Copycat Hostess Cupcakes Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (2024)

Copycat Hostess Cupcakes Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (1)

By: Laurel Perry

These Copycat Hostess Cupcakes are delicious, easy to make, and better than the store-bought favorite. I’ve taken rich chocolate cupcakes, filled them with marshmallow creme, topped with chocolate ganache, and finished off with the iconic white swirl. Whenever my kids are craving this classic treat, this copycat recipe delivers pure delight!

Copycat Hostess Cupcakes Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (2)

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What’s in This Copycat Hostess Cupcakes Recipe?

I’m so excited about bringing this nostalgic recipe to life at home. These copycat Hostess Cupcakes are everything you’d expect them to be! Chocolate cupcakes, chocolate ganache, a soft and creamy center, and the signature squiggle on top. My kids are obsessed.

  • Flour: All-purpose flour gives these cupcakes structure.
  • Cocoa Powder: While you can use any unsweetened cocoa powder you prefer, we like to use natural cocoa powder here because the baking soda helps to neutralize the acidity of natural cocoa powder, letting its rich flavor shine.
  • Leavening: Baking powder and baking soda pull double-duty to creat light and fluffy cupcakes.
  • Sugar: Brown sugar adds a rich sweetness to the cupcakes that balances out the cocoa powder, while powdered sugar sweetens the frosting.
  • Dairy: Buttermilk makes these cupcakes moist and tender, butter enriches the marshmallow filling and frosting, and heavy cream thins out the chocolate ganache.
  • Oil: Vegetable oil keeps these cupcakes super moist.
  • Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract enhances the sweetness of these cupcakes.
  • Eggs: Add richness to the cupcakes.
  • Marshmallow Creme: Adds that signature marshmallow flavor and texture to the filling.
  • Chocolate Chips: We like semisweet chocolate chips for a rich and flavorful ganache, but milk or dark chocolate also work.

Notes from the Test Kitchen

I think these Copycat Hostess Cupcakes are so much better than packaged ones. We know (and can pronounce!) all of the ingredients in this homemade recipe, and I love that you can easily adapt the cupcakes for different taste preferences!

Flavor Ideas

Chocolate is the iconic Hostess cupcake flavor, but I love playing around to adapt this recipe to make different variations.

  • For Birthday Cupcakes: I use our funfetti cake and frosting recipe with the marshmallow filling below.
  • For Golden Cupcakes: I bake up our yellow cake recipe with the marshmallow filling, ganache, and frosting from below.
  • For Orange Cupcakes: I make our yellow cake recipe, use the marshmallow filling and vanilla frosting from below, replace the chocolate chips in the ganache with white chocolate chips, and add some orange extract and a drop of orange food coloring to create an orange ganache.
  • For Iced Lemon Cupcakes: I follow the same steps as for the orange cupcakes, but use lemon extract and a drop of yellow food coloring instead.
  • For Key Lime Cupcakes: I follow the same steps as for the orange cupcakes, but use key lime extract and a drop of green food coloring instead.
  • For Strawberry Cupcakes: I love to use our strawberry cake recipe with the marshmallow filling and vanilla frosting from below, replace the chocolate chips in the ganache with white chocolate chips, and add some strawberry extract and a drop of pink or red food coloring to create a strawberry ganache. This version is my second favorite (second only to the iconic chocolate version).
Copycat Hostess Cupcakes Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (3)

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How to Make Ahead and Store

You can bake the cupcakes and make the marshmallow filling and vanilla icing ahead of time. The cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a day, while the filling and frosting will need to be stored in the refrigerator. I let all components come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before assembling. I do not recommend making the ganache ahead of time, as it will not keep well at room temperature, and it will solidify in the refrigerator.

I store leftover copycat Hostess cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Always let them come to room temperature before enjoying.

How to Freeze

Freeze copycat Hostess cupcakes without the ganache and frosting, tightly wrapped in 2 layers of plastic wrap and 1 layer of aluminum foil, for up to 2 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before dipping in ganache and frosting.

Serving Suggestions

I think these copycat chocolate Hostess cupcakes are the perfect sweet treat to end a long day. Enjoy one with a chocolate coffee, a cup of hot cocoa, or simply a cold glass of milk.

