Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Delicious Deception

My favorite cupcake memory comes from my school days, when it was customary to bring in treats for your classmates on your birthday. You remember them ... those cute little cakes with the foil wrappers. Perhaps your favorite was yellow cake with chocolate frosting, or maybe it was chocolate cake with vanilla frosting. If you were really wild, it might have been funfetti! And if you were a real cupcake connoisseur like me, you may have even liked them baked in ice cream cones.

Every year for my birthday, my mom (who rarely baked) would break out her best ... box mix. That's right. One box of cake and one tub of frosting later, and I had 24 little cupcakes to share with the kids in my class. If we were really lucky, there may have been sprinkles involved. Luckily, we weren't very picky at that age.

As I thought long and hard about this final Blogger Challenge from America's Test Kitchen, I eventually said "Why mess with a good thing?" So I decided to bring it back to the old school. One box of cake mix and one tub of frosting later, and I had ... just kidding!

Having won the last Blogger Challenge, you know I felt just a bit more pressure to make this submission good. So I took my birthday cupcake of choice from childhood to the next level. Instead of just a simple cupcake in a cone, I decided on chocolate dipped cones!

My recipe combines a number of favorites: the cake cones traditional to chocolate dipped cones, the best-ever chocolate cupcake recipe from America's Test Kitchen (which I made just a few weeks ago), Martha Stewart's "seven-minute-frosting-that-takes-twelve-minutes-to-make," and a simple chocolate coating to bring it all together. Sounds like a lot of work? It's guaranteed to be harder than the box mix mom made. But they're so cute, it's all worth it!

Chocolate Dipped Cone Cupcakes
For Cupcakes
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup boiling water
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
18 flat-bottomed (cake) ice cream cones

For Frosting
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 egg whites
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

For Coating
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Wrap a 1-inch thick band of foil around the base of each cake cone and stand cones up in muffin tins. Set aside.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk boiling water, cocoa, and chocolate chips until smooth. Add sugar, sour cream, oil, eggs, and vanilla, and mix until combined. Whisk in flour mixture until incorporated. Divide batter evenly among cones, filling each about halfway. Bake until toothpick inserted in center of cupcakes comes out clean, about 22  minutes. Cool cupcakes in tin on wire rack. When completely cool, discard foil.

To prepare frosting, combine sugar, egg whites, water, and cream of tartar in a glass bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat on high speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Place bowl over a pot of barely simmering water and continue beating on high until stiff peaks form, about 12 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and stir in vanilla.

Spoon frosting into large zip-top bag. Snip a corner of the bag and pipe frosting onto cupcakes, swirling into an ice cream shape. (Martha claims your frosting should be 2 inches high. Good luck with that.) Carefully stand cupcakes back up in muffin tins and transfer to refrigerator. Chill 15 to 20 minutes, or until frosting appears set.

While cupcakes are chilling, prepare coating. Combine chips and oil in a small, deep, microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high, approximately 20 seconds at a time, whisking well between nukes, until completely smooth. Allow coating to cool for several minutes.

Remove cupcakes from fridge. Holding cupcakes by the cone, dip each one into the coating to completely cover frosting, allowing excess to drip off. Let cupcakes stand at room temperature for 15 minutes, then transfer back to fridge. Allow to set at least 2 hours. Serve cold (of course!).


  1. Kudos to you, Jen, for making a childhood favorite! These look amazing... can I request them for my birthday coming up? :)

  2. Tiff, are you sure?? There's no fruit in them and I know how you are about your fruit-in-dessert requirement!

  3. This is the cutest idea and the cutest story too :) I'm a bake out of a box girl, so I will always have a soft spot for cakes and cupcakes from a mix haha.

    I was gonna say too bad you don't know a whole gaggle of second graders so you'd have the perfect excuse to make these all the time, but then I realized you don't need second graders, you just need coworkers ;p

    btw, I'll start campaigning right now for these to win, on personality alone!

  4. And sometimes coworkers who act like second graders... :)

    Your campaign must be working because I'm in the running again! Cross your fingers for me when they announce the winner tomorrow!