Hostess With the Mostest: A Nostalgic “Fauxstess” Cupcake Recipe

It’s hard to resist the allure of a classic Hostess cupcake. There’s something about the simple combination of chocolate cake, fluffy marshmallowy filling, and those sweet, decorative white loops on top of the icing. But even if you’ve outgrown plastic wrapped cupcakes in your lunchbox, chances are you’ll still enjoy this Hostess cupcake recipe. 

Hostess cupcakes

Make homemade, nostalgic Hostess style cupcakes!

Photos via CakeSpy

This recipe is bound to fill you with sweet sensory nostalgia. The finished cakes offer the familiar sight of this classic snack food, and all of the right flavors and textures in the right places. But with the pure ingredients and scratch-made taste, this is a sweet treat you can feel good about eating and sharing. 

Hostess cupcake

Hostess-style cupcake tutorial

Makes 12

Adapted from PopSugar

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup milk or cream 

For the filling:

  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

For the icing:

  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 6 ounces coarsely chopped chocolate 

To top:

  • White writing icing

Note: International readers may enjoy our handy metric conversion guide.

Step 1: 

Position a rack in the middle position of your oven, and preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a standard sized cupcake pan with 12 cupcake liners. 

Cupcake liners

Step 2: 

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set to the side.


Step 3: 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes on medium-high speed. Pause the mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring briefly on low speed after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Stir in the vanilla.

Add eggs to the batter

Step 4: 

Add the flour mixture and the milk, alternately, in 2-3 additions. Stir only until combined; do not over mix.


Step 5:

Divide the batter between the cupcake liners, filling each about 2/3 of the way full. 

Batter in cups

Step 6:

Bake the cupcakes in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and let them cool to room temperature. 

Baked cakes

Step 7:

Make the filling. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg white until soft peaks form. In a medium sized saucepan, combine the remaining ingredients. Heat over medium heat, until the mixture registers 240 F on a candy thermometer. Once it does, turn off the heat.

It’s time to combine: turn the mixer on low speed, and very slowly and carefully pour the hot sugar mixture into the egg white. Once the mixture has been added, turn the speed of the mixer up to high, and mix until it becomes fluffy and attains firm peaks. Load the fluffy mixture into a pastry bag or into a plastic bag with the end cut off. 

Filling with firm peaks

Step 8:

Using a sharp knife, cut a hole in each of the cupcakes, creating a “core” through the center (not all the way through the bottom). Retain the pieces cut out. 

Cored cupcakes

Step 9:

Pipe in some of the cream filling. Top with the reserved cake pieces (I pinched the top pieces to flatten them, so I could fit more filling in the center!). It’s OK if they’re not totally neat. 

Fill with cream

Step 10:

Make the icing. Place the chopped chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. In a saucepan, heat the sweetened condensed milk and cream until the mixture begins to boil. Once it does, remove from heat and pour over the chopped chocolate. Stir until combined. Use immediately to spread on top of the cakes, as it will become firm as it cools. Spread as smoothly as you can.


Step 11:

Use your writing icing to draw loops on top of the cupcakes. Enjoy your nostalgic treat!


What’s your favorite retro snack food?

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