Posted by - Veronica
I was so intrigued by the Hershey's Hug in the center of the cupcake picture Tina posted that I decided to use the recipe it came from, courtesy of Woman's Day.
24 chocolate Hershey’s Kisses or Hugs candies
1 11/2 sticks (3/4 cup) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp (1 oz) liquid red food color
2 tsp white vinegar
2 1⁄2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1. Heat oven to 350°F. You’ll need 24 regular-size (2 1/2-in. diameter) muffin cups lined with foil liners. Put 1 candy in center of each.
2. Batter: In a large bowl with mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and vanilla 2 minutes until creamy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until blended. Stir buttermilk, food color and vinegar in a 2-cup measure until well blended. With mixer on low speed, beat in flour in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk mixture in 2 additions, beating just until blended. Spoon a scant 1⁄4 cup batter over candy in each cup, keeping candy in center.
3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until a wooden pick inserted in center of cupcakes comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 5 minutes, then remove from pan to rack. Cool completely.
It turned out I didn't actually have two tablespoons of red food coloring in the house...those little bottles deceived me, and I had about half of that. Here's the batter, though, looking suitably red:
Kisses in the cupcake wrappers, ready to have batter added:
I baked the cupcakes for a full 25 minutes, which is pretty typical for my oven. It always needs the upper end of a cooking time range. Even baked, the red color is very prominent. A deep red, to be sure, but definitely not the reddish-brown some people were getting. Maybe less cocoa is used in this recipe?
I actually used my mother's cream cheese frosting recipe, which differs from the one that came with the cupcake recipe. It has a lot less butter and a bit less sugar. This is a very dense frosting which essentially tastes like a slice of cheesecake on top of your cake. Yum!
1 lb cream cheese
1 tbsp butter
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Just, blend. That's all there is to it. I used an electric mixer to get it nice and smooth, though I think Mom always did it by hand.
Mostly, I'm very happy with these. The cupcakes themselves came out very tasty and rich, and of course I already knew I loved the frosting. My only quibble? That Hershey's Kiss in the center! Not nearly the greatness I had hoped for. The kisses stay hard, and you can't really take a bite of cupcake-and-kiss. Especially once they've been in the fridge, which is a necessity with cream cheese frosting. After the first one, I just started popping the kiss out the bottom first thing, eating it, and then eating the rest of the cupcake. Next time, I'll skip this bit.