Homemade Hostess Cupcakes

Makes about 1 dozen

For the Cupcakes: 

1/2 c. plus 2 T. flour

1/3 c. cocoa powder

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/8 tsp. salt

2 eggs, large

1/3 c. unsalted butter, softened

1/2 c. plus 2 T. sugar

2 T. buttermilk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line cupcake tin with liners and set aside. 

Whisk together flour, cocoa, powder, soda and salt; set aside. Combine butter and sugar in mixer bowl and cream until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, incorporating well between each addition. Add dry ingredients and continue mixing until mostly combined, then add buttermilk and vanilla. Mix on low speed an additional 30 seconds. 

Scoop batter into cupcake liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake at 350  F for 13-15 mminutes. Allow cupcakes to cool completely before filling. 

For the Creamy Filling: 

1/2 c. milk

2-1/2 T. flour

1/2 c. shortening

1/2 c. sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. vanilla

2 c. powdered sugar

In small saucepan, gradually blend milk into flour, whisking until there aren't any lumps. Cook on medium low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture turns to a thick paste. Be careful, though, because it will seem like nothing's happening and then all of a sudden it's really thick and it can burn easily. Allow mixture to cool to lukewarm. 

Meanwhile, cream shortening, sugar and salt in mixer. Add warm paste and continue beating until light and fluffy. Add vanilla. Mix in powdered sugar in about three additions. 

Scoop filling into pastry bag fitted with large tip. If you have a fancy cupcake filling tip, use that one, but I used a Wilton #__ tip and it worked just perfectly. Poke tip about 1/2" into top of cupcake and squeeze in a small amount of filling. You'll know you squeezed enough when you see the top of the cupcake rise a little bit. Remove tip and fill remaining cupcakes. If the filling oozes a little, just scrape it off. 

For the Ganache Frosting: 

1/3 c. heavy whipping cream

1 T. unsalted butter, softened

6 oz. dark chocolate, chips or chunked

Place chocolate in deep bowl and set aside. In small saucepan, heat cream and butter until simmering, but not boiling. Pour over chocolate and allow to sit about 5 minutes. Stir mixture until smooth and evenly combined. Dip the top of each cupcake in ganache and allow to set about 10 minutes in refrigerator. Repeat 1-2 times or until desired thickness is reached. 

Change tip on pastry bag to a fine, plain point; I used Wilton #__. Pipe swirls across the top of each cupcake. Refrigerate about 10 minutes to set. 

Source: Cupcakes and frosting adapted from Culinary in the Country; Filling from Great Grandmother Mattie Foote