"Fauxstess" Cupcakes from last Wednesday--; my feet hit the floor the next morning and I immediately got to work. I haven't "googled" to see if this recipe exists elsewhere on the Internet. Don't tell me if it does!
This post has lots of photos and details. BUT IT IS NOT A COMPLICATED RECIPE. I promise.
I used --gasp!-- a boxed chocolate cake mix to save some time, since this was an experiment after all. :) I baked the cake in a 13" x 9" pan that had been lined with a giant sheet of buttered parchment paper. When the cake was finished baking, I literally lifted the entire thing out of the pan (using the overlapping parchment paper as "handles") and set it on a cooling rack. It cooled in a jiffy.
Meanwhile, I whipped up this Honey-Vanilla "Marshmallow" Creme filling. (It doesn't contain corn syrup, woot!)
Once the cake was completely cooled, I "scored" it with a knife, marking off 15 squares so I would know where to squirt the filling. You don't have to do this. You could be completely random with the filling application -- like polka dots. (Note: the next time I make this cake, I will continue the scored lines lightly down the sides of the cake. This way, when the top is covered with ganache and frosting swirls, I will still know where to slice the cake to get 15 lovely pieces with filling in the center of each piece.)
...so I used a knife to level out the filling puffs. Then I transferred the cake to a serving platter (I just slid my hands under the entire cake for support and gently lifted it.) I cut four strips of parchment paper and slid those under the edges of the cake; this kept the serving platter neat and clean while I completed the decorating steps.
Then I made some ganache.
(At this point in the shoot, I was literally holding laughing children back with my leg to keep their little fingers from swiping the ganache for a lick!)
(If you're like, "What the heck is an off-set spatula?", here's a picture. Don't worry--I didn't know what one either until just a few years ago. The spatula in the center and on the right are considered "off-set".)
I allowed the second ganache layer to "set" for about 15 minutes, and then I piped on the "swirl".
(Yields 15 generous pieces)
1 (16-or 17-ounce) package of boxed chocolate cake mix, prepared according to directions
(Or use this recipe for homemade chocolate cake)
"Marshmallow" Filling and Swirl
2 and 2/3 cups Honey-Vanilla Marshmallow Creme, divided
1/2 teaspoon heavy cream
Chocolate Ganache Icing
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 ounces good-quality dark chocolate, chopped
1. Grease a 13"x 9" baking pan with butter. Line baking pan with a large sheet of buttered parchment paper (use enough so that the edges of the paper are overlapping the sides of the baking pan. The overlapping paper will become "handles" for you to lift the cake from the pan after it has baked.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Prepare chocolate cake batter according to package instructions (or make one from scratch). Bake for 26-31 min or until the cake springs back when touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. After baking, allow the cake to "rest" in the pan for about 10 minutes. Then, firmly grasp the parchment paper "handles" and lift the cake from the pan and onto a wire rack for it to cool completely.
3. While the cake is baking/cooling, prepare the Honey-Vanilla Marshmallow Creme*. (You will fill the cake with 2 cups* of the creme, reserving approximately 2/3 cups of it for use to decorate the top of the cake with the "swirls".)
4. Once cool, use a knife to score the top of the cake into 15 even pieces, if desired*. Fill a pastry bag with about 2 cups of the Marshmallow Creme. Fit the pastry bag with a medium-round tip (mine was about 1/4" in diameter). Insert pastry tip into the cake and dispense about an ounce of filling into each of the 15 sections of cake (you can just "eyeball" the filling amount).
5. Scrape the excess filling from the top of the cake, creating a level surface.
6. To make the chocolate ganache, place the heavy cream in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Allow cream to steam. Right before the cream begins to boil, remove pan from heat. Immediately place chopped chocolate in the cream and allow it to rest there for about 2 minutes. Then whisk together the chocolate and the cream until the mixture is smooth and thick. Don't worry if the mixture looks crazy at first...just keep whisking and it will become smooth and beautiful.
7. Pour HALF of the chocolate ganache evenly over the surface of the cake. Gently spread it. (The ganache will smudge some of marshmallow filling, but it's ok. The second layer of ganache will cover it.) Let the first layer "rest" for about 10 minutes.
8. Gently spread remaining ganache over the first layer. (I used an off-set spatula to do this.) Allow it to set for about 15 minutes.
9. To pipe on the white "swirl", mix the reserved 2/3 cup of "marshmallow" filling with 1/2 teaspoon heavy cream. (This will make the filling smoother and therefore easier to apply to the surface of the cake.) You can use a pastry bag fitted with a #3 tip if you like, or, for simplicity's sake, you can use a Zip-Lock bag with a snipped-off corner to apply the "swirls".)
10. Slice into 15 generous pieces and serve to smiling faces.
*My recipe for Honey-Vanilla Marshmallow Creme makes about 5 cups. You could either halve the recipe OR you could go completely crazy and fill the cake with 4 cups of the Marshmallow creme. Skip the scoring step and just randomly insert the tip and fill the cake with Marshmallow Creme...like polka dots.