Homemade Hostess Cupcakes


(11/17/12 – NOTE: When I made these cupcakes five months ago, I had no idea that Hostess would be closing all of their bakeries, including their Seattle location on South Lake Union. Now that my dad’s favorite childhood treat will no longer be available in stores, this recipe is even more special for us…)

Yesterday I made Homemade Hostess Cupcakes, and let me just say these cupcakes were possibly the best I have ever eaten. In fact, it would not be a stretch to say that this recipe may be one of the best chocolate desserts I have ever made.

Seriously. I will be making these again. And again. And again.

Last night they were for my dad. It was an early Father’s Day present.

My dad’s short-term memory is a little, how to say it… compromised. But he remembers the most amazing details from his childhood. Earlier this year I had a conversation with him about the foods he loved growing up. That’s when I found out, among other things, that his all-time favorite childhood snack was a Hostess Cupcake and a Nesbitt’s Orange Soda. Here is the story…

Every day after school, my dad would walk to the local mom & pop grocery, pick up a stack of The Seattle Times and deliver them to his customers on the way home (which was, of course, up a very large hill). And, if he had enough change in his pocket, my dad would treat himself to his favorite grade school snack… a Hostess Double Cupcake and a Nesbitt’s Orange Soda. My dad loved Hostess Cupcakes. I never knew! Listening to him describe the marshmallowy centers and white curly-q icing almost made me want to run out to 7-11 to pick up a twin pack, just so I could watch him eat one.

So, when I found this recipe on a beautiful blog called What Megan’s Making, I knew exactly what to get my dad for Father’s Day – his favorite childhood snack.

Only way, way better.

When my dad walked in the door last night, I surprised him with a platter of Homemade Hostess Cupcakes and an icy-cold orange soda. He LOVED it.

Mary, did I ever tell you this was my FAVORITE snack when I was a kid?

Yep, Dad, you told me that story. And I am so glad you did. Here, try a cupcake…

He ate four. They were even better than the ones he remembered.

I found the perfect gift.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

This recipe is slightly adapted from What Megan’s Making.

Homemade Hostess Cupcakes

Author: From the blog: What Megan’s Making
Serves: 18-20
Possibly the best cupcakes ever. The same look as the original Hostess Cupcake, but the frosting, filling and cake are all SO MUCH better.
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 stick (8 Tbsp.) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla exrtact
  • 3 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 cup marshmallow creme
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 4 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • 1 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla
  1. Place oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350.
  2. Spray muffin tins (18-20 muffins) with non-stick bakers spray (or line with paper liners).
  3. MAKE THE CUPCAKES: Place the sugar and 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Pour the sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer or a large bowl. Add the chocolate and butter and let sit, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture has cooled slightly. Stir in the vanilla.
  4. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
  5. Place the chocolate mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer and add the eggs, beating on medium speed until well combined, then mix in the dry ingredients on low speed until the batter is smooth.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Fill each muffin about 1/2 way (about 1/4 cup batter per cupcake) and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes. The cupcakes will sink in the middle slightly. Cool in the pans for 25 minutes, then transfer to a rack and cool completely.
  7. MAKE THE FILLING. While cupcakes are cooling, make the filling. Using a mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Beat in 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar. Add the vanilla and 1 Tbsp. heavy cream and beat until smooth. Alternating between batches, beat in the remaining 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar and 2 Tbsp. heavy cream. Beat in the marshmallow creme. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  8. MAKE THE GANACHE. Place the chocolate in a stainless-steel bowl. Heat the cream and 1 tablespoon butter in a saucepan until just boiling, then pour over the chocolate. Let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Add 1 tsp. vanilla; let stand until cool but still glossy and liquid.
  9. FILL THE CUPCAKES. Put the cream filling into a pastry bag fitted with a medium star tip. Insert the tip into the center of each cupcake top; fill until the cupcake is heavier (do not overfill). It’s OK if some of the filling peeks out, it will be covered by the ganache.
  10. FROST THE CUPCAKES. When the ganache has cooled enough to work with, spoon a Tbsp. of ganache onto each cupcake and lightly spread with an offset spatula or a knife. Chill for at least 15 minutes.
  11. PREPARE THE ICING. Using a mixer, beat the remaining 4 Tbsp. butter, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, milk and confectioners’ sugar until smooth, adding more milk if needed. Spoon into a pastry bag with a small tip. Pipe the trademark curly-q’s onto the cupcakes to decorate.
  12. Store cupcakes in the refrigerator.



