Pumpkin cupcakes stuffed with Rolo candy

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What could be better than stuffing things inside a cupcake? I mean, really. A cupcake is like a dream come true for a lot of people… or at least something that gives them a tiny bit of a joy when they unexpectedly get one on a Monday morning. When I stumbled on the Bake It in a Cake blog a few years ago, it was like a revelation to me, “Wow! I never thought of shoving THAT into a cupcake.” And the creativity stirred all on its own until I was doing all kinds of out-there experiments with stuffed cupcakes and cookies.

All of that has been on the backburner this year, but as Halloween came around, I remembered the recipe for pumpkin cupcakes filled with Rolo candies, frosted with spiced-apple-cider icing.

I had to made a few modifications:

  1. In the original Bake It in a Cake recipe, the pumpkin cake part is just cake with pumpkin in it, and I still wanted it to be pumpkin spice, so I used an entirely different cake recipe.
  2. Also Rolo candy is not that common here. Usually I substitute with Norwegian Smil candy, but this time I had Swedish Center candy, which is actually better than Smil, so I might make the switch entirely (except that Smil is sold in big bulk packages at the crazy border shopping centers).

    Swedish Center candy - like Rolo only better

    Swedish Center candy – like Rolo only better

  3. I don’t like (and don’t like making) normal buttercream frosting, which also seems awfully grainy to me. I made Swiss meringue buttercream (follow the same recipe as in the fauxstess cupcake recipe but instead of vanilla, add two or three packages of powdered instant apple cider mix).
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Gingersnap base of the pumpkin cupcake

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Pumpkin cake batter, Center/Rolo pressed in the middle

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Pumpkin cupcake frosted with spiced apple cider icing and topped with Halloween sprinkles

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Pumpkin cupcake cut in half! See the Rolo in there?

Raffaello-candy-stuffed cupcakes

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The candy of Ferrero (most recently, the coconutty Raffaello candies) makes me think fondly of one of my best friends back in Iceland, an Italian woman who has routinely brought Ferrero candies into our lives. In my case, being the coffee fiend that I am, she introduced the inimitable Pocket Coffee, which features a chocolate housing for a liquid espresso inside. Brilliant.

While Pocket Coffee is not available here in Sweden, Raffaello is everywhere. Taking inspiration from the blog Bake It in a Cake (check out the new book based on these concepts, Bake it in a Cupcake), I decided to pop some Raffaello candy into a basic vanilla cupcake and then frost with a vanilla bean Swiss buttercream icing topped with coconut.

How to do it?

First make the vanilla cupcakes:

Vanilla cupcakes
3/4 cups butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt (if using unsalted butter)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 3/4 cups flour
1 1/3 cups milk

For the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350F/175C. Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Then add the baking soda, baking powder, vanilla and salt. Add the flour and milk in alternating turns with the mixer on low. Beat mixture just until combined/smooth.

Fill cupcake liners in your cupcake pan with about one heaping tablespoon of batter. Drop an unwrapped Raffaello candy in and gently press it into the batter. Put another heaping tablespoon on top of the candy to cover it. It does not matter if the candy is completely covered because you will be frosting the cupcake.

Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes until the cupcakes have begun to turn a light golden brown and the cupcake top springs back when touched. Let the cupcakes cool (ten minutes) before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Vanilla bean Swiss meringue buttercream
3 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (liquid)
Some vanilla bean powder or vanilla beans scraped from one vanilla pod

Mix the egg white and the sugar over a double boiler. The sugar should be completely dissolved when you remove it from heat. Pour the mixture into a large bowl (preferably the mixing bowl of a stand mixer — Swiss meringue is mixing intensive, so a stand mixer works best). Whisk on high speed until stiff but still wet peaks form. Continue to beat for about five or six minutes after these peaks form.

Switch to the paddle attachment and turn the speed to medium low. Add the butter in one or two tablespoons at a time. The mixture might start to look lumpy and curdled. Don’t worry. Keep mixing. When things start to come together, beat in the peppermint extract and keep beating for another two minutes. It might take some time to get to the right texture. You will know when it comes together in a solid, fluffy, frosting-like consistency.

I sprinkled on some coconut on the batch I took to work; I sprinkled on some toasted coconut on the batch I offered my friends for Thanksgiving. They are good on their own or with either type of coconut.

Stuffing things into other things: Vanilla cupcakes stuffed with mini chocolate pudding pies

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Sometime last year I became quite obsessed with stuffing things into other things. This sounds a bit obscene, but what I mean is that I liked the improbable and over-the-top (at least in theory) pairings of peanut butter cups stuffed into chocolate chip cookies or Toblerone candy stuffed into a cupcake. I have kept that stuffed theme going into this year, occasionally dreaming up some new thing to put into a cookie or cake. The whole idea of baking an entire pie into a cake gained traction in recent years, and while I have not yet had the fortitude or occasion to try that experiment for myself, I have tackled the mini pie inside a cupcake.

I give you the mini chocolate pudding pie inside a vanilla cupcake with what should be chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream that never quite took shape or firmed up the way a Swiss meringue frosting should (but it seemed fine enough to use in any case).

Vanilla cupcakes stuffed with mini chocolate pudding pies
Vanilla cupcake batter:
3/4 cups butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt (if using unsalted butter)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 3/4 cups flour
1 1/3 cups milk

Chocolate pudding:
You can make your own or buy a couple of packages of instant chocolate pudding.

Pie crust:
Make your own (find a decent recipe for pie crust here). Or use pre-made pie crust if you can find such a thing.

Preheat oven to 375F/190C. First roll your pie crust out and use a glass or pastry cutter that is about 2.5 inches in diameter. Cut out rounds from the crust. Press the dough into a lightly greased mini cupcake pan. Either use pie weights or dry beans to weigh down the middle of the pie crust (they will puff up otherwise) or poke a few holes in the pastry bottoms. Bake for about 10 minutes until the crust turns slightly golden brown. Set aside and let cool.

Make the pudding according to your instructions.

Fill the cooled crusts with pudding and refrigerate.

For the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350F/175C. Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Then add the baking soda, baking powder, vanilla and salt. Add the flour and milk in alternating turns with the mixer on low. Beat mixture just until combined/smooth.

Fill cupcake liners in your cupcake pan with about one heaping tablespoon of batter. Top this with one of the chocolate mini pies and gently press it into the batter. Put another heaping tablespoon on top of the pie to fully cover it.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the cupcakes have begun to turn a light golden brown and the cupcake top will spring back when touched. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for about ten minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.

You can frost as desired. I made a chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream (recipe here).