Homemade Hostess Cupcakes

This post may contain affiliate sales links. Please read my disclosure policy.

These Homemade Hostess Cupcakes elevate classic snack food into something truly special and decadent. A super moist chocolate cupcake is filled with a light marshmallow filling and covered in chocolate ganache, then frosted with a swirl of vanilla icing!

Easy Copycat Hostess Cupcakes Recipe

These cupcakes are inspired by the classic Hostess cupcakes, but they are SO much better! The flavors are just right, and while they’re sweet, their lack of a heavy frosting keeps them relatively light and not as rich as some cupcakes. There’s nothing like biting into a moist, chocolatey cupcake and finding a sweet marshmallow surprise!

While these Hostess Cupcakes are certainly gourmet, they are quick and easy to make. All you have to do is bake chocolate cupcakes, stuff them with marshmallow filling, then add chocolate ganache and a swirl of vanilla icing.

Pretty much everyone will reach for this satisfying homemade version of a classic childhood treat!

A Cake Stand Holding Half a Batch of Homemade Hostess Cupcakes.

Recipe Ingredients

You don’t need a whole lot of ingredients to replicate these famous Hostess goodies. Just a basic chocolate cupcake recipe and a few tasty components made with 2-4 ingredients. Easy peasy!

For the Chocolate Cupcakes

  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Sugar
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Salt
  • Egg
  • Milk
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Vanilla
  • Water: Use hot water to help the cocoa “bloom” and bring out it’s rich flavor.

For the Marshmallow Filling

  • Unsalted Butter: Bring the butter to room temperature.
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Marshmallow Creme: You can also use Fluff, if desired.

For the Chocolate Ganache

  • Chocolate Chips
  • Heavy Whipping Cream

For the Vanilla Icing

  • Unsalted Butter: Room temperature.
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Milk: Add milk to make a creamy icing that’s perfect for drizzling over your cupcakes.
  • Vanilla Extract
Homemade Hostess Cupcakes Lined up on a Black and White Marble Surface.

How to Make Hostess Cupcakes

These cupcakes have a lot of yummy components, but they’re all super easy and straightforward. Simply make the cupcakes, make the filling, whip up the ganache and the icing and put it all together!

Make the Cupcakes

  1. Prepare for Baking: Preheat the oven to 300°F and prepare a cupcake pan with liners.
  2. Combine Dry Ingredients: Add the dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk together to combine. Set aside.
  3. Combine Wet Ingredients: Whisk together the egg, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla in another medium-sized bowl.
  4. Mix Together: Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
  5. Add Hot Water: Add the water to the batter and mix until well combined. The batter will be very thin.
  6. Bake: Fill the cupcake liners a little more than halfway and bake for 18-23 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
  7. Let Cool: Remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow them to cool for 2 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Make the Filling

  1. Beat Butter for Filling: When the cupcakes are cool, make the filling. Add the butter to a mixer bowl and beat it until smooth.
  2. Add Powdered Sugar: Add about half of the powdered sugar and mix until well combined and smooth. It may take a few minutes to incorporate, but it will. Add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until well combined and smooth.
  3. Add Marshmallow Creme: Add the marshmallow creme and stir until well combined.

Assemble and Decorate

  1. Remove Center of Cupcakes: To fill the cupcakes, cut out the centers of the cupcakes. You can use a cupcake corer or a knife.
  2. Fill Cupcakes: Fill the centers of the cupcakes with the filling and replace the core of the cupcake that you removed on top of the filling. I cut a little bit of the core off before placing it back on top, since there’s a filling there now and you don’t need all of that cake core.
  3. Start Making Ganache: To make the chocolate ganache topping, add the chocolate chips to a medium sized bowl.
  4. Melt Chocolate: Heat the heavy whipping cream just until it begins to boil, then pour it over the chocolate chips. Allow it to sit for 2-3 minutes, then whisk until smooth.
  5. Top Cupcakes: Spread the chocolate ganache onto the top of each cupcake, all the way to the edges. If it starts to cool and get a bit firm, heat it back up for 5-10 seconds, until it’s spreadable again.
  6. Beat Butter for Icing: To make the icing for decorating on top, beat the butter in a mixer bowl until smooth.
  7. Add Powdered Sugar: Add the powdered sugar and mix until evenly combined. It’ll be lumpy and dry.
  8. Finishing Adding Ingredients: Add the milk and vanilla extract and mix until everything comes together and smooths out.
  9. Drizzle Over Cupcakes: Pipe the loop design on top of each cupcake using a small round tip. I used Wilton tip 3.
  10. Chill Until Ready to Serve: Refrigerate the cupcakes until you’re ready to serve them. Serve cool but not cold.
Six Homemade Hostess Cupcakes on a Decorative Glass Cake Stand.