  1. Ric says:

    I’m a novice in the kitchen, so I’m really trying out a lot of different ideas whenever I have the chance. I just had to say–the filling is PERFECT!!! I was a Suzy Q fanatic since elementary school (I’m 41 now). This is by far the closest taste to my favorite snack. I’m so glad I found this recipe (although my waistline won’t be pleased lol). Thanks so much! My wife and I can’t stop eating them.

  2. Susan says:

    THE Best cupcake ever!!!!!!

  3. […] see what I gave my dad last year, check out this Homemade Hostess Cupcake […]

  4. randi says:

    i started these at 1 pm and finished at 7 I’m exhausted! I will make more cupcakes and freeze them so next time all i have to do is finish them. they are incredible– total perfection

  5. SLight says:

    Approximately how many cupcakes does this recipe make?

  6. Brittany says:

    These are to die for. I followed the recipe exactly (except I cut a little hole in the top, put the cream in & replaced the top.. frosting covered it all!) and everyone was blown away by them! I cant believe there arent 1000 5 star reviews on them yet. Do yourself a favor and go make these right now! You wont be disappointed! Yummmm!!!

  7. Donna says:

    Mary, will your recipe make the equivalent of one two-layer cake? That’s what I need for the pan I’ll be using. Thank you.

  8. Murray says:

    I think this article , “Homemade Hostess Cupcakes
    | A Passionate Plate”, particularly pleasurable plus the blog post was a
    wonderful read. Thanks-Russel

  9. Em says:

    Thanks for the recipe! I made them for my dad too, and he loved them. Afterwards, we co-created this fabric as a tribute to these cupcakes. http://www.spoonflower.com/designs/1784832?sell_this=true

  10. Maddie says:

    Hi is the recipe now correct as I saw a few people said they neede more cream for the ganache

    • MaryMiller says:

      Hi, Maddie – Yes, the recipe is correct. Just make sure to use bittersweet chocolate and finely chop it before adding it to the cream. The ganache is fabulous! Good luck and enjoy your homemade Hostess cupcakes!

  11. Aymie says:

    Thanks Mary! Sorry for the double comment…I finally realized the newer posts are at the top 😉 Baking them tomorrow, I’ll take a pic and post it…if they work, ha! Any recommendations on cake pan size? THANKS again!

  12. KathyBergquist says:

    All I had was cocoa powder and canola oil and did the 3 to 1 conversion to make the chocolate. So I did 18 level TBSP of cocoa and 6 TBSP oil to get the six ounces of chocolate. It did look like a lot but I went with it anyway.

  13. Kathy Bergquist says:

    Oops, I have a typo. The cream is supposed to be 1 and a 1/2 cups.

  14. Kathy Bergquist says:

    The cupcakes are good. I ended up having to use a cup and a half of the heavy whipping cream for the ganashe. It was still a brick after the first half cup was originally added. Not really knowing if it was just a typo with the cream, I modified the whole ganashe part of the recipe: 6 ounces chocolate, 1 and a 1/5 cups cream, 3 teaspoons vanilla, and 3 tablespoons butter. I also added a 1/4 cup sugar to it to cut the straight chocolate taste down just a little. It worked out well and I have 1 cup of ganashe left over. It did separate on me so I whipped the ganashe to an inch of its life. I didn’t realize my house temperature dropped to 66 degrees.

    In the preparation part of the recipe for ganashe you wrote 2 teaspoons vanilla but in the ingredients list you only said 1 teaspoon.

    Overall, these might be better than the brand name just because it has a complex taste that hits more than just the sweet spot.