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Recipe

Copycat Hostess Cupcakes Recipe

5 from 2 votes

Author: Laurel Perry

Prep: 20 minutes minutes

Cook: 18 minutes minutes

Total: 38 minutes minutes

Copycat Hostess Cupcakes Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (6)

Serves14 cupcakes

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Rich, chocolate-y, and better than a classic Hostess Cupcake, this copycat version is just do delicious!

Step-by-step photos can be seen below the recipe card.

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Ingredients

For the Chocolate Cupcakes

  • cups all-purpose flour 180 grams
  • cup unsweetened cocoa powder 56 grams
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 4 grams
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda 5 grams
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar 213 grams
  • 1 cup buttermilk 227 grams (see note)
  • cup vegetable oil 133 grams
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 4 grams
  • 2 large eggs 100 grams

For the Marshmallow Filling

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 57 grams, room temperature (½ stick)
  • cup powdered sugar 38 grams
  • 5 ounces marshmallow creme 142 grams

For the Chocolate Ganache

  • ½ cup heavy cream 114 grams
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips 170 grams

For the Vanilla Frosting

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 57 grams, room temperature (½ stick)
  • ½ cup powdered sugar 57 grams
  • 1 tablespoon milk 14 grams; optional (use only if needed)

Recommended Equipment

Instructions

For the Chocolate Cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare two 12-count cupcake tins by lining them with paper liners. Set aside for now.

  • Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt to a large bowl and whisk until combined.

    1½ cups all-purpose flour, ⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon baking powder, ¾ teaspoon baking soda, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

  • In a separate bowl, whisk the brown sugar, buttermilk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and eggs together.

    1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup buttermilk, ⅔ cup vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, 2 large eggs

  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix with an electric hand mixer until just combined.

  • Pour the batter evenly into the cupcake wells, filling a little more than halfway full.

    Copycat Hostess Cupcakes Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (8)

  • Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out mostly clean.

    Copycat Hostess Cupcakes Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (9)

  • Transfer to a baking rack to cool. While the cupcakes cool, make the marshmallow filling (below).

For the Marshmallow Filling

  • In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the butter and powdered sugar together.

    4 tablespoons unsalted butter, ⅓ cup powdered sugar

  • Add in the marshmallow cream and beat until combined.

    5 ounces marshmallow creme

  • Transfer the filling to a piping bag or sealed plastic bag with the edge clipped off.

  • When the cupcakes have cooled completely, use a knife to cut out a small hole in the middle of each cupcake. Be sure to save the cupcake middles.

    Copycat Hostess Cupcakes Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (10)

  • Pipe the filling into the center of each cupcake up to the top. Cut about one-third off the bottom of the cupcake center and place it on top of the filling.

    Copycat Hostess Cupcakes Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (11)

For the Chocolate Ganache

  • Add the heavy cream to a bowl and microwave for 30-45 seconds. Stir in the chocolate chips until melted and smooth. Let it sit for a couple minutes to thicken.

    1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, ½ cup heavy cream

  • Dip the top of each cupcake into the chocolate ganache. Place on a baking rack to let the ganache set.

    Copycat Hostess Cupcakes Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (12)

For the Vanilla Frosting

  • Beat together the butter and powdered sugar. Add in a bit of milk if needed to smooth out the frosting.

    4 tablespoons unsalted butter, ½ cup powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon milk

  • Transfer the frosting to a piping bag or sealable plastic bag with the edge clipped off.

  • Pipe the decorative swirl over the top of each cupcake.

    Copycat Hostess Cupcakes Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (13)

Last step! Don’t forget to show me a pic of what you made! Upload an image or tag me @thecookierookie on Instagram!

