A couple of months ago, it was announced that Hostess would be going out of business and shutting down or selling off its popular snack brands. At the time, I plunged head-first into a batch of homemade Twinkies after not being able to find a single package in any grocery store within 24 hours of the announcement. I was admittedly never a huge Hostess groupie growing up. First of all, I just flat-out wasn’t allowed to eat stuff like that most of the time; myy mom never kept it in our house. Second, if we were allowed the occasional treat while at the grocery store, I always navigated to the Little Debbie snacks instead (hello, Swiss Cake Rolls!). However, I did manage to get my mitts on Hostess cupcakes now and again while at birthday parties or sleepovers, and I was mesmerized by that dreamy, creamy filling, and what kid doesn’t love chocolate?! Now, after seeing multiple renditions of the homemade version online, I finally created my own. Better late than never, for sure!
Needless to say, these homemade cupcakes are approximately a bazillion times better than I can ever remember those packaged cupcakes tasting. Moist, luscious chocolate cupcakes, filled with a fluffy marshmallow cream frosting, topped with chocolate ganache and garnished with the nostalgic finishing touch: white curly-cued icing.
Bottom line, even if you were never a Hostess cupcake fan, you owe it to yourself to make some crazy-good cupcakes. You can even eat them for breakfast if you want and I won’t tell a soul… I’m totally on board the “eat cake for breakfast” band wagon. Anyone else want to join?!
Homemade Hostess Cupcakes
Yield: 12 cupcakes
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
A homemade recreation of the famous Hostess Cupcakes - chocolate cupcakes with a creamy white center, topped with a chocolate glaze and white curly piping.
For the Cupcakes:
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
⅓ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
¾ cup brewed coffee, still hot
¾ cup bread flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Filling:
1 cup marshmallow creme
¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup powdered sugar
For the Ganache Frosting:
2½ ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
¼ cup heavy cream
For the White Icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon whole milk
Splash vanilla extract
1. Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper or foil liners.
2. Place the chocolate and cocoa in a medium bowl. Pour the coffee over the mixture and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Whisk the mixture gently until smooth, then transfer to the refrigerator to cool completely, about 20 minutes.
3. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
4. Whisk the oil, eggs, vinegar and vanilla extract into the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth.
5. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake cupcakes until set and just firm to the touch, 15 to 20 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool in the tin on a wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Remove each cupcake from the tin, set on the wire rack, and let cool completely before filling and frosting, about 1 hour. (Unfrosted cupcakes can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 day.)
6. Make the Filling: Beat the marshmallow creme and butter on medium speed until soft and light, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the powdered sugar. Once it has all been incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and beat for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, or until very light and fluffy. Transfer the filling to a pastry bag fitted with a large, round tip (I used an Ateco #804) and refrigerate until ready to use.
7. Make the Ganache Frosting: Place the chopped chocolate in a small bowl. Place the cream in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the stove, and immediately pour over the chopped chocolate. Let stand for 2 minutes, then gently whisk together until a smooth ganache forms. Set aside to thicken for 5 to 10 minutes.
8. Make the White Icing: Beat together the powdered sugar, butter, milk and vanilla on medium speed until completely blended and smooth. Transfer the icing to a pastry bag fitted with a small, round tip (I used a Wilton #3) and refrigerate until ready to use.
9. Assemble the Cupcakes: Using a 1-inch round cookie cutter (or the bottom of a large decorating tip), cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes, going about two-thirds of the way down (just like I did in these cupcakes). Using the prepared pastry bag, pipe filling into the holes of each cupcake. If any filling spills over the top, just scrape it off so the top stays smooth.
10. Once all of the cupcakes have been filled, take them one at a time and dip them, top-side-down, into the ganache. Dip them down to where the liners starts, so that the entire top is covered. Allow any excess to drip off, then place back on the cooling rack, right-side up. Once all of the cupcakes have been topped with ganache, transfer the cooling rack to the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes to allow the ganache to firm up and set.
11. Once the ganache is firm, take your pastry bag with the white icing and pipe the decorative curls across the top of each cupcake. Allow to set for about 15 minutes before serving. Any leftover cupcakes should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
(Cupcake recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated All-Time Best Recipes)