Food Porn

©cookinginmyheels.com

©cookinginmyheels.com

When I posted the picture of my birthday cake a few weeks ago, you may have noticed the little morsel bore a striking resemblance to a circa 70’s snack cake. The person I shared the diminutive pastry with certainly did. “You brought me a Ding Dong!” he exclaimed. Those with even a mildly furtive imagination can guess how the shtick surrounding my Ding Dong doppleganger went from there…

As we swapped cheeky comebacks, I began to realize something that never occurred to me when my fondness for the snack cake began in childhood. If you take a look at the collective group, mass marketed snack cakes are really quite suggestive in name. We may have just discovered the origins of FOOD PORN! Sure you can forgive a nine-year-old kid for being clueless about these things, but not a middle-aged CEO. Come on, you mean to tell me there wasn’t a mess of snickering and wink-winks as the marketing execs brainstormed tiny cake names?

What do you think we should call this chocolate hockey puck Don? How about the Ding Dong?” A smattering of snickering from around the conference table begins. “And you know what would go with my Ding Dong? A HO-HO!” I don’t want to even think about the Twinkie and Funny Bone process. They probably piped in cheesy 70’s guitar riffs as conveyor belts of mini cakes slinked down assembly lines. And I don’t think I’ll ever be able to walk down the supermarket snack cake aisle again and not think, bow chicka bow wow.

How do you follow all this with a recipe? With a reworking of a favorite snack cake of course (and get your mind out of the gutter…)  The Hostess cupcake is arguably one of the most well recognized treat of childhood. Chocolate cupcake, cream filling, ganache icing, and that white squiggle right down the middle. I’m a big fan of chocolate anything, but not overly fond of the hyper sweet cream filling of these babies, so I decided to swap it out and replace it with raspberry. In my book, chocolate & raspberry is a match made in confectionary heaven.

Raspberry Filled Chocolate Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 TSP vanilla
  • 1 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 TSP baking soda
  • 1/2 TSP salt
  • 1 sticks (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 TBSP cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 TBSP granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup raspberry jam
  • 1/4 cup fresh raspberries, or thawed frozen raspberries
  • 1 recipe chocolate ganache icing (see recipe below)
  • 1 pint of fresh raspberries for garnish

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin tins with paper holders, or spray pan with baking spray. Whisk together boiling water and cocoa powder in a bowl until smooth, then whisk in milk and vanilla. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt in another bowl.

Beat together butter and sugars in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, then add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in flour and cocoa mixtures alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture (batter may look curdled).

Divide batter among muffin tins, filling 2/3 of the way full. Bake until a tester comes out clean about 20 to 25 minutes total. Cool cupcakes in pans on racks 10 minutes, remove and cool completely.

Mash the raspberries into the jam until it is smooth and well incorporated. Put mixture into a pastry bag (or small ziploc baggy) fitted with a tip large enough for the jam to go through. When the cupcakes are completely cooled, push the pastry tip into the top of each cake, going about halfway down, and gently squeeze the pastry bag, filling each until the jam begins to come out the hole. Chill the filled cupcakes 20 minutes before icing.

Chocolate ganache icing

  • 1/3 cup plus 1 TBSP heavy cream
  • 1/2 TSP instant espresso powder or instant coffee granules
  • small pinch of salt
  • 1/2 TSP of unsalted butter
  • 6 oz (about 1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat all ingredients except the butter together in a double boiler or heat-proof bowl over simmering water until the chocolate is melted. Stir the mixture together until smooth. Add in the butter and stir vigorously until completely incorporated (this will give the ganache a nice shine).

To Assemble: Dip the tops of the cooled cupcakes into warm ganache and set on a rack or plate. Top each cupcake with a few raspberries, and chill until the ganache has set.

If you like what you read here, please help me spread the word. Meantime, I’d love you to join me on Facebook (please click the ‘like’ button), and check out what else is going on in my kitchen at cookinginmyheels.com. Thanks! 🙂

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4 thoughts on “Food Porn

  1. Yum! Although, at age 9 I asked my mother to make me a Gateau St. Honoré after I saw it in Gourmet Magazine… and she did. I guess our levels of food porn were a little different. 🙂

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