Gluten-Free Chocolate Cream Cupcakes
Why This Recipe Works
Hostess CupCakes were a childhood favorite for most of us here in the test kitchen, so we wanted to develop a gluten-free version that would live up to our fond memories of the original. First, we focused on creating a tender, moist cupcake with deep chocolate flavor. A combination of cocoa powder and melted bittersweet chocolate provided the best chocolaty flavor, but we were faced with an overly delicate and greasy texture. Suspecting that butter was the culprit, we swapped it out for oil, which coats the gluten-free flour particles more consistently; this is because the water in butter weakens the bonds between the fat and the protein of the flour, creating pools of grease. To make a stronger cake that could support the cream filling, we added an extra egg. Content with the rich chocolate flavor and tender yet sturdy crumb of our cupcake, we turned our attention to developing a sweet, creamy filling that wouldn’t dribble out. Combining marshmallow crème and the right amount of gelatin gave us the base for a perfect creamy filling. We tried to inject the filling into the center of the baked cupcakes with a pastry bag, but the cakes cracked open and spilled filling out the sides. Instead, we used a paring knife to cut inverted cones from the tops of the cupcakes, added the filling, and plugged the holes with the top rounds.