Decadent and delicious, these Copycat Hostess Cupcakes taste just like the original–only better! Fudgy cupcakes with a creamy filling and classic squiggle on top make everyone feel like a kid again.
Craving chocolate? Add our Copycat 3 Musketeers Candy recipe to your list next.
Table of Contents
Why this Recipe Works
I love Hostess cupcakes. I admit it.
As a kid, I loved opening up the plastic wrapper and taking a big bite from that sweet, cream-filled cake.
And I still love the taste, even now. What I don’t love? The ingredient list. Holy preservatives, Batman!
Starting with a basic Chocolate Cupcake Recipe, I was able to bake perfect copycat Hostess cupcakes to share with my kids!
An egg-white based vanilla filling piped into the center of each cupcake makes them taste exactly like the original. Of course, I also topped them with a rich chocolate ganache!
Copycat Hostess Cupcakes were a smash! My family got a delicious treat and I got to indulge in some childhood nostalgia. Everyone wins.
Cocoa powder. Use a good quality dark or Dutch-processed cocoa powder for best flavor. I love Ghirardelli, Hershey’s Special Dark and Rodelle brands.
Vanilla extract. Make sure to choose pure vanilla extract, not imitation flavor. If you have a batch of Homemade Vanilla Extract handy, it’s perfect in these cupcakes.
Light corn syrup. Corn syrup is necessary to achieve the correct consistency of the cream filling. Do not use dark corn syrup here. It will alter the texture and flavor.
Bittersweet chocolate. This gets melted with cream to create a luscious ganache. Chocolate with at least 60% cocoa is preferred.
Copycat Hostess Cupcakes only take a tad more effort than regular frosted cupcakes.
STEP 1. Bake the cupcakes
Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add eggs, vanilla, milk and oil then stir to combine.
Slowly pour boiling water into the batter, stirring continuously. Divide the batter into a lined cupcake pan.
Bake for 22 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely.
STEP 2. Add Cream filling
Fill a saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. Add the filling ingredients to a heat safe mixing bowl. Place bowl over the pan of boiling water.
Use a hand held mixer to beat until the mixture looks thick and fluffy.
Transfer the filling to a frosting bag. Place the tip of the frosting bag in the center of a cooled cupcake and squeeze in the filling. Repeat for all cupcakes.
STEP 3. Ganache frosting
Heat cream and butter until warm. Stir in chopped chocolate until melted and smooth.
Spread a thin layer of ganache over each Hostess cupcake. Swirl remaining filling over the top of frosted cupcakes for the finishing touch.
Tips and Tricks
- Filling cupcakes without a frosting bag. No bag? No problem. Cut a small cone shape out of the top of each cooled cupcake. Spoon some filling into the cavity, then place the cone over it to reconstruct the cupcake.
- Use boiling water. The water should be at a full rolling boil before adding to the batter. This helps create a smooth batter with no lumps.
- Want a richer chocolate flavor? Use hot coffee! Add hot brewed coffee instead of boiling water to the cupcake recipe. It gives the copycat Hostess cupcakes a stronger cocoa taste.
I swear by the “touch test” to determine when cupcakes are done. Press your index finger gently into the center top of a cupcake. If it springs back right away, it’s done! If it stays indented, give it more oven time.
You didn’t do anything wrong! This batter is supposed to be thin. Fill the cupcake pan with it and put it in the oven. You’ll see.
Store copycat Hostess cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature. Enjoy within 3 days for best taste. They do not need to be refrigerated.
More Copycat Recipes
- Copycat Reese’s Bars: Tastes just like Reese’s candy, but easy to make bars!
- Copycat Peppermint Patties: these are so delicious, and taste better than the original!
- Copycat Panera Mac and Cheese: so good, you’re just going to have to try it!
Copycat Hostess Cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup boiling water
For the filling:
- 2 large egg whites
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup light corn syrup
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the ganache:
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 8 ounce bittersweet chocolate chopped
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
For the cupcakes:
- Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Prepare cupcake tin with cupcake liners. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add in eggs, milk, oil and vanilla and beat for about 2 minutes.
- Slow add in the boiling water and beat for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Cupcake batter will be very thin, it’s okay!
- Fill prepared cupcake tins, about 2/3 full (I use this metal scoop) and bake for 22-25 minutes. Remove and cool completely on wire rack.
For the filling:
- Combine filling ingredients in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of boiling water. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat on high speed until frosting is thick and fluffy, about 6 or 7 minutes.
- Remove bowl from heat and beat an additional 2 minutes. Reserve about 1/2 cup of filling to use for the swirls on top.
- Once cupcakes are completely cooled, add the filling in one of two ways. Fill a piping bag and add an open tip to the end of the bag. Press the tip into the top of the cupcake and squeeze to add filling. You will see the cupcake expand. Pull out and repeat for remaining cupcakes. OR, cut the top of the cupcake using the cone method.
For the ganache:
- In a small saucepan (or double boiler), heat cream and butter until warm (do not boil). Remove from heat and add chocolate. Stir until smooth.
- Spread over the top of each cupcake in a thin layer. For the final touch, add the reserved filling to a piping bag with a small tip. Pipe on small swirls. ENJOY.
Copycat Hostess Cupcakes have all the nostalgia of the packaged treat, without the preservatives. Kids and adults alike love these chocolate-y snack cakes with a creamy swirl on top!
If you do not have a frosting bag, just spoon the filling into a ziploc bag! Cut a small bit off the corner, then poke a small hole into the cupcake with a straw. Put the corner of the zip bag into the hole, squeeze to fill, then put the little “plug” of cake from the straw back in to seal.
How is this ganache different from the one you use for your Ding Dong Cake?
I didn’t know Joan well, but I have been touched my her story and all the lovely tributes to her by so many bloggers.
These cupcakes look amazing! Way better than the original.
It is still so hard to believe that Joan is gone. It definitely puts life in perspective when something tragic happens so suddenly! I am so thankful that blogging led me to you. I appreciate the friendship that we have developed over the past few years.
You are so right about the curveballs that life throws you. It is so crazy. It makes us put things in perspective. This post is beautiful, and I know Joan would have loved one of these fantastic cupcakes.
Curveballs definitely put things in perspective. Make us remember our priorities and what’s important in life 🙂
I bet she would have adored these. I checked out her Ding Dong cake and it looks so good! I love that you posted a homemade version of a childhood favorite. I know I’d much rather have these than the store-bought ones! 🙂
these cupcakes look delicious! Everyone would love them!
xoxoBella | http://xoxobella.com
I found this relatively easy to make, especially for someone who is not into baking a lot. My son loved the cup cakes and ate an entire cupcake without the filling. It turned out really yummy! Thanks a lot for sharing this recipe. 🙂
Thanks for trying the recipe 🙂