Homemade Hostess Cupcakes

Congrats to Liz for winning the cupcake decorating kit recipe giveaway!

A few weeks ago I offered to make cupcakes for a staff lunch. I was met with a challenge: make an adult version of Hostess cupcakes. I didn’t have much time, so I made s’mores cupcakes then but kept the challenge in the back of my mind. At the end of spring break I tackled it, with a few bumps along the way. The results were worth the trial and error: a rich chocolate cupcake with a fluffy white filling, topped with a layer of decadent chocolate ganache and the classic white curlicues. I was told that the ganache in particular was a perfect replica, and all in all the cupcakes were met with rave reviews. In fact, the woman who originally requested them (someone who is in love with the store bought Hostess cupcake) was so happy that it made her day. Which, in turn, made my day!

The recipes I found online all called for a filling that was basically a buttercream with some store bought marshmallow creme (AKA marshmallow fluff) mixed in. Initially, I wanted to make it all the way from scratch, but with already having to make 4 recipes for 1 cupcake, I decided to just go with it and buy marshamllow creme. The marshmallow creme alone was fine – it was close to the texture of the original Hostess filling, but a little too fluffy. However, mixing it together with buttercream was pretty awful; I ended up with a sickeningly sweet and thick buttercream filling. That’s not even close to a Hostess cupcake filling!

I ran back to the store and bought another jar of marshmallow creme. I tried adding more to the buttercream mixture, but it was just too heavy from the butter and too sweet from the powdered sugar. Instead, I ended up taking a lot of marshmallow creme and mixing in just a little buttercream. Because I figured it out on the fly, I can’t promise that the filling reicpe is perfect, but I will try it again soon and edit it if needed. If you try it, please let me know what you think!

I also found that cutting out a hole in the middle of the cupcake with a paring knife (like I did with the limoncello and meyer lemon cupcakes – I used those pictures here because I didn’t take step by step pictures with the homemade Hostess cupcakes) and spooning some filling inside was a much better method than using a piping bag to fill them. Plus, you won’t have to dirty a piping back and tip. Additionally, I added a little sugar to the ganache, although instead you could use a slightly sweeter chocolate.


Homemade Hostess Cupcakes

Adapted from Food Network Magazine

Makes around 20 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 1/4 C sugar
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, sliced
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 C unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 t baking soda
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
For the filling:
  • 2 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 C powdered sugar
  • 1 t pure vanilla exrtact
  • 1-2 T heavy cream
  • 2 C marshmallow creme
For the ganache:
  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 C heavy cream
  • 1 T unsalted butter
  • 1 oz sugar
  • 2 t vanilla extract

For the icing:

  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1-2 T milk
  • 1 C powdered sugar
  • 1/8 t vanilla

To make the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to  350° F. Line muffin tin with paper liners. In a small saucepan, bring sugar and 1 cup of water to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Pour into a large bow and add chocolate and butter. Let sit, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and the mixture has cooled a bit. Using an electric mixer, beat in the vanilla and eggs.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add to chocolate mixture and mix to combine.

Place 1/4 cup of batter in each cupcake liner. Bake 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

To make the filling:

Cream butter with a mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in powdered sugar, then add vanilla and 1 tablespoon of heavy cream. Beat until smooth. Mix in the marshmallow creme. Add more cream, powdered sugar or marshmallow creme until you reach your desired consistency and flavor. Set aside (or refrigerate if you are making this ahead).

To make the ganache:

Place the chocolate in a glass or stainless steel bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the cream and butter until just boiling, then pour over the chocolate. Let stand for 5 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Add vanilla and let stand until cool but still glossy and liquid.

To assemble:
Using a small paring knife, a large pastry tip or a small melon baller, cut out a small hole in the middle of the cupcake. Spoon some filling inside. If desired, place some cake back on top (I tried with and without adding a little cake to seal the hole, and it was fine both ways.) Spoon a little ganache on top and spread with a knife or offset spatula. Chill in refrigerator for 15 mintues or until ganache is set.
In the meantime, prepare the icing:

Beat the butter for a minute. Add vanilla, milk and powdered sugar and beat utnil smooth. Add more milk if needed. Place in a pastry bag with a small round tip and pipe onto cupcakes.

Store finished cupcakes in the refrigerator.

