Want to find one thing that can take you back years to your childhood? Chocolate Jell-O pudding cups! I can't think of anyone that I know of that didn't have one of those little cups in their Barbie or GI Joe lunchboxes! My personal favorite was the swirl: best of both worlds! So here's a recipe for pudding cupcakes that I found that just might take you back to that time of multiplication tables and tether ball on the playground at recess!!! So refreshing for summer, especially in these near hell-like temperatures in sunny Arizona! =P
Makes 24 cupcakes
Filling and frosting:
1 package (3.4 ounces) "cook and serve" chocolate pudding mix
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use Guittard or Ghirardelli)
2 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
24 paper liners for cupcake pans
1 package (18.25 ounces) plain devil's food cake mix
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Hershey's)
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 Hershey's Symphony bar (For garnish)
1. Prepare the filling and frosting: Place the pudding mix and milk in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk constantly until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the chocolate chips, butter and vanilla and stir until the butter and chocolate chips melt, 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and cover the pudding with plastic wrap placed right on its surface. Let it cool for 45 minutes at room temperature.***(See Note)
***NOTE: The reason for putting the plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding is so that the pudding doesn't develop a film on top. The plastic will seal in all the moisture to prevent that from happening. Or you can just leave this step out if you want, if you have a family member that likes the "skin" on the top. (That would be my Dad!) =)
2. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 24 cupcake cups with the paper liners. Set the pans aside.
3. Prepare the cupcake batter: Place the cake mix, cocoa powder, buttermilk , oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides of the bowl again if needed. The batter should look thick and well combined.
4. Spoon a heaping 1/4 cup of batter into each lined cup, filling two-thirds of the way full. Place the pans in the oven.
5. Bake the cupcakes until they spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 17 to 20 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes. Run a dinner knife around the edges and lift the cupcakes up from the pans. Place them on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes before filling.
6. Divide the filling and frosting into two portions. Fit a pastry bag with a large round tip and spoon 1 cup of the filling portion into the bag. Gently push the tip into the center of each cupcake and squirt a generous amount of pudding inside. Re-fill the bag as needed and repeat for all the cupcakes.
7. Place a heaping Tablespoon of the remaining pudding portion on each cupcake and spread it out with the back of a spoon, taking care to cover the tops completely. Using a micro plane, grater, or vegetable peeler grate some of the chocolate bar on top of each of the cupcakes for garnish. (A micro plane or lemon zester was used here.)
***Store these cupcakes in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
I leave you with a few different ways of filling a cupcake! Bon Appetit and Enjoy!!!
Five Ways to Fill a Cupcake:
1. Spoon 1 Tablespoon of your favorite fruit jam on the cupcake before baking. It will sink into the batter, and the cake will rise up around it as it bakes.
2. Place a chocolate truffle or unwrapped (notice I said unwrapped! LOL!) Hershey's Kiss on top before baking.
3. Place a large raspberry or blackberry on top before baking.
4. Use a pastry bag to squirt 1 Tablespoon of pudding into the center of the cupcake after it's baked. (That method is used in the above recipe.)
5. Insert a fortune before baking. Write on strips of parchment paper and wrap them in aluminum foil before pressing them into the batter.