Look-Alike Hostess Cupcakes

Sunday, March 1, 2009

For girls' night, I was in charge of dessert. I wanted to make something chocolatey and delicious, and something new with a fun little twist.

I found inspiration on Annie's Eats. I saw her cream-filled chocolate cupcakes and knew I wanted to make them. However, I kind of pieced together my own version instead of following her exact recipe.

The end result was these little look-alike Hostess cupcakes that tasted absolutely A-MAZ-ING. Of course, seeing as how they were chocolate and all, they were quickly gobbled up at girls' night.

Because I had such success with Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake when I made my Oreo cupcakes last month, I decided to use that recipe again for this cupcake.

For the filling, I didn't want to use the recipe Annie had up for her cream, because it was seemingly really similar to the recipe I used for the frosting on last week's S'mores Cupcakes. I wasn't overly fond of the taste of the marshmallow fluff. Anyway, I went on a hunt for another "Hostess-like" cream filling, and happened to find it on another one of my favorite food blogs, Smitten Kitchen. And um, yeah. It turned out wonderfully well, and was the perfect filling for this cupcake.

For the chocolate frosting, I did end up sticking with the chocolate ganache listed with Annie's recipe. At first, I wasn't too sure about using semi-sweet chocolate, because I really wanted the cupcake to taste similar to (but of course, BETTER than) the original Hostess cupcake. But I went with it anyway, and this ganache did not disappoint. The only problem is that I ended up running out of it! I had 24 cupcakes and only got about 16 of them dipped before I started running low. In the end, I was able to coat 23 of the 24 cupcakes, but the last 7 of them didn't look as smooth and nice as the others.

These cupcakes get two enthusiastic thumbs up, and are a real crowd pleaser. For the adults, they reminded us all of our childhoods. For the kids? They were just plain yummy!

Look-Alike Hostess Cupcakes
(Sources: Hershey's, Smitten Kitchen, and Annie's Eats)


For the cupcakes:
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup boiling water

For the cream filling (Seven Minute Frosting):
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the frosting:
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be really thin). Fill cups about 3/4 full with batter to get bigger cupcakes.

3. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. (Makes 24 cupcakes.)

4. While waiting for cupcakes to cool, combine filling ingredients with a pinch of salt in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water and beat with a handheld electric mixer at high speed until frosting is thick and fluffy, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and continue to beat until slightly cooled. Reserve 1/2 cup of the filling to use for piping the swirls on top of the cupcakes at the end.

5. Once cupcakes are cool, prepare a piping bag with a 1/4" tip, and fill bag with the vanilla filling. Squeeze filling into middle of cupcakes. (Because I didn't get the desired amount of filling into my s'mores cupcakes last week, this time, I used a different method. I basically did this, but the holes I made in the tops of my cupcakes were a bit smaller.)

6. After cupcakes are filled, begin working on the chocolate ganache frosting. In a small saucepan, heat cream over medium heat until steaming, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes. Add the butter and stir until smooth.

7. Transfer to a small bowl and dip the top of each cupcake to thoroughly coat.

8. Prepare another piping bag with a small tip. Fill with the reserved 1/2 cup of cream filling. Pipe swirls across the top of the cupcakes. (For Hostess accuracy, Smitten Kitchen says that there are exactly 7 swirls on top of each cupcake. I did my best to aim for seven each time, but some of my cupcakes ended up with 8. Haha!)

9. Allow chocolate ganache to set before storing. Enjoy!


Katie March 2, 2009 at 9:03 AM  

Heather, these are so perfect! I would have never known that they weren't the "real" thing.

Cara March 3, 2009 at 12:53 PM  

These are so cute! Great job. They sound really good!

Sarah March 10, 2009 at 9:34 AM  

Okay, so I made these this weekend, and have a question...How did you get the tops of your cupcakes to look so smooth? I ended up pouring the frosting over the top, because when I dipped them, you could see where I had cut into the cupcake. Do you think I didn't cut enough off of the cupcake?

Also - you did an awesome job on the swirls - that was WAY harder than I expected!!

mic March 23, 2009 at 9:18 PM  

i made them two weeks ago and they are so good...i added a cup of chocolate pudding cause of our altitude( i live in denver) and my husband loves it...i ama making them again tonight...

Kristina October 25, 2009 at 8:40 AM  

i made these, they came out so yummy. i would have liked the chocolate topping to be sweeter though, like milk chocolate. i wonder if that would work as well. i'll have to try it next time. but MMMMM.

martina_blackman February 8, 2010 at 1:34 PM  

hey they look great but i cant get corn syrup over here in Brussels do you know what I can use as a substitute? thanks m

Anonymous,  February 19, 2010 at 5:31 PM  

Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe, Heather. Exceptional!

I doubled the filling, doubled the frosting, and used Nestle's milk chocolate chips. Instead of dipping the cupcake tops, I frosted them once the frosting cooled to the consistency of store-bought frosting.

Will be making my second and third batches today! I discovered your blog by googling "Hostess cupcake recipe."

Sarah @ Scissors and a Whisk January 29, 2011 at 12:09 PM  

I just tried this recipe *exactly* and they turned out awful. I was very disappointed :(

Anonymous,  February 5, 2011 at 3:28 PM  

Just made them, very tasty. I don't think you have to go through the trouble to cut out the tops. I just insert a star tip into the top and squeeze the filling until the top starts to move up. The insides of the cake make room for the icing.

Zafer Ali February 25, 2011 at 10:37 AM  

Each of us has up to 6 look-alikes around the world. Are you ready to meet your match?
look alike

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