38 Comments on Homemade Hostess Cupcakes

  1. Andrea
    April 6, 2011 at 12:23 pm (5 years ago)

    This looks SO good! Wow! Such a great idea! I wish I could pop a few of those into my mouth right now…

  2. Sarah Schiffman
    April 7, 2011 at 5:01 pm (5 years ago)

    Whoa I just had a flash back to elementary school complete with crimped hair and side ponytail. These were such a coveted treat growing up. Can’t wait to surprise my sister with a homemade version. Thanks for sharing!!
    Sarah Schiffman recently posted Time Flies

  3. Magic of Spice
    April 7, 2011 at 7:28 pm (5 years ago)

    Oh WOW! These are perfect…childhood memories are flooding in :) You did an amazing job with these, incredible!

  4. Medeja
    April 7, 2011 at 7:33 pm (5 years ago)

    I like everything about them, but I guess I wouldnt bea ble to stop eating them one after one..

  5. Medeja
    April 8, 2011 at 4:01 am (5 years ago)

    They sound delicious :) filling especially

  6. Rochelle
    April 8, 2011 at 6:15 am (5 years ago)

    I don’t buy hostess cupcakes for the reason you say you didn’t like the butter cream and marshmallow fluff mixture, too sickeningly sweet!


    A recipe like this can be worked with to make it not so sweet but taste great :) The cupcake itself looks so moist, I think I could eat that with out all the other stuff 😀
    Rochelle recently posted Roasted Squash and Chickpea Soup

  7. Alicia
    April 9, 2011 at 2:58 pm (5 years ago)

    Yummy! I tried these once, the filling is addicting! the piping looks perfect

  8. Liz
    April 9, 2011 at 5:08 pm (5 years ago)

    Wow, these are picture perfect! And SO much better than the name brand…yum. My family would go nuts for these. Hmmmmmm…maybe I will use some of my new cupcake loot and make these :) Thanks again for the fabulous blog give away!
    Liz recently posted Garlicky Crumb-Coated Broccoli

  9. Kita
    April 11, 2011 at 4:58 pm (4 years ago)

    Ive been itching to try these at home so Im glad for your review of how the inside creme turned out. Im not much for the real thing but once in a blue moon the craving pops to mind.

  10. cricks
    April 12, 2011 at 3:31 pm (4 years ago)

    I just made these for a coworker’s birthday. They turned out great. I got the recipe from Americas Test Kitchen. They chose to use the marshmallow fluff as well for the filling but added a little bit of gelatine and that worked perfectly! Just thought I’d share.

    3 tablespoons water
    3/4 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
    4 tablespoon (1/2 stick) unsalted butter , softened
    Pinch salt
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 1/4 cups marshmallow créme

  11. Dani
    April 13, 2011 at 3:32 pm (4 years ago)

    Oh my god, Steph. You are Teh Genius. I know I say that all the time. Wait, I’m your sister, I should be saying it all the time. YOU ARE A GENIUS THERE I SAID IT.

    What was my point going to be?

    Oh yeah: I was reading through this going “scoop it out how? That is a great idea! I always overstuff the baked goods when I pipe things into them! But how?!? I hope she describes it. I don’t know if that will be clear enough though!” And then you totally put in an adorable little four-part picture! And now I understand perfectly.

  12. Dress and Dish
    June 22, 2011 at 7:59 am (4 years ago)

    Omgosh!!! I want one of those! Yum.

  13. Lisa
    April 14, 2012 at 2:22 pm (3 years ago)

    Great recipe! I made the same type of cupcakes for a Superbowl party a couple years ago and used a swiss meringue as the filling- it was EXACTLY like the Hostess filling. Use 2:1 ratio sugar to egg white (by weight), whisk in a mixing bowl over simmering water until warm and sugar is dissolved completely, then attach to the mixer and whip at medium speed until cooled and fluffy. Its so easy and so cheap, and you don’t have any of the preservatives that marshmallow creme has.

  14. Kitty
    April 26, 2012 at 5:38 pm (3 years ago)

    I want some of those cupcakes.Great recipe.

  15. Jennifer
    April 23, 2013 at 2:44 pm (2 years ago)

    Haven’t had a hostess cupcake in a long time. I have however made this frosting recently and wonder if it would be close for the filling. Even if it isn’t I don’t think you will be disappointed about trying it. Just fyi … i am not affiliated with this website, they are just the only ones that had this recipe i had been looking for from my childhood. http://tastykitchen.com/blog/2010/03/a-tasty-recipe-thats-the-best-frosting-ive-ever-had/

  16. DorothyK
    March 22, 2014 at 11:57 am (2 years ago)

    These have WAY too much leavening in them…4 t?! I made them, not thinking about it until after I had added all the ingredients, and sure enough they turned out very metallic tasting. Most other recipes for hostess type cupcakes require 1 1/2 t. tops. Baker beware.


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