When I was an undergrad in college, I thought I wanted to be a child psychologist who worked in a hospital setting. To see if this was really what I wanted to do with my life, I spent a summer working as a child life assistant at a hospital in Orlando. My job was to basically just entertain patients and come up with fun activities they could do during their stay in the hospital. I worked with children who were in for something as minor as broken bones to children who had terminal illnesses. The worst of all, cancer.
Let me first say that I have the utmost respect for nurses and doctors who work with children who have terminal illnesses. For me, that one summer was all I could emotionally handle. I can’t think of anything worse than the sight of a child who has cancer. Those patients were so special to me. Their strength and optimism were so admirable. I will never forget the first time I came into work and found out that one of our patients, a little boy, had passed during the night. I was completely crushed. Though I knew that this was not the place for me, I was honored to work with these incredible children.
So when OXO contacted me and asked if I wanted to be a part of their Bake a Difference campaign for Cookies’ for Kids Cancer, it didn’t even take me a second to respond! OXO will be donating $100 to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer for each blog post dedicated to this campaign in September. In addition to these donations, OXO will also be donating 25 cents to pediatric cancer research when YOU buy specially marked products as a part of their goal of raising up to $100,000 to Cookies’ for Kids Cancer! So after you guys read this post, it would be wonderful if you could click over the OXO website and purchase some of these special products. You can also look out for them at participating retailers.
To kick off this campaign, OXO sent me this great cupcake baking set complete with measuring cups, spoons, a cupcake corer, and an icing knife. And believe me, every single of one of these products was used to make these cupcakes! Since this post is all about the kiddos, I wanted to make a childhood favorite, homemade Hostess cupcakes! It’s been forever since I had one, but I can always remember how delicious those little cupcakes are! This version is a little different though, it’s all homemade and is lower in fat than traditional cupcakes! They contain no eggs or butter either! You can easily adapt this recipe to be vegan as well. At first, I was kind of irritated that the icing didn’t look perfect, but then I realized that was okay because these are homemade!
- 1 cup flour (all purpose, whole wheat, or gf)
- 3/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tbs. cornstarch
- 1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt of choice (any kind will do)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 3 tbs. vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup milk
- whipped cream (homemade or store bought) or marshmallow fluff
- 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
- 3 tbs. heavy cream
- 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
- 5 tbs. coconut oil, at room temperature (solid)
- splash vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place cupcake liners in each cavity of a muffin tin.
- In a bowl, stir together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and baking soda, salt, sugar, cocoa powder, and the cornstarch).
- In a separate bowl, mix together the vanilla extract, yogurt, applesauce, vegetable oil, and the milk.
- Stir in the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined. Scoop the batter and divide the batter amongst each cavity. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely.
- Once the cupcakes have cooled, use a sharp knife or a cupcake corer and scoop out the middle of each cupcake. Spoon or pipe the whipped cream filling inside each cupcake. Place the top of the cake you scooped out and place on top to cover the whipped cream.
- For the chocolate ganache, heat the heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl or cup. Place the chocolate in a bowl and pour the heated cream over the chocolate. Mix until the chocolate is melted. If needed, add more warmed heavy cream.
- Spread some of the icing on top of each cupcake. Place the cupcakes in the fridge and let the icing dry for about 15 minutes.
- To make the white icing, stir together the powered sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour the icing into a piping bag and pipe the icing on top of the cupcakes in a looped line (or any way you desire). You will have to work quickly here as you don't want the coconut oil to start to melt. If it does, you can add more powdered sugar.
- Serve or store the cupcakes in an airtight container in the fridge.
Cake recipe adapted from Chocolate-Covered Katie
Disclosure: OXO sent me these products as a part of their Bake a Difference campaign for Cookies’ for Kids Cancer. Though I received the baking products for my participation, I was not compensated for writing this post. I was happy and honored to be a part of this wonderful campaign!
Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is a recognized 501c(3) public charity duly incorporated under the laws of the state of New Jersey. Your donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law. 100% of proceeds raised by Cookies for Kids’ Cancer fund pediatric cancer research.