Becky’s tips

  • DIY Buttermilk: To make your own buttermilk, measure 1 cup of milk, remove 1 tablespoon of it, and mix in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar. Let this mixture sit for 5 minutes before using in the recipe.
  • For gluten-free Hostess cupcakes, swap the all-purpose flour for an equal amount of gluten-free 1:1 baking flour.
  • While you can use any unsweetened cocoa powder you prefer, I like to use natural cocoa powder here because the baking soda helps to neutralize the acidity of natural cocoa powder, letting its rich flavor shine.
  • You can use any neutral oil, such as coconut, avocado, or canola oil, in place of vegetable oil.
  • You can use dark chocolate or milk chocolate chips instead of semisweet if you prefer.
  • Measure your dry ingredients using the spoon-and-level method to prevent dense cupcakes.
  • Take care not to overmix the cupcake batter; otherwise, your cupcakes will turn out chewy.
  • Let the cupcakes cool completely before filling and topping; otherwise, the filling could melt into the cupcakes and the topping cold melt off.

Storage:Store Hostess cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer (unfrosted) for up to 2 months.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1cupcake Calories: 452kcal (23%) Carbohydrates: 52g (17%) Protein: 5g (10%) Fat: 27g (42%) Saturated Fat: 11g (69%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g Monounsaturated Fat: 7g Trans Fat: 0.3g Cholesterol: 56mg (19%) Sodium: 169mg (7%) Potassium: 216mg (6%) Fiber: 3g (13%) Sugar: 34g (38%) Vitamin A: 400IU (8%) Vitamin C: 0.1mg Calcium: 78mg (8%) Iron: 2mg (11%)

Did You Make This?I want to see! Be sure to upload an image below & tag @thecookierookie on social media!

Copycat Hostess Cupcakes Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (14)

Copycat Hostess Cupcakes Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (15)

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How to Make Hostess Cupcakes Step by Step

Make the Batter: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Prepare two 12-count cupcake tins by lining them with paper liners. Set aside for now. Add 1½ cups of all-purpose flour, ⅔ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, ¾ teaspoon of baking soda, and ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt to a large bowl and whisk until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk 1 cup of brown sugar, 1 cup of buttermilk, ⅔ cup of vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract, and 2 large eggs together. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix with an electric hand mixer until just combined. Pour the batter evenly into the cupcake wells, filling a little more than halfway full.

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Bake the Cupcakes: Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out mostly clean. Transfer to a baking rack to cool. While the cupcakes cool, make the marshmallow filling (below).

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Make the Filling: In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, beat 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter and ⅓ cup of powdered sugar together. Add in 5 ounces of marshmallow creme and beat until combined. Transfer the filling to a piping bag or sealed plastic bag with the edge clipped off. When the cupcakes have cooled completely, use a knife to cut out a small hole in the middle of each cupcake. Be sure to save the cupcake middles.

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Fill the Cupcakes: Pipe the filling into the center of each cupcake up to the top. Cut about one-third off the bottom of the cupcake center and place it on top of the filling.

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Make the Ganache: Add ½ cup of heavy cream to a bowl and microwave for 30-45 seconds. Stir in 1 cup of chocolate chips until melted and smooth. Let it sit for a couple minutes to thicken. Dip the top of each cupcake into the chocolate ganache. Place on a baking rack to let the ganache set.

Copycat Hostess Cupcakes Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (20)

Frost the Cupcakes: Beat together 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter and ½ cup of powdered sugar. Add in a bit (up to 1 tablespoon) of milk if needed to smooth out the frosting. Transfer the frosting to a piping bag or sealable plastic bag with the edge clipped off. Pipe the decorative swirl over the top of each cupcake.

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Are Hostess cupcakes vegan?

No! Packaged Hostess cupcakes include animal shortening (tallow), whey, and eggs among their ingredients. Our recipe is also not vegan, but swaps tallow for butter.

What is the filling of a Hostess cupcake made of?

The filling of a Hostess cupcake is made from marshmallow cream. In fact, it is the same filling you’ll find inside a Twinkie!

Are Hostess cupcakes nut-free?

According to their website and packaging, Hostess cupcakes are nut-free. They do, however, contain soy, wheat, milk, and eggs. Our copycat cupcakes are nut-free as long as you use allergen-friendly ingredients!

More Copycat Dessert Recipes To Try

  • Cosmic Brownies
  • Pepperidge Farm Milano Slices
  • Oatmeal Cream Pies
  • Blueberry Pop Tarts
  • Pillsbury Orange Rolls
Copycat Hostess Cupcakes Recipe - The Cookie Rookie® (2024)

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