Tips for Success

These quick tips will guide you toward making the ultimate homemade Hostess cupcakes. Bake away!

  • Use Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: There’s a difference between unsweetened cocoa powder and Dutch process cocoa powder. Be sure to use natural unsweetened cocoa powder.
  • Don’t Overfill Cupcake Liners: You should fill your cupcake liners slightly over the midway point. If you put too much batter in your liners, the tops of the cupcakes could sink and your cupcakes could overflow.
  • Transfer to Cooling Rack: Once your cupcakes have cooled for about two minutes, transfer them to a cooling rack to avoid continued baking in the pan.
  • Pipe with Gentle Pressure: If you want to make the classic Hostess cupcake loop-de-loop with your vanilla icing, apply a gentle, constant pressure to your piping bag for a smooth and controlled swirl. Practice on a plate prior to piping on your cupcakes so that you get it just right.
Eight Marshmallow-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes on a Marble Counter.

How to Store Extras

Store the homemade Hostess cupcakes in the fridge, but allow them to sit at room temperature for a bit before serving so that they aren’t too cold and firm. Your cupcakes will stay fresh for up to about 5 days in the fridge.

Freezing Hostess Cupcakes

You can freeze these cupcakes, unfrosted, if you’d like. Just keep them in an airtight container. Frozen Hostess cupcakes will last for 2-3 months. Thaw them in the fridge overnight before frosting them and digging in.

Watch How They’re Made

Read Transcript

Print
clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon facebook facebook icon print print icon squares squares icon
A Bitten Hostess Cupcake with Marshmallow Filling in the Middle
Recipe

Homemade Hostess Cupcakes

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Yield: 15
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These Homemade Hostess Cupcakes elevate a mass-produced treat into something truly special and decadent. A super moist chocolate cupcake is filled with a light marshmallow filling and covered in chocolate ganache, then frosted with a swirl of vanilla icing!


Ingredients

For the Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 1 cup (130g) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (207g) sugar
  • 6 tbsp (43g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) milk
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) hot water

For the Marshmallow Filling

  • 1/4 cup (56g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (58g) powdered sugar
  • 5 oz marshmallow creme

For the Chocolate Ganache

  • 4 oz (113g) semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 6 tbsp (90ml) heavy whipping cream

For the Vanilla Icing

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • Splash of vanilla extract

Instructions

For the Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F (148°C) and prepare a cupcake pan with liners.
  2. Add the dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk together to combine. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together the egg, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla in another medium-sized bowl.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
  5. Add the water to the batter and mix until well combined. The batter will be very thin.
  6. Fill the cupcake liners a little more than half way and bake for 18-23 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
  7. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow to cool for 2 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

For the Filling

  1. When the cupcakes are cool, make the filling. Add the butter to a mixer bowl and beat until smooth.
  2. Add about half of the powdered sugar and mix until well combined and smooth. It may take a few minutes to incorporate, but it will.
  3. Add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until well combined and smooth.
  4. Add the marshmallow creme and stir until well combined.

To Assemble

  1. To fill the cupcakes, cut out the centers of the cupcakes. You can use a cupcake corer or a knife.
  2. Fill the centers of the cupcakes with the filling and replace the core of the cupcake that you removed on top of the filling. I cut a little bit of the core off before placing it back on top, since there’s a filling there now and you don’t need all of that cake core.
  3. To make the chocolate ganache topping, add the chocolate chips to a medium sized bowl.
  4. Heat the heavy whipping cream just until it begins to boil, then pour it over the chocolate chips. Allow it to sit for 2-3 minutes, then whisk until smooth.
  5. Spread the chocolate ganache onto the top of each cupcake, all the way to the edges. If it starts to cool and get a bit firm, heat it back up for 5-10 seconds, until spreadable again.
  6. To make the icing for decorating on top, beat the butter in a mixer bowl until smooth.
  7. Add the powdered sugar and mix until evenly combined. It’ll be lumpy and dry.
  8. Add the milk and vanilla extract and mix until everything comes together and smooths out.
  9. Pipe the loop design on top of each cupcake using a small round tip. I used Wilton tip 3.
  10. Refrigerate the cupcakes until ready to serve. Serve cool but not cold.

