Today’s recipe is my take on the classic Hostess Cupcake, a DIY Hostess Cupcake if you will. Not that there’s anything wrong with the store bought original but sometimes when you making things yourself it just comes out better. Creating your own version of recipes give you a chance to be creative and elevate the key things you love about that recipe, kinda like customizing a great recipe to meet your preferences.
Making your own DIY Hostess Cupcakes
There’s 3 parts to this cupcake; the cupcake itself, the marshmallow filling & the chocolate icing and each part is just as easy to assemble as the next.
So let’s break down these cupcakes:
The chocolate cupcake – nothing complicated, use a box cake mix. Why? Because they’re delicious and pretty much full proof. Along with cake mix also throw in some instant chocolate pudding mix, sour cream, eggs & vegetable oil. All of these ingredients are here to make the results of the cake mix that much more glorious. Since this is a chocolate recipe, let’s put the emphasis on the chocolate and throw some espresso powder in. Espresso powder helps elevate the flavor of the chocolate. It will not taste like coffee because we’re only using a small amount. Trust me, once you taste chocolate with a little espresso thrown in, you’ll be adding espresso powder to all your chocolate recipes. As always you want to let the cupcakes cool completely after they’ve baked. Once they’re cooled completely use a cupcake corer or a knife to cut out a little hole in the center of top of the cake and remove the excess so it creates a little well for the filling to go too. Some people like to keep the cutout piece to put it back on top, I didn’t do this because I figured the chocolate icing would cover marshmallow filling but the choice is yours.
The marshmallow filling – I’m obsessed with marshmallow. Obsessed. There’s a subtle cozy/warm taste in marshmallow to me. Does that make me weird? If it does I don’t care. I didn’t just want a typically bland vanilla filling for these, I wanted something with a little more flavor, that’s where the marshmallow comes in. The filling is pretty much a marshmallow buttercream. You’ll need butter, powdered sugar, marshmallow fluff, a little heavy cream (or milk, half&half) and a pinch of salt. Couldn’t be an easier or more delicious.
The chocolate icing – Literally the icing on the cake! This stuff is good. You’ll need butter, heavy cream, a little corn syrup, another small amount of espresso powder and the chocolate of your choice. I opted for bittersweet and it came out amazing but semi sweet and milk chocolate will be great too. After the icing comes together it’ll be warm and super thin. Let it sit out on the counter for about 20 to 25 minutes to thicken up. It’s worth the wait!
DIY Hostess Cupcakes
An elevated DIY version of the classic Hostess Cupcake
- Yield: 18 1x
For the Cake:
- 15.25 ounce chocolate cake mix
- 3 oz package instant chocolate pudding (not cook & serve)
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon espresso powder
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- a pinch of salt
For the Marshmallow Filling:
- 1 stick unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon milk (or half&half)
- 1 cup marshmallow fluff
For the chocolate icing:
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
- 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (milk chocolate & semi sweet can be used too)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard muffin pan with cupcake liners, set aside.
First warm the 1/2 cup of water in the microwave and then add the espresso powder to it and give it a quick stir so the espresso powder dissolves. The liquid should resemble a cup of coffee. Set liquid a side for just a moment. In a large bowl combine cake mix, instant pudding mix, sour cream, oil & eggs and mix together using a handheld mixer (or stand mixer) on medium speed just until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add in the water with the espresso, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Continue mixing on low speed just until the cake batter forms and is thoroughly combined. Do not over mix the batter – cake batter will be thick.
Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 of the way full with cake batter. Bake cupcakes for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool completely. Once cupcakes are room temperature use a cupcake corer or small knife to cut and punch out a small well in the center of the cupcake.
Make the marshmallow filling: in a medium bowl beat butter on medium speed for 2-3 minutes until fluffy. Add in powdered sugar and milk and beat on low speed until combined. Add in marshmallow fluff and a pinch of salt and beat mixture on medium high speed for 1-2 minutes until the filling is fluffy.
To fill the cupcake center with the filling you can either just spoon small amounts of filling into the center or fill a piping bag and cut off the tip and fill the cupcakes that way.
Make the chocolate icing: Add chocolate chips into a heat safe mixing bowl. In a small saucepan on low heat combine heavy cream, butter, corn syrup and espresso powder. Stir the ingredients and allow the mixture to come to a slight boil and then remove from heat. pour the mixture over the chocolate chips and let that set for about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir the chocolate chips and hot liquid together, the chocolate chips will melt and turn into a thin, glossy icing. Allow the icing to set at room temperature for about 20 to 25 minutes to thicken up.
When the icing is ready just take your cupcakes and simply turn them upside down and lightly dip the tops of the cupcake into the icing, allow any excess to drip off. Place cupcakes on a wire rack and let the icing set completely, icing will set on top of the cupcakes in about 5 minutes. Fill a piping bag with the remaining marshmallow filling and pipe the classic curlicue pattern on top. Cupcakes are ready to serve