Devil Doglets for Grown-ups
Whenever I revisit childhood favorites like Circus Peanuts, Devil Dogs, and Hostess Cupcakes, I’m surprised that I was able to like them quite as much as I did. They don’t taste that good to
the adult me, yet the memory of happily devouring those treats is still alive in my mind. I’ve had great fun revisiting these retro desserts in my kitchen, trying to make the sweet as satisfying as the memory. This recipe has been the most successful – it’s inspired by the Devil Dog, a chocolate cake with a white cream filling. My version is deeper and moister, with a rich, buttery cake made from almond flour sandwiching a sumptuous white chocolate mousse flavored with peanut butter.
When you’re mixing the cake batter, it’s important to combine the chocolate and cream very smoothly, whisking from the center out, so that when you add it to the other ingredients (in this case, egg whites, flour, almond flour, and butter), the batter will retain a kind of elasticity. This prevents any oil from escaping as the cakes bake and gives the finished product a longer life and better texture.
I developed this recipe using hot dog – shaped molds (available at baking supply stores or online), but here I’ve adapted it to cupcake molds. If you do want to use a more Devil Dog – like, elongated mold, reduce the baking time by 5 to 10 minutes.
Makes 1 dozen standard-size cupcakes
- Food processor (if using ground almonds)
- Electric mixer
- 12-cup standard-size muffin tin
- Pastry bag fitted with a plain tip or a large plastic freezer bag
- Cake tester
- Offset spatula
- Fine-mesh sieve (for variation, optional)
Peanut Butter-White Chocolate Mousse
- 1 1/2 teaspoons gelatin (.12 ounce, 3.5 grams)
- 1 cup heavy cream (8 ounces, 228 grams)
- 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter (1 ounce, 28 grams)
- 3 large egg yolks (1.8 ounces, 50 grams), at room temperature
- 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar (1 ounce, 28 grams)
- Pinch of salt
- 5 ounces white chocolate (preferably 18 to 20 percent cacao content) (about 1 cup, 140 grams)
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar (4 ounces, 113 grams)
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (2.4 ounces, 68 grams)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder (4.9 grams)
- 3/4 cup almond flour (see Sources, page 275) or finely ground blanched almonds (2.8 ounces, 80.25 grams)
- 4 large egg whites, lightly beaten (4 ounces, 113 grams), at room temperature
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (preferably 60 to 66 percent cacao content), coarsely chopped (1 1/2 cups, 227 grams)
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream (12.2 ounces, 348 grams)
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and warmed to about 100°F (4 ounces, 113 grams)
- Unsalted butter, for the muffin tin
For the Mousse
Fill a medium pot with 2 inches of water and bring to a gentle simmer. Fill a small bowl with 1/4 cup cold water, and sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Let sit for 10 minutes. It will not dissolve completely.
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, combine 3/4 cup of the cream with the peanut butter and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, and immediately remove from the heat.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the yolks, confectioners’ sugar, and salt. Whisking constantly, slowly pour the hot cream into the yolk mixture.
Set a medium bowl over the pot of gently simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water). Add the white chocolate to the bowl, and melt, stirring constantly, until smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat. Whisking constantly, pour the cream-yolk mixture over the chocolate until smoothly combined. Add the gelatin-water mixture, and stir until the gelatin completely dissolves, 3 to 5 minutes. Let the mixture cool completely to room temperature.
When the mixture has cooled, whip the remaining 1 1/2 cups cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Fold the cream into the cooled chocolate mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
For the Cupcakes
Sift the confectioners’ sugar, flour, and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Add the almond flour or ground almonds. Stir in the egg whites, forming a loose batter.
To make the ganache, place the chocolate in a dry, heatproof bowl. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the cream to a boil. Slowly pour the hot cream over the chocolate, let sit for 3 minutes, then whisk, mixing from the center and slowly moving the whisk outward once the center is fully combined, until the ganache has a thick, smooth consistency.
Slowly pour the ganache over the batter. Whisk in the melted butter until everything is well combined. Cover the bowl and store in the fridge for 4 hours.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin or the custom-made mini hot dog tins available at N.Y. Cake & Baking with unsalted butter.
Transfer the chilled batter to a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip or a resealable plastic bag with the corner snipped off. Squeeze the batter into the muffin cups, filling each cup about two-thirds full. (Alternatively, a spoon works nearly as well.)
Bake the cupcakes on the center rack until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool slightly in the pan, then invert the pan onto a baking sheet, remove the pan, and transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely, 30 to 40 minutes more. To Assemble Using a serrated knife, halve each cupcake horizontally. Using an offset spatula or a spoon, spread about 3 tablespoons of the white chocolate mousse on the bottom half of the cupcake. Replace the top half, forming a sandwich, and serve with a dollop of whipped cream.
Reprinted with permission from The Perfect Finish: Special Desserts for Every Occasion by Bill Yosses and Melissa Clark, copyright © 2010. Published by W.W. Norton and Company
Photography by Marcus Nilsson copyright © 2010