Notes

Makes 14-16 cupcakes.

Cupcakes are best when stored in an airtight container and eaten within 3-5 days.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 309
  • Sugar: 30.6 g
  • Sodium: 180.2 mg
  • Fat: 15.8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 41.9 g
  • Protein: 2.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 28.2 mg

Categories

Other Copycat Dessert Ideas to Try

There are so many other iconic treats you can make from the comfort of your home. And, like this recipe, they’re even better than the real thing!

  • If you’re an ice cream cake fanatic, you know about the classic Dairy Queen ice cream cake. You seriously have to try my tasty copycat ice cream cake!
  • Speaking of ice cream, my Copycat Birthday Cake Remix Ice Cream puts Cold Stone Creamery to shame – and it doesn’t even require an ice cream maker.
  • These homemade Bojangles Cinnamon Biscuits are the ultimate sweet tooth’s breakfast recipe! Buttery, cinnamon-filled biscuits are drizzled with a smooth 2-ingredient vanilla glaze.

Share a Comment

Have a question? Use the form below to submit your question or comment. I love hearing from you and seeing what you made!

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

54 Comments
  1. Mommabear

    Loved it! I used red devil box cake mix and followed the recipe for the rest. The cupcakes were delicious. I made these for my brother’s birthday because he loves chocolate and they were a huge hit. I don’t really like chocolate myself and loves them! The filling and ganache are a winning combo. This recipe will be my go to for chocolate lovers. Thank you!!!

  2. Dalton

    Perfect. In a completely different realm than the store-bought ones. It was so fun to make these too, coring and filling the cupcakes. Then frosting with ganache and piping designs on top.

    I had to use white food coloring to get the frosting to the correct color though. Not sure if that’s normal for this kind of frosting.






    1. Lindsay

      Glad you enjoyed them!

      As for the white color, I didn’t use coloring. But if your butter is particularly yellow or your vanilla extract particularly brown, you could try to offset it. You could also get a clear vanilla extract.

  3. Margie Rapisarda

    I grew up eating these. My dad was a truck delivery driver for hostess and sometimes he’d bring some home for me and my siblings. I was so anxious to try making them. the recipe is easy, but I was somewhat disappointed as they came out bumpy and almost wet….what could I have done wrong? I wanted to share them with my siblings as a surprise but don’t feel that they look or taste very good.

    1. Lindsay

      Hmmm. Bumpy and wet how? Like the chocolate cupcake itself? This is my classic chocolate cupcake and it works beautifully normally. Did you use baking soda and not baking powder? Were they fully cooked?

  4. Judy

    I made this recipe and my cupcakes are over flowing in my oven! I followed directions precisely and did agree they are pretty thin batter and didnt overfill the cups. Is this normal? Im at 4,000 above sea level would i need to decrease the water?

    1. Lindsay

      I’m not real familiar with high altitude baking, so I’m not sure if that would change what you should do. If they overflowed, though, it does seem like you may not need to fill them as much.

  5. Angie king

    Hi, I want to try to make this recipe, but I’m not sure about the measurements. According to me, one cup is 240 ml/g but in the recipe it says 1 cup-130 g, so what do I do, do I go by the measurements or by the amount of cups?

    1. Lindsay

      Which ingredient are you referring to? Each one would weigh/measure differently. I think you mean the flour, which is 130g per cup. 240ml is 1 cup of a liquid ingredient. I hope that helps!

  6. Leisa Ratzloff

    I doubled the recipe and made 2- 8 inch round cakes. Cut the centers out of the cakes, layered them, filled it with the cream filling, mixed with a jar of sprinkles, put a piece of cake on top, and then poured the ganache on top. (I ate the rest of the cake that I cut out of the center with butter as frosting lol) The reason I did this is bec my big oven is broken, so I had to use my toaster oven and it worked great! It’s delicious 😋






  7. Naseema

    Hi definately want to try this recipe.
    In SA our metric measurements are slightly different.should I use the cup or gram measurements

  8. Michelle Nicole

    I made these cupcakes for friends & family — they loved them and so do I! Thank you so much for the fantastic recipe 🙂






  9. Mary Samaniego

    I Love Your Hostess Cupcakes, I want to put the filling inside my 12inch cake, will I have to keep the cake in the refrigerator?

