Just like the original, individual chocolate cakes are enrobed in marshmallow and coconut.
I recommend greasing the cupcake pan, rather than using cupcake papers, because the crinkled impressions the papers leave behind on the cupcakes create a strange exterior texture for the Sno Balls.
I like using a medium star tip to fill the cupcakes because its shape makes it easier to pierce the cupcake and inject the filling.
Instead of using a food processor, you can tint the coconut flakes by shaking them up with food coloring in a plastic bag. However, the coconut bits on a Sno Ball are quite small and using a food processor helps grind up the coconut for a more authentic texture.
Note: All measurements are in weights, as volume measures can be very imprecise. I strongly recommend using a scale for all pastry projects. Serious Eats' recommended kitchen scale is the Oxo Good Grips Scale with Pull Out Display.
About the Author: Stella Parks suffers from an unhealthy obsession with recreating the mass produced snacks of her childhood, but ironically is employed by a Frenchman to make the high brow desserts of his childhood. She blogs that dichotomy at bravetart.com and can be followed on Twitter at @thebravetart.
Read more: BraveTart: Make Your Own Hostess Sno Balls
- Yield:makes 12 Sno Balls
- Active time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Total time:4 hours 20 minutes
- For Cake:
- 2 ounces unsalted butter
- 5 ounces sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 egg
- 3 ounces all purpose flour, sifted
- 1 ounce cocoa powder, sifted
- 5 ounces buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For Marshmallow Coating:
- 1/2 ounce gelatin
- 10 ounces water, divided
- 7 ounces corn syrup
- 18 ounces sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For Cream Filling:
- 6 ounces heavy whipping cream
- For Coconut Coating:
- 8 ounces unsweetened coconut flakes
- Optional: food coloring
Make the chocolate cake: Preheat oven to 350°F and have a cupcake pan, lightly greased, set aside. With a hand or stand mixer, cream together butter, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Add egg and mix another minute more until fully incorporated. With the mixer set to low, add in flour all at once, followed by the cocoa powder. Finally, drizzle in buttermilk and vanilla. Continue mixing only until homogenous. Divide batter evenly between the cupcake cups and bake for about 12 minutes, or until puffed and set. Set aside and cool for at least two hours before filling.
Make the marshmallow coating and filling: In a medium bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer) combine gelatin with half the water (5 ounces). Mix with a fork to ensure no lumps of gelatin remain. Set aside. In a medium pot, combine remaining water, corn syrup, sugar and salt over medium heat. Stir gently with spatula to ensure sugar dissolves; avoid splashing. Cook until the mixture registers 240°F on a candy thermometer. When it does, immediately shut off the heat and cool to 210°F. Once cool, add sugar syrup to the gelatin mixture and whip on low speed until gelatin has fully dissolved. Increase speed to medium high and whip until light, fluffy and tripled in bulk. While still mixing, add in salt and vanilla. Use a spatula to transfer all but 4 ounces of the mixture to a pastry bag. Set the pastry bag aside.
Return remaining 4 ounces of fluff to the mixer and set speed to low. Add cream in all at once and continue mixing another minute—the fluff and cream will have a rather broken appearance. Increase speed to medium and continue whipping until they gradually become homogeneous. Once they have, increase speed to medium high and beat until stiff. Transfer to piping bag fit with a star tip and set in the refrigerator until needed.
Filling the cupcakes: Release cupcakes from the pans and arrange, upside down, on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Use a paring knife to poke a hole into the bottom of each cupcake. Take piping bag with marshmallow whipped cream and insert the tip 1" into the cupcake. Pipe about 3/4 ounce filling into each cupcake, about one good squeeze.
Finishing the Sno Balls: Take the bag of plain marshmallow whip and hold it directly above a cupcake. Pipe a generous blob on top of the cupcake, enough that it flows down the sides of the cupcake and completely encases it. Repeat until all remaining cupcakes have been covered.
Next, tint coconut (if making a white Sno Ball, grinding the coconut in a food processor is still preferable, but can be skipped if you're don't mind the large coconut bits). To tint the coconut, pulse in a food processor, along with a bit of your food coloring of choice, until the color is evenly distributed and coconut has been ground into small bits. Generously coat each marshmallow-covered cupcake in coconut and let stand for 1 hour. Save any extra coconut.
After an hour, use a large cookie cutter to trim away excess marshmallow from each Sno Ball. Use reserved coconut to coat newly exposed marshmallow edges. Serve immediately. Sno Balls are best consumed right away, but will keep for about a day.