Snoball Cupcakes

I made these when I made the chocolate salted caramel cupcakes, and those were so fantabulous that this post got pushed back to the wayside. Now, that doesn’t mean the cupcakes weren’t good. I wasn’t eating sweets at the time but these were still gone by the end of the day with rave reviews, proof positive that this recipe wasn’t too shabby, either.

My hope was to recreate the much loved Hostess SnoBall, at least somewhat. I was going to do a marshmallow frosting but went easy at the last minute and just made a basic vanilla. Still, they were good at least according to that darling husband of mine – a dark chocolate + coconut cupcake, topped with vanilla frosting and rolled in coconut? I mean really, what could be bad about that.*

*OMG, totally sounded like Ina Garten when I wrote that, hee! Or maybe I should say “heh heh heh” (insert Ina Garten creepy laugh here…).

 

Snoball Cupcakes
(adapted from Baked, 2008, and Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes, 2009)

For the cupcakes:
3/4 c. dark cocoa powder
1 1/4 c. hot water
2/3 c. sour cream
2 2/3 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c. vegetable shortening
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. shredded, sweetened coconut

Preheat your oven to 325 F. Line your cupcake tins with paper liners, or whip out your silicon bakers and place on a cookie sheet.

In a medium bowl, combine the cocoa, hot water and sour cream. Mix well and set aside to cool. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside as well.

Beat the butter and shortening about five minutes on medium speed until they are combined and ribbon-like. Add the sugars and beat another five minutes until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Finally, add the vanilla and mix for 30 seconds.

Next add the flour mixture alternating with the cocoa mixture starting and ending with the flour mixture. Stir in the coconut last.

Divide the batter between cups – fill each about 3/4 full. Bake for about 20-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.

For the Coconut Pastry Cream:
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Set a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl.

In a medium saucepan over low heat, bring the half-and-half to a simmer. Add the unsweetened coconut, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes to let the coconut steep. Strain and discard the coconut.

In another medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar, flour, and salt until the mixture is pale, about 1 minute. Whisk half of the warm half-and-half into the egg yolk mixture, then pour that mixture into the remaining half-and-half in the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 6 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the vanilla. Strain the pastry cream through the sieve and press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate the coconut pastry cream for about 1 hour, or until chilled.

For the Vanilla Frosting:
1 1/2 c. (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 lb. (4 cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

With an electric mixer, beat butter on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes.
Reduce speed to medium. Add the confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed; after every two additions, raise speed to high and beat 10 seconds to aerate frosting, then return to medium-high. This process should take about 5 minutes. Frosting will be very pale and fluffy.
Add vanilla, and beat until frosting is smooth. If not using immediately, frosting can be refrigerated up to 10 days in an airtight container. Before using, bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.

To assemble the cupcakes:
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a medium tip with the remaining coconut pastry cream. Puncture the center of a cupcake with the tip and squeeze approximately 1 teaspoon of coconut pastry cream into the cupcake. Repeat for all cupcakes. Frost the top of each cupcake with the coconut frosting (I piped mine out with a huge round tip on my pastry bag). Put about 1 c. of shredded, sweetened coconut in a shallow dish. Dip each cupcake in the coconut, to coat. Decorate as you’d like (deer not necessary, although are a nice touch).

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