    • MaryMiller says:

      Hi, there, Kathy! What kind of chocolate did you use for the ganache? I’ve made this recipe several times now, and the ganache always works perfectly with 1/2 cup of cream. Did you chop up the chocolate before pouring the hot cream and butter over it? I just let it sit for about 5 minutes and then whisk it and it blends perfectly. I am so sorry you had trouble with this. Would love to know what might have gone wrong. I did edit the directions thanks to your great proof reading. – 1 tsp. of vanilla! Thanks for pointing that out to me. 🙂

  15. Aymie says:

    These look amazing and I can’t wait to try the recipe! I’m having a Superbowl party and am planning to make the recipe in a pan and use a cookie cutter to cut out football shapes. Then fill, frost and ice. Do you think the recipe will bake ok in a cake pan? It will obviously need to go in longer…
    Thanks for sharing!

  16. Aymie says:

    I am going to make these for my superbowl party in a couple weeks…would love to make them into football shapes. Is it possible to use your recipe and bake the cake in a cake pan? Then I can just cut the cake into the football shape and fill/frost. Let me know what you think 🙂 Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    • MaryMiller says:

      Hi, Aymie –

      I love your idea and I think it would work perfectly. The cupcakes are very moist, so the only issue would be to make sure the cake gets cooked through all the way. I think the curly q’s would look just like the threads on a football and everyone will love it! I hope you will post a picture of the cake our Facebook page!

  17. Lisa says:

    I just finished w/the filling followed it exactly but the filling is very sticky its not at all fluffy its more marshmallow consistency, why is that?

  18. Robin says:

    Your Dad looks like the actor Sydney Pollack…It’s a compliment!!! I saw the resemblance immediately. The last parts I can remember him playing were Will’s dad on Will & Grace, and the dad in the movie Made of Honor (with Patrick Dempsey). He’s hysterical. I just wikipedia’d him, and unfortunately he passed away in 2008, but even the picture there looks like your Dad!!! LOLOL As for these cupcakes – thank you so much for this recipe – it really looks like the real deal. I have been on soooo many sites looking for the recipe (even before hostess went under) and I could never find one that had that moist looking cake like yours does. Can’t wait to try them. I’ll let you know how they came out. Say hi to your famous Dad for me!!!!

  19. Mike F. says:

    I was looking for a homemade “Hostess prroduct” to bring to a Mayan Apocalypse dinner (as we all know, Hostess products will still be around after the end of life on Earth 😉 ). These are perfect!!!

    • MaryMiller says:

      Mike – that is great! I don’t think these homemade Hostess Cupcakes have nearly the shelf life of a Twinkie, but since you are celebrating the apocalypse, it won’t matter. Just enjoy them while they last! Have a great time!!

  20. Susan says:

    Incredible. I will make them again.

  21. Jacki Gilbert says:

    The actor – Telly Savalis?

  22. Cyndi says:

    I’m totally craving a hostess cupcake, thank you (from my hubby and me) – this might just get us through!

  23. Jennifer says:

    Thus wonderful that you made that for your dad! He looks so happy. What a blessing to have you as his daughter!

  24. David says:

    Your dad reminds me of some Jewish actor but I can’t quite put my finger on who it is… regardless, thanks for the recipe. You have no idea how devestated I was when I heard Hostess closed it’s doors for good. I’ll keep this one saved away for sure.

    • MaryMiller says:

      Hi, David – Thanks for your note! My dad will LOVE hearing that he looks like an actor. Now we just need to figure out who it is. I hope you enjoy the recipe. It is a little richer (more dense) than the original, but I think it is even better tasting and very satisfying for a chocolate lover. I’ve gotten some requests for an Orange Hostess Cupcake recipe, so that will be next.

  25. […] RIP Hostess Cupcakes. We’ll just have to keep making our homemade version. Find the instructions  http://apassionateplate.com/homemade-hostess-cupcakes/ […]

  26. Buffy says:

    This was such a fantastic recipe and you have sucha darn Cute Dad! I lost my Dad to leukemia in 2005 and he liked these too…His Birthday was in June also. So these pics got me bawling at how happy your Dad was with the treats!! I have a guy friend who loves Hostess snacks so will be trying these soon…maybe Christmas treats! 🙂 Thanks for sharing the recipe, I appreciate it and the great pictures of your Happy Dad!!

