Friday, October 9, 2015

Chocolate Pudding Filled Dirt Cakes

I remember my first ever dirt cake, in fact, I'd like to think that every child would remember this classic - dirt you can eat?! It's like a bonafide mud pie.

The year was 1998, the place was a local restaurant in Gainesville, FL. I had never even heard of the concept before and my family rarely ever ordered desserts but I was so enthralled with the concept of "dirt cake" that I HAD to have it.

When I beheld the glorious crystal goblet of layered rich chocolate pudding, light and fluffy whipped cream frosting, and moist chocolate cake I was amazed. And of course, there's something about eating something that it supposed to be disgusting that is oddly satisfying.

These are my little tributes to a childhood favorite - it has the chocolate cake, the pudding filling, whipped chocolate frosting and of course, that classic topping of crushed Oreos (plus it's a bonus since you get to eat all the cream out of them). These would also make for the perfect Halloween treat, you could even dye vanilla pudding red for the filling for a "blood" center and add gummy body parts to the top if you wanna gross it up a little!

For the cake...

makes 12 large cupcakes

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup hot, bold coffee

1.Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners. Set aside.
2.In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
3.In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary. On medium speed, beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract and beat until combined. With the mixer on low speed, add half of the dry ingredients and beat just until combined. Beat in the milk until combined. Add the other half of the dry ingredients and beat slowly until combined. Add hot coffee and beat just until combined. Do not over mix – the less you mix, the lighter the cake will be. The batter should be liquid-y.
4.Divide batter evenly between cups, filling them about 3/4 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes (or 8-10 minutes if making mini cupcakes), until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs. Allow cupcakes to sit for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

For the pudding...

recipe from Taste of Home

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
4 cups milk
2 TBS butter
2 tsp vanilla extract

1.In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt. gradually add milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat; boil and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in butter and vanilla. Chill, then spoon into center of cupcakes.

For the frosting...

1 cup confectionery sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 pint (2 cups) whipping cream - chilled
1/4 tsp salt

1.Place whipping cream in mixing bowl. Shift remaining ingredients together and add to cream.
2.Mix in gently, then beat on high until a thick, frosting-like consistency forms.

To Assemble

-Once cupcakes have cooled, carefully hollow out the center, making sure to reserve the cake. Place a dollop of pudding inside the center of each cake, then place the cut out bits on top, making the surface smooth for the frosting.

-Pipe frosting out in desired pattern, then top with crushed Oreo cookies (cream removed) and top with gummy worm.

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