I didn't think to...oops.  (Alternatively, a cupcake hollower could be used but I didn't have one of those so I had to make a melon baller work!)

When cupcakes have been hollowed out, fill 1/2 to 3/4 full with marshmallow filling then insert the cupcake plug.  Dip the top of each cupcake in the chocolate glaze and let excess to drip off.  Set cupcakes aside for 30 minutes to allow glaze to set.  When glaze is set, melt 2-3 oz of white chocolate in a parchament paper cone.  Cut a small tip and use white chocolate to decorate.  Allow white chocolate to set then insert cupcakes into cupcake wrappers, if desired.

So tasty!

Wow, that recipe and description was quite long!  Don't be scared to try this though, I'm just a little wordy, it's not as complicated or time-consuming as I've made it seem.  (Must work on being more concise...)

Hope you've enjoyed this cupcake break!


  1. So glad you posted the recipe. The mini cupcakes you shared were delicious! I plan to make these on an upcoming weekend.

  2. Cute blog, Ashley. Have you tried Sweet Art cupcakes over in the Shaw neighborhood yet? Their spin on cupcakes is all homemade, a lot of vegan, and more reasonable portions. They've also got a pretty tasty cafe menu that changes often, again lots of vegan options but everything I've had there has been really good. :)


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