    • MaryMiller says:

      Buffy, I am so glad you enjoyed my post and the happy pictures of my dad. I will be seeing him later this week and can’t wait to share your comments with him – it will make his day. Reading your comment has me feeling really grateful to have my dad around this Thanksgiving. Thanks so much for sharing.

  27. […] There’s a heartwarming story from a blogger who makes this for her father who has some memory problems. It cheers him up and of course makes her happy too. You can read their story here […]

  28. Jill says:

    Hi Mary,
    Yes, I did use a lot of filling. I also had the cupcakes in the fridge overnight. The combo probably had much to do with the “weeping.”
    The ganache was delicious, and so easy! I’ll definitely keep this recipe in my back pocket for the next special event. Thank you so much for sharing it!

  29. Jill says:

    These were Amazing! I made them for a work friend’s birthday, & when I unveiled them the squeals of excitement were equal to an engagement or pregnancy announcement 🙂
    Mine ended up very messy & “wept” at the bottom of the cupcake. It did not deter any takers, but wondered if there were any suggestions to prevent this next go-round.

    • MaryMiller says:

      Hi, Jill! I’m glad everybody loved the cupcakes! Anytime I can get squeals of excitement from my baking, I feel like it was a success. 🙂 I am not sure what happened to your cupcakes, except maybe a little too much filling in them? I am guessing that was the problem. When you fill the cupcakes, they should feel heavier, but not get to the point where the frosting is coming out the bottom. How did you like the ganache frosting? I just thought it was so decadent…

    • Joanne says:

      I need to make for a shower and they want 80……do they have to refrigerate or a cool place ok?

      • MaryMiller says:

        Hi, Jill – I think they would be fine for a few hours in a cool place. The filling has real cream, so another option would be to fill them at the last minute. Good luck with the shower!

  30. JoyAldrich says:

    I cheated today, Mary! I had to bake 24 cupcakes for Ana’s Kindergarten Picnic (she specifically requested “chocolate with chocolate frosting”). I used a Devil’s Food Cake mix and a can of frosting I had in the pantry for just such an occasion – sorry! But, I did want to make them special, so I made your filling recipe. In Ana’s words: “OMG!”. I’m sure they weren’t as good as yours, and I do plan to make this recipe some day soon, but the Kindergarteners – and their dads – were VERY happy! Thanks, Mary!

  31. Helen Oswald says:

    Mary, yes, these were much better than the Hostess cupcakes I used to eat while waiting for my Seattle Times papers to show up at the little convenience store/gas station at the bottom of the hill we lived on in Shelton. Your cakes were exceptionally “choclatey” rich and moist, much better than the originals. You can bring them to Winthrop any time. Thanks for helping me relive a favorite memory from the mid-fifties!!


  32. Beth says:

    Mary, those look amazing — and what a sweet Father’s Day present for Dad! You know he’s going to be expecting a Hostess Cupcake and orange soda every time he visits Seattle now…and he’ll tell you all about his newspaper route in Shelton while he eats his snack!

    I wonder if it would be overkill to eat the cheese-stuffed hamburgers and homemade Hostess cupcakes in one meal. 🙂

    • MaryMiller says:

      Beth, I do not think it is overkill to make blue cheese burgers for dinner followed by homemade hostess cupcakes. In fact, I think it sounds ilke the perfect Americana dinner. You just need some really good french fries to complete the meal.

  33. Emily U. says:

    They look really tasty!! I think I will ask mom if I can make them one of these days.

  34. And I bet they taste so much better than the packaged ones!

    • MaryMiller says:

      So much better! The cake is very dark and moist and the ganache is made with bittersweet chocolate. Carrie, I think you should make these! They would go great with a glass of Zin!

  35. Charlene says:

    Mary – that’s a great story included into your recipe of the day! I love it. These look absolutely delicious and dangerous!

  36. Dahvi Fradkin Neelis says:

    Hey Mary,

    Looks like your one pipe tip and some foil away from a home made Hostess Ding Dong… yum!

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