A homemade version of the classic store-bought treat! Complete with a rich dark chocolate ganache, that iconic creme filling, and those cute little squiggles!
Twinkies. Ding Dongs. Ho Ho’s. All wonderful creme-filled delicacies of the great Hostess company. Yet one treat that has always been a favorite of mine is the Hostess Cupcake!
Who can resist that deeply dark chocolate cake, filled with that oh-so yummy (yet not totally sure if it’s made with edible ingredients) creme filling, topped with that richly sweet chocolate frosting, and finished off with those whimsical white squiggles?
These cupcakes have been on my To-Bake list for a while. Ironically, the other day I was watching this new show called “Rewrapped” on The Food Network, when I overheard that next week’s episode would challenge them to remake the classic Hostess Cupcake. It was a sign! For those of you who haven’t seen or heard of “Rewrapped,” it’s a spinoff of “Unwrapped” which challenges three amateur chefs to re-create some of America’s favorite treats identical to the original recipe. Past episodes have been Campbell’s SpaghettiO’s and Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers. Definitely a fun watch!
Anyway, BACK to the cupcakes!
These turned out AMAZING!
They reminded me so much of the original. Only they were better because they were FRESH!
The cake had that nice deep dark chocolatey flavor. The creme filling tasted just like the original fluffy stuff, thanks to a little help from “Food Hacker,” Todd Wilbur. And the rich chocolate ganache brought it all together!
Oh! And I can’t forget about those iconic curls! Without them, these would just be another creme-filled chocolate cupcake.
Being that there are four different elements to making these cupcakes, I decided to make it a little easier on myself by doctoring up a box cake mix. They taste just as great as a “made from scratch” recipe, and they cut down on the amount of ingredients. Sounds like a Win-Win to me!
The creme filling, the chocolate ganache, and the white icing are all rather simple as well since they each don’t require very many ingredients or advanced skill. The only somewhat difficult part would be filling and dipping the cupcakes. In which case, I have provided a few step-by-step photos!
You’re welcome 😉
A couple of things to note before you get started: Because I had so much ganache leftover, I decided to double-dip the cupcakes. I found that this provided a more evenly smooth finish. To do this, I let the first coat set in the refrigerator for about ten minutes before dipping a final time. Also, the espresso in the cupcakes helps to deepen the chocolate flavor, but if you don’t have any espresso or coffee, you can just substitute it for plain water.
Filling the Cupcakes: I used a Wilton’s #21 tip, but any tip you have will do.
Dipping the Cupcakes:
- 1 (16.5 oz) package devil's food cake mix
- 1 (3.4 oz) package instant chocolate pudding mix
- 3/4 cup (185g) greek yogurt (or sour cream)
- 3/4 cup (185g) applesauce (or canola oil)
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 Tablespoon instant espresso granules dissolved in 1/2 cup (118ml) water (or 1/2 cup strongly brewed coffee)
- 2 teaspoons hot water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 (7 oz) jar marshmallow creme
- 1/2 cup (115g) shortening
- 1/3 cup (40g) powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 7 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup (60g) powdered sugar
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the cake mix and pudding mix together. Add in the greek yogurt, applesauce, eggs, vanilla extract, and espresso water. Stir until well combined. Batter will be thick.
- Using an ice cream scoop, or a 1/4 measuring cup, scoop the batter into the cupcake-lined muffin tin.
- Bake in preheated oven for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes our with few crumbs attached. Allow cupcakes to cool in tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely before filling.
- Combine the hot water and salt in a small bowl and stir until dissolved. Let mixture cool.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat together the marshmallow creme and the shortening until combined.
- Add in the powdered sugar and vanilla and mix on high speed until fluffy--about 2 minutes.
- Add the salt solution to the mixture and mix until combined.
- Transfer filling to a pastry bag fitted with a tip.
- Place the chocolate and the heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in the microwave for one minute.
- Remove bowl from microwave and stir until smooth.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the powdered sugar, butter, milk, and vanilla until light and fluffy.
- Transfer icing to a pastry bag fitted with a round tip*
- Once the cupcakes have cooled, push the tip of your pastry bag into the center of the cupcake and squeeze the filling out as you slowly pull the tip out. Smooth down any filling that is sticking out with a butter knife or offset spatula.
- After all the cupcakes have been filled, dip the top of each cupcake one at a time into the ganache. Allow excess chocolate to drip off and place on a wire rack or baking sheet. Refrigerate dipped cupcakes for ten minutes, allowing to set. Remove cupcakes from refrigerator and dip a second time. Return cupcakes to the refrigerator, allowing the ganache to set up once again.
- Once cupcakes have set, you are ready to pipe on the icing. Using your pastry bag, draw curls across the top of the cupcake.
- *I used Wilton's #2 tip. You can also use a plastic zip-top bag with the tip of the corner cut off.