    1. Lindsay

      That depends on what else is on your cake. This filling doesn’t really need to be refrigerated, it’s the ganache on these that does. You could leave the filling at room temperature for about 24 hours.

  10. John Thompson

    I love how these came out! They were simply amazing. I substituted butter for the oil in the batter, and sweetened whipped cream for the filling. They were still great after freezing. I’m working on a double batch right now. I’ll try the marshmallow creme this time. Very interesting idea for the ganache, which I don’t have much experience with. Much better than powdered sugar frosting. I’m going to try reducing the cream a little to see if the ganache will harden more.

  11. Jennifer Yu

    Amazing recipe, absolutely delicious! Friends loved it! I’d like to make these again for a birthday, but as a cake (a huge cupcake!). Do you have any pointers in tweaking this into a 3-layer, 8″ cake?






    1. Lindsay

      So glad you enjoyed it! For a cake, I would double the cake part of the recipe. For the filling, I would at least at least triple it. Not sure if I’d do more or not without testing it. And then it depends on how you want to do the outside of the cake. You would need quite a bit of chocolate ganache to frost the whole outside with it. Or you could use chocolate buttercream.

  12. BettyRocker

    These are very good, and very fun. The recipe is complicated and hard to make look good, even for people who bake a lot. The filling is good, but not authentic to Hostess. We’ll make them again, and make a few tweaks.






  13. Tamara

    These are a big hit but I’m having such a problem with getting them filled and looking good. Cake is so moist that it is hard to core out and replace top, even after cooled. Tips?






  14. Tiffany

    Ok I love the recipe! Delicious. One question. My cupcakes came out with raised centers… how can I avoid this next time?






  15. Erin

    I’m planning on making these this weekend, but also wanted to make their reverse (vanilla cake, white chocolate ganache, chocolate loops) – do you think this would work and do you have a vanilla cupcake recipe you’d suggest using?
    Thanks either way!

  16. Jackie

    I’m currently making these for the 3rd time in the past month. They are so good and so easy to assemble! I’ve been a home baker for 20 years and i thought 300 was too low a temp for cupcakes, but i was so wrong. These come out soft and moist. I couldn’t be happier with this recipe and it’s always a hit!






  17. Susan

    These came out perfectly the first time, the recipe was spot on! I have to practice my “loop-de-loop,” but other than that they were delicious and very pretty.






  18. Jackie

    These are super sweet, but really good! I was hesitant to bake the cupcakes at such a low temp, but they came out super moist and soft.






    1. Lindsay

      I didn’t test it with these. The only thing I’m unsure about would be the filling. Sometimes marshmallow cream thins out after refrigerating it, but it might be ok since it’s mixed with other things. I’m just not sure without testing it. The cupcake and ganache would be fine.

  19. Bridget

    These cupcakes were a hit!  They are incredibly easy to make, but it definitely helps to have an “assistant” to help with coring, and filling If you are like me and needed to hurry to bring them to an outdoor gathering! My daughter perfected using the smallest biscuit cutter in our set to remove the center of the cupcakes while I made the filling.  I’ve never made ganache before but, this recipe made it super easy! I love all of the recipes on your blog! Your vanilla and chocolate cupcakes are now my “go to” recipes!  Everyone loved these copycat Hostess cupcakes! They were delicious!






  20. Grace

    My favourite store bought cupcakes growing up.  
    These came out amazing!!!  I can’t wait to make them again! 

  21. LouAnn

    Lindsay is the Marshmallow filling fluffy or a bit soft and runny?  The filling seems to be a little soft, but they still taste great.  Thanks for a great recipe!  






    1. Lindsay

      I would say it’s fluffy, but soft rather than super thick. Not runny though. I do think that marshmallow fluff can get a little bit that way though after being refrigerated sometimes, so that could be it. Glad you enjoyed them!

    1. Lindsay

      Like melt mini marshmallows? I don’t think that would work. There are quite a few recipes for homemade marshmallow cream though. Maybe try one of those.

  22. Mary

    You can find Marshmallow Creme, a brand called “Fluff” in any grocery store or Target with a grocery section. Sometimes you can find it in the same aisle as the pudding..

    1. H

      You can find the creme at any  grocery store usually where you find ice cream toppings, brand names Fluff and Jet-Puffed by Kraft.

    2. Lindsay

      I often find it near the puddings at the grocery store, but it will vary by store. If you’re having trouble, I’m sure someone from the store would be able to help.

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and a mom to twin boys and a baby girl! And I've got a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the treats!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29