I'm in the process of getting ready to move out of my apartment, and I decided that it was finally time for me to part with a significant portion of my cooking magazine collection. I've been subscribing to multiple cooking magazines since I was in law school, and the amount of space taken up by my magazine library was getting out of control. I received quick responses to my post on Craigslist offering magazines for free, and this weekend I was able to unload four bankers boxes worth of Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Cook's Illustrated, and Food & Wine (I still have plenty of back issues of Chocolatier, Saveur, Gastronomica, and current subscriptions to Bon Appetit and Gourmet that run through 2014 to keep my collection going).
I do love reading cooking magazines, even if I sometimes let them sit on the shelf unused. I will admit that one day several years ago, I was reading an issue of Food & Wine in the waiting room at my hair salon when I came across a recipe I knew I had to try. I tore out the page and stuck it in my purse. After all, I figured that there was little point in having a cooking magazine in a hair salon if someone couldn't take the magazine (or just a page or two!) home to actually put any of the recipes to use. To this day, that recipe I took (which has since been laminated for posterity) is one of my favorites. The recipe is titled "Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Filling," but I call these treats the "I Can't Believe It's Not a Hostess Cupcake!" (and if you look at the pictures I'm sure you'll see why).
The recipe is a chocolate cupcake with marshmallow filling (butter, powdered sugar, marshmallow fluff, and heavy cream), topped with chocolate frosting (chocolate, butter, heavy cream). The number one question I get whenever I make these cupcakes is, how do I get the filling inside? The answer is, you bake the cupcakes, let them cool, and then use a pastry bag and tip to fill the cupcake from the bottom. The cake is quite tender, and to some extent, the filling will displace the cake. I fill the heck out of these cupcakes, putting in filling until it bursts through the top. It looks horrible when you do this, but you can use the frosting to spackle over and fill in any cake eruption and no one will know the difference.
The cupcakes are decorated with a few white swirls just like the ones you remember from childhood... These cupcakes consistently get a very warm welcome wherever I take them; there's nothing like a little bit of nostalgia with a surprise cream filling inside to bring a smile to someone's face!
Recipe: "Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Filling," from Food & Wine, November 2002.