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Cupcake Cream Filling

I’ve tried a few cream filling recipes, but this one that I discovered over at Evil Shenanigans takes the cake…. or fills it.



2 teaspoons hot water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 – 7 ounce jar marshmallow cream
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla



Dissolve salt in hot water.  Whisk marshmallow cream, shortening, powdered sugar & vanilla with stand mixer until fluffy.  Whisk in salt water until incorporated & fluffy. 

Use a pastry bag fitted with a decorating tip poke a hole down into the cupcake and fill until a little peeks out the top.

One batch fills approximately 3 dozen cupcakes.


Chocolate Cupcakes

adapted from Cook’s Illustrated


Cupcakes have become quite a trendy thing among adults and there has been an effort to find more adult flavors for cupcakes in the last year or two.   The original recipe from Cook’s Illustrated that I used for this recipe is for Dark Chocolate Cupcakes.  While I thought they were good as a more adult flavor, the dark chocolate flavor was a little too dark for the kids in my family.  And let’s be honest, for most of us, when we make cupcakes, it’s for the kids.  So I traded out the unsweetened chocolate for semi-sweet and the Dutch Processed or dark cocoa powder for regular cocoa powder.  The result was a chocolate cupcake with a good chocolate flavor that was pleasing to the general kid population and adults alike.

By the Cook’s Illustrated’s recipe, this makes exactly 12 cupcakes.  By my experience, however, if you take all the batter and divide it among 12 cupcake cups, you will have mushroom shaped cupcakes that are neither pleasing to look at nor are they easy to frost.  In my experience, this recipe makes an odd 13 cupcakes.  SO, if you have a way to make 13.  Or make 12 and you will have a bit of batter left over.  Regardless, I highly discourage using all the batter in 12 cups.  I’ve done it.  It’s not pretty.


8 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup cocoa powder (1 1/2 ounces)
3/4 cup all purpose flour (3 3/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream


You will also need:

Heat-proof bowl
Sauce pan
Mixing bowl
Cupcake pans
Paper cupcake baking cups



Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine butter, chocolate and cocoa powder in heat-proof bowl and set over a small amount of barely simmering water in a sauce pan and allow to fully melt and combine until smooth.  (To quicken the process, you can melt the butter in the microwave and pour it over the chocolate and cocoa to begin the melting process sooner.)  Once melted, set it aside to cool for a few minutes until just warm to the touch.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and baking powder and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs until smooth.  Add sugar, vanilla and salt and whisk until fully combined and smooth.  Add cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined.  Sift in 1/3 of the flour mixture and whisk to combine.  Whisk in sour cream then sift remaining flour mixture over and whisk until batter is homogenous and thick.

Using a large scoop, place 1 just over-full scoop into each cupcake liner.  The recipe makes 13, so if you only have room for 12 cupcakes, you will have a bit left over.

Bake 18-20 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Allow to completely cool before filling and/or frosting.


Melt your chocolate and butter until smooth.


Whisk the eggs, then whisk in the sugar, salt & vanilla.

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Whisk in the melted chocolate and then the flour and sour cream until thick and homogeneous.

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Fill your spring loaded scoop until just over-full.


Believe it or not, it makes 13 cupcakes.  If you try to divide the batter between only twelve cups, they run over the tops they look like this….


when they should look like this…


Spicy Stuffed Shells


As submitted for the Ro*Tel Across America Recipe Contest
(I didn’t make the top 10, but I was one of the 10 runners-up.  Not bad, if I do say so myself.)



12 ounces andouille sausage
6 ounces (approximately) jumbo pasta shells (about half of a box)
4 ounces monterrey jack cheese (shredded)
4 ounces goat cheese
½ cup roasted red pepper (chopped)
1 ear sweet corn, roasted, removed from cob (about ½ cup)
1 cup chopped fresh baby spinach
1 egg
¼ cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 can Ro*Tel tomatoes & green chiles
Olive oil as needed
Kosher salt as needed


You will also need:

Indoor or outdoor grill
Large pot
Several small bowls
1 large bowl
Large rubber spatula or spoon
1 baking dish
Aluminum foil



Rub corn with olive oil (or butter) and place on indoor or outdoor grill over medium high to high heat. Grill while turning occasionally to get all sides just slightly charred (while doing other things). Set aside to cool slightly. Once cool enough to handle, remove corn from cob by holding the cob up on end and slicing downward with a sharp knife and pressing against the cob with the knife. Transfer corn to a bowl and set aside.

Put a pot of water on to boil. Add several good pinches of kosher salt. Once boiling add pasta and boil for approximately 8 minutes. Drain and allow to cool.

Cut andouille sausage into pieces by quartering lengthwise then slicing into ¼ to ½ inch thick pieces. Place just a little olive oil in a skillet and set over medium high heat. Once hot, add sausage pieces and reduce heat to medium. Allow the sausage to not only brown but also cook out some of the fat. Once browned, remove to a paper towel lined bowl to absorb some of the grease. Set aside.

Chop up roasted red peppers and baby spinach place in bowls and set aside. Lightly whisk egg in a separate bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl add sausage, peppers, spinach, corn, bread crumbs, egg and both the Monterrey Jack and goat cheeses. Using a large spatula or spoon, mix all ingredients until all are evenly distributed.

By hand, stuff each shell until full but not over-flowing and place in a baking dish. Top the shells with 1 can of Ro*Tel tomatoes. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes.


Rub down your corn with some butter or oil and grill, turning occasionally, until there is some browning on each side.


Cut up the andouille sausage into small pieces by quartering lengthwise and slicing into 1/4 inch slices.  Cook in a skillet over medium high heat until lightly browned.


In a large bowl, combine sausage, cheeses, corn (removed from the cob), roasted red peppers, spinach, egg and bread crumbs and mix together until all ingredients are evenly distributed.

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By hand, fill each cooked shell.


Top the shells with the Ro*Tel tomatoes and chilies and bake at 350 F covered for 20 minutes, then uncovered for another 10 minutes.